Posts Tagged ‘zelda’

The Legend of Zelda: Ocarina of Time 3D

Is there anything left to say about Ocarina of Time? The game is almost fifteen years old now and has appeared on the N64, GameCube and Wii since then. Surely any power it once had has been diminished by repeat showings, and this latest re-release can only be indicative of the 3DS’s struggle to find its own ‘killer app’.

Or so you’d think. As it turns out, there’s a lot of life left in Ocarina, widely regarded – and rightly so – as the greatest game of all time. The game’s ability to surprise might have been diminished in the thirteen years since its release – the plot twist is the gaming equivalent of ‘I am your father’ – but it’s lost none of its power to leaving players gasping in awe.

If you’ve already played it, you don’t need to the story recapping. If you haven’t, then you are the envy of all the others. You have no idea what awaits you – the scale of the quest, the incredible bosses, the spellbinding music, the dizzying dungeons and temples – everything here feels as fresh as it did on that day in 1998.

Except it’s been given a lick of paint, thanks to the development team at Grezzo. Nintendo’s masterpiece has never looked as good as it does here. Facial animations have been updated, characters now look exactly like the pre-release art detailed them, backgrounds are no longer blurry and distant, textures are sharp and clear and everything looks so real you can almost touch it. The Master Sword now sits in gloomy darkness with a single mystical light thrown down from an overhead window – the sight of which brings shivers of anticipation. The game looks like it could have been made yesterday. Jabu-Jabu’s Belly has never looked so slimy.

On top of this, Grezzo have thrown in a few new features. Completing the game once unlocks the staggering challenge of the Master Quest, which is now even harder than before. Not only are the puzzles more difficult, but enemies deal more damage and everything in the game is mirrored. The other new feature is the excellent Boss Rush mode, activated by going to sleep in Link’s bed. Here you are challenged to fight all the bosses again, one after the other, in one sitting. It’s an outstanding feature, especially given that many of Ocarina’s bosses remain some of the greatest in the series’ history.

Grezzo have even found a way to put the gyroscope to good use. You can now tilt the 3DS to look around at an area, aim with the bow and search for targets with the hookshot. While this may be an acquired taste – for instance, horseback archery is a damn sight harder this way – for many it will present a fun new possibility, and it’s faster to use.

As for the 3D effect, this is perhaps its most staggering use yet. The vast expanse of Hyrule Field, the scale of the bosses, leaping from Zora’s waterfall, making the jump across Gerudo Valley on horseback – these sights were all amazing the first time around. Seeing them in 3D is even greater.

Of course, none of these improvements would mean a thing if the game underneath them wasn’t so good. Ocarina might be showing its age a bit now, with some clunky puzzles, gameplay that was refined even more by the next three titles, the irritating guardian fairy pointing out the obvious every five minutes, but the sheer sense of joy is totally unrivalled. The game is older than most whole franchises, yet the title screen alone still strikes a chord and floods the player with waves of nostalgia. There is nothing on earth like this.

Should you buy Ocarina? Yes, undoubtedly. If you’ve played every single re-release to date, this might be a tough sell as there’s little new here except for a change of depth. However, this is the best version of the best game of all time. If you’ve ever wondered how close games have come to perfection, this is proof.