Review by unclehosh
"Easily the greatest game of all time, even by today's standards."
The Legend of Zelda Ocarina of Time has gone down in history as being one of the most critically acclaimed games ever. It received numerous game of the year awards from a wide range of publications, yet some people wonder if the game has stood the test of time. Nintendo re-released the game on the Nintendo 3DS, adding better visuals and improved controls, but the original game itself is still in question. In the end, Ocarina of Time's timeless charm is still present on every level.
While Ocarina of Time can never go against the graphics of games on modern day consoles, the game itself is still absolutely gorgeous. It is true that there are some blocky looking character models or awkward facial animations, but the world itself is the true beauty. Ocarina of Time impressed gamers with fantastic lighting effects, rich and detailed environments, and disturbing enemy designs. Areas like massive lakes or dense forests are all beautifully designed, and not one area received less attention to detail than another. More importantly, Ocarina of Time successfully converted Zelda into 3d. The truly impressive aspect here is the fact that the transition was practically seemless. Hyrule is still a massive and open world full of secrets, dungeons are creative and full of enemies, and towns are full of people to talk to and chickens to attack. Ocarina of Time is not a Playstation 3 game, but no old video game should be compared to modern day. If a game was once beautiful, then it will always be beautiful. Ocarina of Time is no exception to this rule.
Ocarina of Time was one of the first Zelda games to feature a very in-depth storyline. The new perspective gave Nintendo many more possibilities. Clever writing helps develop characters and make each one leave a lasting impression. Many side quests help further the experience even more. The concept itself is fairly typical for the series: an evil entity seeks to take over the land of Hyrule, and Princess Zelda needs the help of the young boy in a green tunic. What sets the game apart is the fact that everything is on a much larger scale. The game contains several disturbing moments, a couple of unexpected plot twists, and an epic finale that will make any gamer sigh with exhaustion. Even the ending is a little sad, but for those who have never experienced Ocarina of Time for themselves, this review will not spoil it. While some of the writing has not aged well, it still does a fine job of helping Hyrule feel alive.
Ocarina of Time features some of the best music that gaming has to offer. While more recent games like The Elder Scrolls Skyrim or Zelda Skyward Sword have impressed people with orchestrated soundtracks, Ocarina of Time still has a certain charm to it. Even the opening menu's slow and depressing theme helps give a taste of the fantastic adventure to come. Melodies on the ocarina of time are great and get stuck in the gamer's head easily. Hyrule field's uplifting theme seems to set the mood, and even boss fights feel intense due to the great themes. In a time where music was not a huge part of the game itself, Ocarina of Time still manages to feel ahead of its time. Few games can set the perfect mood with just music alone. In terms of the sound, everything is great. Link's feet crush the grass beneath him, and his the shouts of certain enemies leave a lasting impression.
Game Play- 9/10
Ocarina of Time truly shone in the game play department for its time, but it is one area that feels a little old when compared to modern games. The controls themselves are great. Ocarina of Time featured a revolutionary lock-on combat system. By hitting a button, Link will lock on to an enemy, and every time he slashes with the master sword, he will attack in that enemy's direction. Also, the handling of Link's horse, Epona, is great and helps make traveling around the giant world much easier. Tons of hidden secrets and side quests help the replay value increase substantially, and the main storyline can take around twenty hours to complete. The game's structure itself is fairly simple: gamers will enter an area, discover a dungeon, get an item, kill the boss, and repeat. It sounds very repetitive, yet each area feels fresh thanks to the unique level designs. The boss battles are intense and test the abilities of the player by forcing them to think before attacking. The problem with Ocarina of Time is the inventory system. An item can be assigned to one of three buttons, but the only way to swap them out with new items is to pause the game, scroll through several screens, and tapping a button to equip an item. This can get very repetitive and tedious in the water temple. Equipping and unequipping the iron boots to sink or float in water can get very annoying. In addition, the clunky swimming and diving controls make the temple even more horrible. Normally, one bad dungeon would not be an issue, yet it is such a huge part of the game itself that this cannot be ignored. Overall, Ocarina of Time holds up quite well. With only one big flaw, it is impossible to deny how fantastic the game is.
Ocarina of Time is a true masterpiece in gaming. With great music, graphics, and game play, Zelda took the bold step into 3d. So many games have drawn from this legendary title that its impact on future games cannot be ignored. It released over 13 years ago, yet it still remains as one of the best games ever made.
Final Score- 10/10
Reviewer's Score: 10/10 | Originally Posted: 03/19/12
Game Release: The Legend of Zelda: Ocarina of Time (US, 11/23/98)
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