When The Legend of Zelda: Ocarina of Time came out for the Nintendo 64 nearly 13 years ago, it was a monumental game, one that revolutionized the franchise and influenced other adventure games for years to come. Sadly, a lot of you might agree that the series has stagnated a bit, to the point where there doesn’t seem to be much in the way of heart and soul in any of the games.
That point only becomes more apparent with Ocarina of Time 3D, Nintendo’s update to the graphically inferior original. Thirteen years later, it’s still a game bursting with charm, classic gameplay, and a surprisingly captivating, timeless storyline.
There really isn’t much to say about Ocarina of Time 3D; I’m sure you’ve already heard most of it. The one big problem with playing the original now was the terribly outdated polygonal graphics. Trying to play the original on the Wii Virtual Console was absolutely excruciating.
That’s thankfully been fixed, and in a way that I wouldn’t have thought possible. The game now straight up looks gorgeous, and while it doesn’t stack up to the polished HD graphics of console games today, it’s certainly eons better than saying a sphere with various cones and triangles placed on it is Link’s head and face.
Storywise, it’s your typical Legend of Zelda yarn, a simple “clueless boy sets out to unknowingly become the one who saves the world” plot. It’s not multilayered or subtle, but Legend of Zelda stories don’t have to be complicated, as long as there’s an air of sincerity and genuine heart behind the narrative, and Ocarina of Time 3D has that in spades. Once again, it’s a severe contrast to a game like Twilight Princess, where there was a sizable amount of exposition and an amazing atmosphere, but a pretty massive lack of heart behind the characters or their stories.
In terms of gameplay, Ocarina of Time 3D might be the standard for action adventure titles. The dungeons are classic, the puzzles are surprisingly tough, even all these years later, and the bosses are appropriately epic. The few hiccups they had in the original, namely the Water Temple, have been fixed easily with the implementation of the touch screen to switch items seamlessly, and each dungeon is just a joy to explore and play. Each riddle or puzzle that you come across is intuitive, and while some may be headscratchers, they’re not completely frustrating swerves from nowhere.
In addition to the main quest, Nintendo’s added the “Master Quest” choice as well, which mirrors the world and makes enemies considerably more difficult to kill. Under any other circumstances, it would seem like a cop-out way to add more content, but with such an already meaty, satisfying game, something as simple as mirroring a world is an easy way to persuade one to play it once again.
Ocarina of Time 3D is definitely a bittersweet “entry” into the series. On one hand, they fixed all the shortcomings of the original, and essentially made what some might argue to be a perfect action-adventure game. On the other hand, it really does highlight how far the franchise has fallen from grace in terms of unique, captivating gameplay and narrative. Really, what does it say when a rerelease of the very first 3D Legend of Zelda game is the best Zelda game released in years? I can only remain optimistic about Skyward Sword, but as it stands right now, Ocarina of Time 3D is the one to beat. An absolute must-own, no questions about it.