Review: The Legend of Zelda: Ocarina of Time 3D

(This version of the review is edited from the initial version posted on July 5.)

The Legend of Zelda: Ocarina of Time 3D recaptures everything that was so great about the game’s original 1998 release, making its 3D version a healthy dose of nostalgia for those who first enjoyed the game 13 years ago.

Nintendo first released Ocarina of Time in 1998 for the Nintendo 64. Its new Nintendo 3DS version features not only 3D visuals, but improved character models, more detailed environments and refined controls that add freshness to a nearly 13-year-old title.

The new release also includes the more difficult “Master Quest” and a new feature allowing players to replay boss battles.

Ocarina of Time 3D’s lack of voice acting and branching storylines — combined with a visual style that resembles an animated film — may seem simplistic when compared to modern games that play like interactive movies.  Indeed, Ocarina of Time has aged, but it has aged well.

Its imaginative world and engaging – if somewhat formulaic – story should entertain players who have never before ventured into its world.

On the surface, Ocarina of Time’s story is just another take on the collect-magical objects-and-rescue-the-princess style of gaming. But time travel, a surprising plot twist, the integration of music with gameplay and memorable characters and environments distinguish the game from similar titles.

The game’s swordfightig hero, Link, spends the game journeying through the fictional land of Hyrule where he meets the legendary Princess Zelda, climbs mountains, descends to the bottom of a lake and explores a haunted desert.

Link starts Ocarina of Time as a child, but a plot twist sends him into the future. He he must then travel back-and-forth between the worls of childhood and adulthood to continue his quest.

Players must also learn to play songs on the ocarina, the musical instrument featured in the game’s title. Songs can open sealed doors, call Link’s horse, and even create storms.

The musical elements add another element to the game’s many puzzles, which are a key part of Ocarina of Time’s terrific level designs.

The game’s puzzles force players figure out how to employ their inventory of bombs, boomerangs, arrows and other tools to solve mysteries like the Forest Temple’s twisting corridors or how to use light beams and mirrors to conquer the Spirit Temple.

Besides 3D images, Ocarina of Time’s new features  include gyroscopic controls that let players tilt their 3DS to aim arrows and other projectiles.  This is interesting, but not necessarily better than using old-fashioned controls.

The control system’s real improvements can be discovered when players manage Link’s inventory, as  the 3DS’ secondary touchscreen removes much of the hassle from  levels like the game’s Water Temple stage.

In the 1998 version, players had to frequently pause the game to put on or remove the iron boots that made it possible for Link to sink to the bottom of  flooded environments.

The 2011 version lets players tap their  touchscreen to change their boots, making the Water Temple less of a chore.

Legend of Zelda: Ocarina of Time is one of the best games in video game history, and its 3D re-release is a worthwhile purchase for a long-time fan or newvcomer who wants to play an upgraded edition of the title.

Legend of Zelda: Ocarina of Time 3D
Nintendo 3DS
Rated E for Everyone 10+