My name is Dagfari, and I’ve never played Ocarina of Time before this week. I was a Sega kid, I had the Master System 2 and the Sega Saturn, before moving onto the Playstation. And for years, I’ve often wondered to myself “Why is Ocarina of Time hailed as the greatest game ever?” Thanks to the re-release of a spruced up 3DS version, I get to experience for the first time what is so special, so let’s dive in without the nostalgia goggles!
You play as Link, a Kokiri child, who is the only one is his village to not have a fairy companion. This changes when the Great Deku Tree reveals Link’s destiny – that he is meant to save the world by defeating the man that cursed the elder to die. With Navi – one of the most annoying characters I have ever had the displeasure to hear – by his side, he searches dungeons for Spiritual Stones to unlock the Temple of Time. This turns out to be a rather bad idea, as it leads the killer of the Great Deku Tree, Ganondorf, straight to the Triforce, as well as sealing Link in the temple for seven years, apparently too young or weak to wield the Master Sword.
Finding himself suddenly an adult, he explores the apocalyptic land of Hyrule, decimated by the seven harsh years of Ganondorf’s rule. Using time travel to hop betwen child and adult, aided by the mysterious Sheik, who we later learn to be Princess Zelda, Link travels the temples to obtain the spirits of the Seven Sages. After gathering them all, he defeats Ganon and seals him with the power of the sages, is sent back to his original time to live out his childhood and gets friendly with Princess Zelda. You know, the general storyline that seems to happen in most Zelda games.
The story is good, and flows well – nothing seems to be wasted in terms of essential plot development, with all the questionable moments kept to the side-quests. However, there are quite a few sidequests and optional things available, it almost felt like there was more of it than the actual story. I will admit that Link seems to be incredibly lucky, finding the exact item he needs to solve the puzzle that hinders his progress moments before he actually needs it. It’s nothing new and ground-breaking, but for a timeline with more Links and Zeldas than I have 3DS games, then it seems somewhat fitting that the acts tend to follow a similar trend.
The controls are certainly one of the tighter examples I can think of, with the main screen de-cluttered from the original, all the items, menus and maps kept to the lower screen so you don’t have to stop the action to check your map. The touch screen is mainly kept to two items, and menu organising, which is appreciative, with four items available for use at any given time. Two on X and Y, the other two on touch-screen only buttons. This means that you have to organise, but what I ended up doing was having my two battle items on X and Y and my newest item and bombs on the touch screen. Useful and practical, adding another element of planning to fights.
The main focus of the game seems to be solving puzzles, which is odd for a game described by many to me as action-adventure with role-playing and puzzle elements. Every time you enter a new room, village or anywhere – there are puzzles up the wazoo, so it seems fairer to say it’s a puzzle game with some action-adventure thrown in. The developers included “Visions” – a video gallery that gave you clues as to how to advance if you were stuck, to make the game more accessible to those who, like me, missed out first time around.
The puzzles…are hard, and require a unique brand of thinking, namely Zelda Logic. Something I severely lack, but as best I can sum up is bomb the heck out of any crack in a wall, and spam your new item as well. By the time I reached the Water Temple, I held my hands up and reached for a strategy guide. The game is so expansive, and one or two of the puzzles are just downright mean that having one by your side is almost required for those who want to experience the game, yet struggle with Zelda’s style of mind-bending.
This game is not only the first “big” title for the 3DS, but is also arguably one of the greatest Zelda titles, and one that is meant to show people how good the series can be. Various articles on the game’s release seemed to dub it the “greatest game ever”, which is a bold statement. Any game with as much push as Ocarina has had has to be able to cope with it, and it does just that.
The graphics have gotten a major rework, showing that the developers were not just going to make some port of the N64 version, and they also embraced the new, with the gyroscope in the 3DS being used to move the camera around in first person – totally optional, but a nice touch.
Is Ocarina of Time a good game? Yes – in fact, it is probably threatening to break into my personal top ten games. Is it a perfect game? No – no game is, and while there are not many, I have played better. Apart from a few irritations here and there, the game was massively enjoyable, and I look forward to taking my time with it when I play it again. As a general newbie when it comes to actually playing Zelda games, I can honestly say that this is one to use to convert others into giving the series a chance.
out of 10
– Insane detail of graphics for handheld
– Combat flows well
– Story keeps running along
– Plenty of secrets
– Extra modes add longetivity
– Water Temple
– Puzzles can be unforgiving