Look, reviewing a Zelda game at a Zelda-focused Nintendo site is always tough. For starters, we can’t even claim to not be biased towards the series in any fashion even if we would like to say so. Add on the fact that this is a remake of arguably the greatest game of all time and it makes doing such a review at this site even harder. What is there to say about the game that you don’t already know? If you were going to buy the game, or are still on the fence, what can I say to sway you one way or another?
It’s a tough question, but ultimately reviews serve one purpose and one purpose only: To tell you if a game is worth purchasing. Despite the biased nature of this site, it’s a difficult question especially based on the approach to this game. In this writer’s humble opinion, whether or not you should purchase this game really comes down to a select few factors: Was there anything new in the game? What about Master Quest? Are the graphics really that much better? In the end, should I buy this game?
I was debating on breaking this down traditional style, but I’ll just hop right into it.
Ocarina of Time Remastered
The entire game’s graphic engine has been overhauled… and Hyrule has arguably never looked better (yes, even counting Twilight Princess). More impressively than how Hyrule looks is how it “feels”. The important factor in the feel for me was the 3D.
3D is often seen as a gimmick, and while the game looks fantastic without it, I would argue that after playing Ocarina of Time in 3D the whole way through, that I could never go back. The game really is immersive. If you got into this game big time back in the late 90s and early 00s due to how immersive it was, rest assured that the 3D certainly adds to it.
A lot of players have been extremely worried about the atmosphere and how “lighter” and “brighter” everything has become, but everything felt just as eerie and scary as it ever did before – sometimes in completely new ways without actually “doing” anything new. Jabu-Jabu? Yeah, it looks like a living fish now. Gerudo Fortress? Yeah, it’s more stunning then ever. The 3D really brings the player into the game and never lets go of them. It doesn’t matter how small the screen is, you feel more a part of this world than you have ever done before. To me, this is thanks to the 3D. I also happen to be one of the few that don’t get headaches from it after long sessions, so take that for what you will.
Everything is essentially the same. Yes, it’s true you can do a bit of a jump forward similar to strafing, but in the end the controls are about the same. I mostly brought this category to the forefront because I really wanted to express my pure love of the Gyroscope aiming system.
I thought it was gimmicky myself before trying it out, and after using it not only am I convinced it is the superior way to use ranged objects as opposed to analog sticks. I am even more sold on such a feature being used on the Wii U. It’s extremely responsive, and way faster than anything even the N64 version provided. I played the old game just to compare, and it’s not nearly as fast or as quickly accurate in its aiming controls as the gyroscope is.
The downside of course is needing to really be in a swivel chair to appreciate it, but I am in one every day to run this site, so frankly it wasn’t an issue for me. Kick back, and aim freely. It’s awesome. Another downside is how the 3D effect is impacted by gyro control. While I was able to not lose it many times when aiming since my head moved with the machine, I admit at times it did go out of focus. This made using the 3D difficult at times. However, the 3D slider was readily available to the point that anytime I whipped out my bow, hookshot, or other projectile that I instinctively shut off the 3D, then turned it back on when I was done.
Eventually, it seems my eyes adjusted to this switch so often that at this point it only takes a second to reacquaint myself with being in a 3D world. Honestly, I think it’s just that we have never had 3D software so readily available that we simply haven’t trained our bodies to the drastic change in perspective. Thankfully, after finishing the game, I can safely say I have done just that.
Look, the boss mode and Sheikah stones are nice additions, but nothing more. There is no Ganondorf in the boss mode and while it’s fun going back and trying to beat your previous times and such, I wasn’t really “that” into the boss mode. I also never had to use Sheikah stones but based on the info we had going in I am sure they are helpful. It appears there are only two in the entire game.
Moving beyond that we get mostly into easter eggs. There is nothing new in this game. It’s the same game as it was back in 1998. However, all easter eggs I have seen so far, outside of the Hyrule Castle paintings, have been related to Skyward Sword. Nothing really too special, just a painting here or there behind a pot or box, but it’s not exactly note worthy. Just a reminder that a new game is coming.
What you really want to know is…
Look, I never played the original version so call me biased, but this is not easy. By the time of this review I have not even made it half way through the Master Quest. You will die… a lot… even if you’re an experienced Ocarina of Time player. The double damage and flipped world really play tricks with your mind. Walking into the first dungeon and making two minor mistakes can easily lead to a quick death. You are just not accustomed to it. It is by far the most amount of damage ever done to the player in any Zelda game.
There are more enemies, and extra enemies in different rooms. The items have often changed rooms entirely, and overall the game is definitely a “hardcore” Zelda fan’s experience. Given that I haven’t beaten it yet, I’ll just say “Yeah, it’s fucking hard as shit.” Seriously, the kind you find out in your yard a week after someone’s dog left it. You just don’t want to deal with it, but at the same time you just can’t leave it there. You have to take care of it. You have to beat Master Quest.
It’s essentially what I wanted from every Zelda, but I now know why they don’t do it.
I’ll give this a rather joking score at the end, but I’m not sure I’ve properly addressed the question on purchase. If you’ve never played Master Quest, the game is worth it to the hardcore fan just for that experience. If you’re not interested in the Master Quest, there is honestly little reason to buy this game.
Rest assured, this is the best version of Ocarina of Time in existence. There is nothing there to disappoint you, but it’s the same experience as it was when I was a kid. Nothing’s really changed, and I’m glad nothing did. There is a whole generation of Zelda gamers who likely haven’t played this game… for those I suggest picking it up. It brings Ocarina of Time into the new age masterfully.
At the same time, it’s a remake. It’s a good one, but it’s nothing spectacular. Master Quest is the sole definitive reason to buy it. So, if your hardcore into Zelda – get it. It’s worth it. If you’re just a casual fan who plays the games but isn’t a completionist or doesn’t think Zelda needs to be harder… then this isn’t worth yet another purchase, which may be your fourth between the N64, GCN, VC, and now 3DS versions.
How the Rating System Works
- 0/5 Reggies = game is absolute shit.
- 1/5 Reggies = game is playable, but absolutely nothing noteworthy.
- 2/5 Reggies = game is average. Nothing special but worth a look for extreme fans of the game type.
- 3/5 Reggies = game is good. Does some things that make the experience feel refreshing.
- 4/5 Reggies = game is excellent. Only a few minor gripes hold it back from the pinnacle.
- 5/5 Reggies = game is near perfect.
Keep in mind in doing this review it is based on my own experiences with the new features of the game, and not the game on the whole. I did not do any 100% completion runs prior to the review as I was focused on Master Quest, where I did not even complete it prior to this review. Due to the nature of this game, and my speed running ways, I skipped over a feature that some may be interested in but I personally didn’t really care for: A Boss Gauntlet, which is different than the Boss Challenge mode. Unfortunately, I didn’t get any experience with it as I went straight to MQ, but it is in the game and is another “new” feature. There it’s out there, but it doesn’t change my score.
Update 2: Having just experienced the Gauntlet, I will say it’s a nice little feature. It’s only available after completing Master Quest (no, I haven’t beaten it, but my friend at work beat it for me!) and is extremely difficult. One of the most challenging boss related modes I have ever experienced in all of gaming.
Those who like 3 heart challenges will definitely love this feature. The feature in that of itself isn’t worth the purchase of the game, as the entirety of Master Quest is what makes it worth while, but it is an excellent addition to the tool box for Zelda vets.
Looking for help? Why not give our full Ocarina of Time 3D Walkthrough a chance!