"A lazy remake of a great game."

The Legend of Zelda: Ocarina of Time came out in 1998. At the time it was critically praised for being revolutionary, and many people to this day consider it to be one the greatest games of all time. Now 13 years later Nintendo has seen fit to remake it as it's first major release for it's new 3DS handheld. Unfortunately, while the game is still great, this is at best an extremely lazy remake.

Graphics: 7/10

You might read this and think "What?!?! It looks so much better than the original." and if this was a downloadable remake in the style of Perfect Dark on the 360 then it would be acceptable. But this isn't the case. This is a full price retail game, and as such it will be held to that standard. Yes it does look better, but this is a remake of a game released 13 years ago. It damn well better have an improved look. Unfortunately they didn't take it far enough and the presentation falls far short of what the 3DS is capable of. Textures, while improved are still rather blurry in spots and there are plenty of blocky models, and the vast, formerly impressive Hyrule field which wowed so many people in the original release just comes off as barren by today's standards. This was an opportunity to bring the world of Ocarina of Time to life using all the technological advances of the 2 generations of gaming that have passed since it's original release, so it's hard not to be a little disappointed at what we were given.

Sound: 5.5/10
Completely unchanged. Which is disappointing as hell. The tracks are entertaining, always have been. But it sure would have been nice to at least get some optional remixes to take advantage of the superior sound capabilities available. The grating voice samples are the same horrid things they always were. I'm not asking for full voice acting, but at least re-record the existing stuff. Overall it sounds like an N64 game. Unfortunately this is 2011 on a handheld as powerful as the Nintendo console released 2 generations later.

Story: 7/10
Link, a fairy boy who lives in the forest must leave the comfort of the village he grew up in to become the Hero of Time and stop the evil Ganondorf from taking over Hyrule. It's simple but it gets the job done. Unfortunately this feels like another wasted opportunity. The original game had a fairly minimalist approach to the story and it would have been nice to have dialog fleshed out a little. Doesn't need to be JRPG like, but just a re-translation and expanding here and there would have done wonders towards making you feel more connected to the characters.

Gameplay: 8.5/10
Much like the sound, Nintendo chose to not touch this area at all, though here it's a bit easier to swallow. You still play as the fairy boy Link, who can slash with his sword and block with his shield and gains new abilities as he completes puzzle filled dungeons. Only new additions being the help system that Nintendo seems to be fond of nowadays in the form of videos detailing how to complete parts of the game. Also a boss rush mode got added and Master Quest (a special mode unlocked after beating the main game which features remixed dungeons) is now mirrored. Yay? I understand the logic behind "If it isn't broke, don't fix it" but surely they could have added an extra dungeon or something to make it feel somewhat fresh. It's still solid and fun, but what was groundbreaking and impressive 13 years ago is less so today, especially when nothing is done at all to make it feel like a fresh experience. The ability to target enemies doesn't warrant the same score bonus it did when the game first came out.

Controls: 9/10
The touch controls work well. You can assign items to the X and Y buttons as well as 2 touch screen buttons. First person view and hints from your own personal annoying fairy have been moved to the touch screen as well, same with the ocarina. Takes some time to get used to, but once you do, you'll never want to go back. Gyroscopic aiming works surprisingly well. Unfortunately, seeing as how you need to keep the 3DS in the sweet spot to maintain the 3D effect, often you need to make a choice which one you want more. Overall the new controls are definitely the best part of this remake.

If you've never played Ocarina of Time before, this is an easy recommendation. It's not as impressive as it used to be but it's still a great experience. For those of you familiar with the game, bear in mind that there is little new stuff here, especially if you're in possession of the Gamecube Master Quest release. If enhanced though far from impressive graphics and new controls are worth the $40 to you, then enjoy it. This is still a great game, just a really, really lazy remake of it.

Graphics: 7/10
Sound: 5.5/10
Story: 7/10
Gameplay: 8.5/10
Controls: 9/10
Final Score: 7.4/10


Reviewer's Score: 7/10 | Originally Posted: 06/21/11

Game Release: The Legend of Zelda: Ocarina of Time 3D (US, 06/19/11)


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