If you have never played this game in any other incarnation, this review is not for you. This is for those who have played Ocarina of Time in the past.
The Legend of Zelda is a series that really needs no introduction. It has, ironically, become a legend in its on right. The first title in this series to grace the N64 was "Ocarina of Time", which became heralded as one of the best games ever made. Does the remake stack up to the original? Is it worth owning if you already own the original? If you have wondered either of those things, this review is for you. In this review I will be comparing the remake to the original, not to prove one over the other, but to help you make the decision of rather you should purchase it or not.
No doubt the first thing you are wondering are the new graphics. OOT3D's visual style is a touch more vibrant than before, but not to the extreme. Colors are a little more vibrant, and everything now moves at a smooth 60 FPS(frames per second). Shops and other such locations are now less barren, making them look more like an actual shop. As for the characters, they now see to have much more personality while remaining true to their original models. Perhaps the coolest graphical enhancement is the fact that there are absolutely zero pre-rendered backgrounds! You ca now see the ring of smoke over Death Mountain slowly circling, and that Death Mountain is exactly the same Death Mountain you will be visiting. It's a small, but very nice touch, and it makes Hyrule feel a bit more alive. As for the 3D effect, I regretfully inform you that while this is the best use of 3D on the system so far, you may find yourself playing in 2D more often. Most of the time, everything will be clear, but in a few problem areas, there may be "bleeding", meaning one eye is no longer differentiating from the other, causing a double image. The game may not bleed often, but when it does, it does it pretty bad. The 3D effect in this game is also quite straining. I found myself slowly sliding the effect lower and lower until eventually I was just playing in 2D after about half an hour.
That mountain you see the exact same model you will be walking on later.
New character models are more detailed, including things missing originally, such as the belt around Link's shoulder. More emotional facial animations are also used.
The 3DS version of Ocarina of Time has the best control scheme possible for this game. It's even better suited to the game than playing the Collector's Edition Gamecube version. The A button is your primary button, used for reading, lifting, grabbing, and rolling. B is always assigned to your sword. Additional items may be assigned to both the X or Y buttons, and the "I" and "II" touch screen buttons. While having two item slots moved to the touch screen may seem like a hindrance, "I" and "II" are located at the right edge of the touch screen, where they can be easily tapped with your finger (or stylus if you are picky) with ease. The 3DS slide pad seems almost like it was made to control Link in this game. It's even smoother than the Gamecube's control stick on the Collector's Disc, and my thumb never got tired. Another cool new feature is that, when aiming something such as the bow, you can move the DS itself instead of using the slide stick. It's very quick and useful, and even more accurate than the Wii remote in Twilight Princess. Your inventory and gear screens are now accessible through touch screen tabs, and pressing start or select at any time will allow you to save. When not under one of these tabs, the bottom screen displays the map as well as your health, magic, and other such statistics. Furthermore, The Iron Boots and Hover Boots are now tiems as opposed to gear, meaning they can be assigned to a slot and easily equipped. The ocarina now has a permanently assigned tab at the bottom left of the touch screen, meaning you no longer have to pick a button for it. Furthermore, the Ocarina is now controlled with the X,Y,A, L, and R buttons.
The menu is now a lot more streamlined.
The ocarina is now assigned a permanent activation button on the touch screen and is played with the X, A, Y, L and R buttons. Notice that the buttons displayed here, playing Zelda's Lullaby, are played int he same order as the C-buttons originally used to play that same melody on the 64.
For those of you who hate censoring, I have some bad news. This is without a doubt the most censored version of Ocarina of Time ever. In case you are not sure what I'm talking about, let me give you a brief history lesson. When Ocarina of Time was originally released (the version we call 1.0), there were a few things that some deemed offensive. First of all, the Fire Temple had chanting in the music. An Islamic group claimed that it was an Islamic prayer, and they were angered that it was being used to basically worship the temple's boss. Islamic groups also Furthermore, at the end of the game, Ganon coughed up blood upon his death. Soccer moms everywhere cried foul, as this was an E rated title. Nintendo addressed these issues by releasing a censored version (known as version 1.2, a previous update, 1.1, was released to fix some glitches) in whihc the Fire Temple's music was simply a remix of Shadow Temple music and Ganon coughed up green blood. You'd think such censorship would end there, but no! When the game was released on the Gamecube with Master Quest and on the Zelda Collector's Disc, the censored the Gerudo symbol, a moon and star, to the sort of diamond symbol used in Majora's Mask. That means the symbol sued on Gerudo flags, blocks and even the mirror shield became censored. This was done because of the symbols resemblance to many middle eastern countries' flags. So, does the remake contain these edits? Every single one of them and more. The bottom of the Well mini-dungeon has been cleaned of the blood that was once on the walls and floor at the entrance, and they even censored Princess Ruto. Her scales now form a sort of dress so that she is not nude, and while I personally think it looks great and adds to her design, others seem to dislike it simply because it's different than before.
Examples of the v1.0(top) and v1.2(bottom) blood color change, which is present in 3D.
Examples of the v1.0(top) and v1.2(bottom) Gerudo symbol censorship, which is also present in 3D.
Aside from fixing a couple of major glitches, they left most of the game the same. If a rock was in a location on the N64, it is in the exact same spot on the 3DS. Every line of dialogue was left the same as it was, and every character performs the same animations. This is, without a doubt, the most accurate and true remake I have ever played of any game. They included the Master Quest (hard mode), unlocked after completing the game once, and have also added a new boss run mode. Furthermore, Sheikai stones in the Temple of Time and Kokiri Forest serve as a hint system for players who become stuck. I think this is the best "ease of access" Nintendo has implemented in their games so far. Unlike New Super Mario Bros. or Donkey Kong Country Returns, it does not play the game for you, but rather shows you a vision that tells you where you need to go, or what you need to do. Ocarina of Time will always be remembered, and now it can be experienced by a whole new generation, and it will be just as magical for them.
So, if you want to see OOT with a fresh coat of paint, this game is definitely worth buying. If you just want a portable version of the game, it's also certainly worth a purchase. If the only version you like is 1.0, then you should probably stay away, ebcause you will hate it just as much as v1.2 before it. If you want to buy the deepest and most satisfying game in the 3DS' library, then this is the definite choice at the moment. Some will always prefer the original, and they are entitled to that. I personally find the streamlined system, updated visuals, and awesome controls appealing, and this is easily my favorite way to play Ocarina of Time.