Hands On With Zelda: Ocarina of Time 3D

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.

[drop]Looking back, this ‘retro corner’ was a very clever idea from Nintendo, as it was the perfect way to showcase the technological leap that The Legend of Zelda: Ocarina of Time 3D brings. For a start everything is so bright and amazingly razor sharp; the greens in particular. Character models are much more detailed (“Link has a face!” was jokingly mentioned) and framerate issues have been taken and given a jolly good beating.

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?

[drop2]Control is slick, mainly thanks to the super-smooth Circle Pad, and for the most part the touch-screen inventory is a very useful addition, meaning there will be no need to constantly pause the game to shuffle through items.  One thing I did find, though, was that sometimes the touch-screen wouldn’t respond first time when I tapped an icon. During normal gameplay this isn’t so bad, but in the heat of battle it can cost you precious hearts.

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.



  1. I never played OoT even though I did have an N64 for quite some time. I know I know!

    • Same here, but I did play some with friends though. It was the game of that generation I sorely missed out on, which is why I want this remake.

      • Enjoyed it so much on the N64, definitely one of my all time greats.

  2. I’ve only played the early three level demo of this but that was already way above what the N64 version was. For me, this is the perfect game, and the ability to play it on the move (or the loo) is going to be killer.

    Ocarina is a beautiful story, told in two distinct parts, and I envy everyone that’s getting to play it for the first time on 3DS. Hoping it’s going to be the 3DS’ first real killer app.

    • Having the two versions side by side was a real eye opener.

      • Hopefully that’ll highlight to Nintendo to do Majora’s Mask next then…

      • While Majora’s Mask is one of my all time favourite Zelda games ever (right behind A Link to the Past) I’d rather want a truly new Zelda game first.

      • If they released a 3D version of Majora’s Mask I would go out an buy a 3DS that second!

      • *and

  3. Dammit Nintendo… If I had any money, it’d be in your pockets by now. When really there’s no need for me to get this game as I’ve played it before numerous times before.

    • Me too, dozens of times. Really excited about just one more time though…

  4. Hey! Listen! Hey! Hey! Hey! Listen!

  5. Thanks for the “hands on”, this is looking so good. Really looking forward to this and some more quality games for the 3DS.

  6. It does make the idea of buying a 3DS more attractive, I loved it on N64.

    • My sentiments exactly.
      A certain magic in its gameplay, i don’t think i’ve felt since.

  7. This game is a large part of the reason I want a 3DS.

    My favourite 3D Zelda game is Wind Waker and I’d love to see it on 3DS, especially with different control styles that could be implemented, but perhaps it’s not old enough yet.

  8. Why bother with 3D though? I would have been interested if it wasn’t for the 3D gimmick.

    • you do know that you can turn the 3D off?

    • Okay,this has convinced me that the 3DS may be worth getting.As someone who has never played a zelda game, i am interested to see what it is like and how it lives up to it’s rep. If only Ninty had waited untill this was ready to release,then the launch sales would have been higher.

      • This was not supposed to be a reply to you.Can Peter or anyone who has the power to,move this so it is on it’s own? I will give you a cookie,a Gentleman’s video and a copy of Zelda.(it may be a piece of paper that has the plot written all over it;P)

  9. Damn that looks good.

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