There was a point this week where I was a broken man; a shell of my former self. You see, for me The Legend of Zelda: Ocarina of Time was the pinnacle of gaming, and as such I was delighted when Nintendo invited me to relive the classic adventure, as well as the 3DS remake. “So why were you so glum?” I hear you ask; well to be honest I found the N64 version… almost unplayable (cue dramatic music).
What once was a rich and vibrant world now looks fuzzy and undefined, and don’t even get me started on the framerate – simply running across the fields of Hyrule felt like wading through treacle. The controls also weren’t as tight as I remembered, with the N64’s analogue stick feeling decidedly loose. Oh how things have changed in a decade. The pedestal, along with OoT, came crashing down.
Epona is still majestic, and serves as many constants between Ocarina's two time zones with startling effect.
The towns are equally impressive, and areas that used to be just static pre-renders are now fully modelled. The use of 3D enhances this new look, and the first time you peer down into a pit in the Deku Tree is a striking experience. Indeed, Hyrule seems to benefit more than the 3DS’ other games when it comes to the use of 3D. Vistas stretch off into the distance, Navi circles around you, and caverns loom ominously.
We’ve gone hands-on with demo portions of the game before, but the copy we tried this time seemed to be the finished version (or very close to it) with no time restrictions. Within seconds of the first cutscene ending my rusty memory kicked in and I found myself instinctively navigating the world like a native Kokiri.
For the first time adult Link was also playable, and a trip to the Temple of Time brought waves of nostalgia crashing down. In fact, the period as adult Link was easily the most stunning, and sometimes one just had to stop and pan the camera around. Sonically the game is still lovely, with instantly recognisable tunes booming from the 3DS’ little speakers – Zelda’s Lullaby, anyone?
The interiors are all now modeled in 3D, and look far better than the blurry old 2D versions.
A new feature for the 3D version of OoT is gyroscope controls. Anyone familiar with Steel Diver will know the drill here, as when you enter the first person viewpoint you can look around by moving the 3DS. It takes a stealth ninja (or a swivel chair) to pull this off without ruining the 3D effect, and in all honesty I found myself just looking around via the Circle Pad.
It’s amazing that The Legend of Zelda: Ocarina of Time’s story still feels as fresh as it did when I took the cart out of the cardboard game box all those years ago. In my opinion the 3D version will be a rare beast – a game that will not only placate die-hard fans, but capture a whole new audience who missed out on it the first (second and third) time.
Next stop, review-ville.