Also available on: N/A
The Legend Of Zelda: Ocarina Of Time is undoubtedly one of the most renowned and revered games of all time. More than a decade after it made its debut on the N64, it is still largely recognised as one of the best, if not the best, games ever made. Its success is largely due to the fact that it features an incredibly detailed, engrossing and engaging game world, excellent level design, inventive puzzles, charming characters and a great plot - not to mention a wonderful soundtrack.
With the 3DS suffering from a severe lack of triple-A titles since it was released in March, what better game to buck the trend and reignite our extra-dimensional interest than The Legend Of Zelda: Ocarina Of Time 3D? With new and improved visuals, a smattering of gameplay refinements and additional challenges to unlock, this is the definitive version of an all-time classic and has the potential to make a whole new generation fall in love with the land of Hyrule.
For those who have never played the game before, The Legend Of Zelda: Ocarina Of Time 3D sees players control a young forest-dwelling boy named Link. As the game begins, Link is awoken from a particularly strange and puzzling nightmare by his new fairy guardian Navi, who accompanies him on a quest to save the land of Hyrule and Princess Zelda from the evil and iconic villain Ganondorf.
Spanning multiple years and featuring all manner of beasts, monsters, sages and races, Ocarina Of Time is fantasy in its purest form, and while the plot and storytelling techniques may seem quaint compared to those found in sophisticated modern RPGs and adventure games, it remains captivating nonetheless.
A large part of the game's ability to captivate and charm audiences stems from having such gorgeous visuals. The original game featured lush fields, rich forests, fiery pits and glistening lakes that looked great at the time, but now seem a little dated. Thankfully, the latest port revitalises and re-energises the visuals in every way imaginable.
Textures are vastly improved with many of the original game's jagged edges smoothed and softened, giving characters and monsters an extra level of detail. The game is also far brighter and more colourful than ever before, which is especially evident when the cock crows and the sun rises over the fields of Hyrule.
Of course, the biggest graphical update comes with the addition of stereoscopic 3D visuals, which occasionally causes objects, enemies and fairy dust to fly from the screen. However, more noticeable is the added depth that it lends to the game's varied environments. From a practical standpoint, judging distances in the face of countless jumps, drops, pits and falls is far easier, while from a purely cosmetic and superficial perspective, seeing the Hyrule plains stretch out in front of you while galloping on Epona is a majestic sight, as is the view from the summit of Death Mountain.
Special mention and praise must also be reserved for the game's musical score and sound effects, which accompany Link every step of the way and further immerses the player in the game's wonderful locations. Speak to anybody who is fond of the original and they'll still doubtless be able to whistle Zelda's Lullaby or Saria's Song, which is something that newcomers have to look forward to.
One thing that players may not be able to remember is how to solve all of the game's fiendish puzzles in order to enter and subsequently conquer temples and dungeons. The Legend Of Zelda: Ocarina Of Time 3D features lots of really well thought-out, albeit tricky, puzzles, which require players to fully explore their surroundings, talk to NPCs and listen for clues.
Getting into temples and dungeons usually requires some form of new tool or tune, while reaching one of the game's many spectacular bosses and defeating it also requires the use of grey matter - as well as countless items from your inventory. Compared to the overly-simplified nature of many contemporary games, Ocarina Of Time may seem a little tough and uncompromising at first. However, the dungeons are so well designed that failure is usually down to a slight oversight, either not looking around for a hidden switch or not thinking to use an item.
Thankfully, for those who find themselves really stuck, the game features a brand new hint system which can be activated by entering various Sheikah Stones or by watching a vision from the 'game over' screen. The brief visions generally fall short of showing players exactly what to do; instead, they give players just enough information to figure it out for themselves.
Touch-screen controls have also been added and makes menu screen navigation and equipping items a much more efficient process. The infamous Iron Boots have also been reclassified as items instead of Gear making switching them on and off a far less frustrating task.
For those hoping the experience will never end, Ocarina Of Time 3D also features the Master Quest, which reorders the entire game and makes fighting enemies and solving puzzles much tougher. This should appease veteran players who are looking for an extra challenge, while also giving first-time players something extra to do as soon as the credits have rolled.
There's also a Boss Challenge mode, which allows players to tackle bosses individually or one after the other in as quick a time as possible. The game also makes use of the 3DS's gyroscopic controls when aiming in first-person. Admittedly, this offers little in the heat of the battle when precision is key, but is slightly speedier and more intuitive when players have the time to take in their surroundings.
The Legend Of Zelda: Ocarina Of Time 3D is an eye-popping gameplay experience in more ways than one. Not only is the land of Hyrule brimming with life thanks to the revitalising effects that the stereoscopic 3D visuals offer, but the gameplay, level design, soundtrack and story are of such high quality that it's hard to believe the game is more than a decade old.
The superior touch-screen controls, gyroscopic sensor, hint system, as well as the addition of Master Quest and Boss Challenge mode, only add to the sense that this latest release is the definitive version of an all-time classic. Even with a full lineup of triple-A titles to choose from, it's hard to imagine a game more appealing and more suited to a 3D makeover.
Whether revisiting Hyrule for the umpteenth time, or paying your first visit, prepare to be dazzled by one of the finest gaming experiences ever created.
> What do you think of the game? Share your views