'The Legend of Zelda: Ocarina of Time': 3 dimensions of fun
Each generation of games produces a handful of classics that everyone should be required to play. And in case you haven’t guessed it, “The Legend of Zelda: Ocarina of Time” — the highest rated game of all time — is one of them.
Luckily for those of you without a working Nintendo 64, there’s now a 3-D update. Also fortunate for already or soon-to-be 3DS owners, it’s the system’s first full-blown must-have game. “Ocarina of Time” was magical because it was the first to tie the allure of of a 3-D graphics, the promise of an open world and an interesting, well-woven story all in the same game. The remake shows Link’s quest effortlessly withstanding the test of time.
This world is still very much alive and engaging — the graphics are updated, the game translates beautifully to 3-D, the controls are better than ever, and, if you’re like me and haven’t played through “Ocarina of Time “in a few years, the puzzles are as hard as you remember them.
Nearly every aspect of the game has gotten a visual face lift. Buildings, ladders and backdrops are now 3-D models. Link himself looks rounded and more-detailed animations help transform him from wooden puppet to real boy. Gone are the fuzzy textures and muggy fog that crowed the land of Hyrule. And the game hums along at a steady framerate at nearly all times.
Complementing the graphical overhaul is the update to controls. Link is well fitted to the full range of the thumbpad, and the animation improvements mean smooth turns, jumps and climbs replace ridged, jerky movements.
There are other subtle changes as well. Going into first-person mode to look around can be controlled by literally moving the 3DS around. The effect is like giving you a small window into Hyrule. It eventually throws off aiming the slingshot and bow, and you’ll probably find yourself turning the option off, but it’s still initially cool.
Used to much better effect is the system’s touch pad. Inventory switches are done with the touch of the screen. It’s extremely fast and adds a huge advantage in tense battles. It’s so easy to try out different items I found myself using things I would have forgotten about or passed over in the N64 version.
Not to say everything is up-to-date with today’s standards. Some optional objectives in the game might be a trip down memory lane (remember fetch quests?), and the music remains unchanged, despite a coming worldwide orchestral tour featuring the Zelda themes. Nevertheless, all of these improvements make what was a nearly perfect game all the more impressive.
Throw in a few extras — the Master’s Quest, previously only available to GameCube collectors, and the ability to replay bosses — and you’ve got the first must-have game on 3DS. If you haven’t gotten my drift yet, let me put it another way: When the highest-rated game of all time gets a remake, you don’t say no.
Bottom line: A+ You had me at updated graphics, Nintendo.