Posted on January 22 2018 by Adam Barham
I’m someone who got a late start playing The Legend of Zelda series, and many video games overall. For years, the only video games I had access to were The Legend of Zelda: A Link to the Past, Super Mario All-Stars, a few plug-and-plays, and several various titles on my DSi. Only when I was fourteen did I start diving into The Legend of Zelda and other video game franchises more than I had previously. One Zelda game that I had heard high praise for was Majora’s Mask; however, because of some reviews that spoke of dark themes in the game, I was turned off of the game for quite some time. I didn’t play the game or even watch any let’s-plays of it until I finally received and began playing the 3DS remake of this series classic a couple of weeks ago. While I had known some details about the plot and the world of which I was entering, I was going into this game mostly blind, with little idea of the majority of the game overall. After playing this game for the first time, years after its initial release, I’d like to share with you my experience of this renowned Zelda title.
Majora’s Mask, while it has its flaws, is an overall fantastic game with many entertaining quests and interesting characters. From the start of the game, I was fascinated by the gameplay mechanics that I was encountering. Time passed more quickly than I had initially expected, and I could instantly tell that time-management and scheduling important events was going to be an important part of this game. I was thrilled, after the first three-day cycle, to receive the Bomber’s Notebook, which helped me keep track of the many different quests available in the game as I learned of them. I was also happy to discover that the bank in South Clock Town held my Rupees even after the cycle reset, which turned what I first thought to be a random NPC into a valuable asset.
As the first three-day cycle progressed, I was constantly concerned about running out of time; and as the final hours began, I was only concerned for my own safety, desiring to avoid a “game over”. However, as I dove deeper into Majora’s Mask, these perspectives changed. Getting even relatively close to running out of time was a rare problem for me, primarily thanks to carefully observing the clock and the ever-useful Inverted Song of Time. Because of these things, I managed to avoid death via crushing by the moon the entire time I played. I also became more concerned about the characters I encountered. I grew attached to the people I saw on a regular basis, to the point where I was focused on avoiding the end of the final hours just for their sake.
The final hours on their own were a sight to behold. From the sad, lonesome music that portrayed the end of the world, to the soldiers quivering where they stood, to the lack of people left in Clock Town, this part of the game was unique and powerful. Whenever I reached this point in time, I knew that I could not fail, simply for the sake of the characters that I had met.
The main quest itself was enjoyable, but also disappointingly short. I didn’t really want to beat the game, as I didn’t want the story to end as fast as it did. The dungeons were solid too, with Woodfall Temple and the Stone Tower Temple being my favorites. The mechanic of the transformation masks, despite their sad backstories, were also really neat. Each one offered different features and abilities, changing the way I played the game. Even the standard masks were useful; I wore the Bunny Hood nearly all the time, and the Great Fairy’s mask was incredibly useful in each of the four dungeons.
While I didn’t complete every sidequest the game had to offer, most of the ones that I did do were enjoyable. As I completed them little by little, I was pleasantly surprised to receive a useful reward multiple times, such as multiple bottles, gold dust to upgrade my sword, and the like. I had heard about the Anju and Kafei quest before I started the game; after completing it myself, I can certainly say that it was terrific. As I began attempting to reunite them, I was hooked. I wanted to get this couple back together, and to see them happy. You can imagine my disappointment when I was blocked from completing it until I gained access to Ikana Canyon; or my sadness when I failed to get the Sun Mask on the first try without saving the game beforehand, forcing me to reset the quest. At the end of the game, I ended up returning to many sidequests I had already completed, such as the quests around Romani Ranch, before stopping the fall of the moon so I could feel like I fixed everyone’s problems one final time.
However, this game wasn’t perfect; there are several complaints I have about it. I was disappointed at how short the game was. For such an interesting story, there wasn’t enough content aside from sidequests. I would have liked to see side-characters more involved with the central story, as well as more regions and more masks. Perhaps in future, we’ll see a return to Termina, with regions such as an air-based one with a Rito transformation mask, or a fire-based one with a Lizalfos transformation mask. I could also complain about the Snowhead Temple and the Great Bay Temple a little bit, but my problems with those dungeons were primarily centered around my own errors while playing through them. One major complaint that I had was with something in the game’s design: the final boss was far too easy while using the Fierce Deity Mask. I was excited to try out one of the most well-known items from the game, and to finally defeat the evil Majora. However, I took very little damage in the entire fight, as I obliterated each form of the final boss in an anti-climatic end to an otherwise fantastic game.
So what did I think of the game overall? I loved it, from beginning to end. While there were some things that I would change, I thoroughly enjoyed it. I was sad to complete it, in a way that I hadn’t felt about a video game in a long time. The dark reviews that I had heard beforehand that I had turned me away from the game were, from my perspective, severely exaggerated. While this game did have some dark tones, they were nothing in comparison to the games of now, even offering an enjoyable change of pace from what is common in this day and age. In the end, I would highly recommend it to anyone even half-way interested in giving it a try. So if you haven’t played this game yet and are currently thinking about it, go ahead! Give it a shot, and see what you think of it yourself. Maybe you’ll enjoy it too, just as much or even more than I have.