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Hands On: The Legend of Zelda: Ocarina of Time 3D

Posted by James Newton

Link's past and future in one evening

Last year's E3 conference was full of 3DS announcements, but one moment that still sticks in the memory after a year is the revelation of Legend of Zelda: Ocarina of Time 3D for the console. With less than a month until the game hits shelves worldwide, Nintendo UK invited Nintendo Life to a special preview event to take Link's remastered adventure for a spin.

The London venue was decked out with images of the Master Sword, Hyrule Shield and a tree, with tunes from the game setting the aural backdrop. Several stations were available to try the newly three-dimensional game, as well as an area to try out the N64 original.

The contrast between both games is far more noticeable than you may realise: viewed with 2011 eyes, Ocarina's N64 debut isn't as pretty as you may remember it, with a choppy frame rate, blurry textures and simplistic polygon models. For its time it was revolutionary, but compared to its new 3DS incarnation it's very much the ugly sister.

Grezzo Co. has done a commendable job of rebuilding Ocarina's 64-bit world for the modern age: with sharp edges, clear textures and fidelity to the original artwork, the 3DS version looks how you remember the N64 release looking in its time, but viewed side by side the new handheld revamp is streets ahead of its predecessor.

It's also received a few new tweaks elsewhere, with the bottom screen displaying a small overworld map as well as details on equipped items and quick access to the inventory, keeping the top screen pleasingly uncluttered. Everything is just a few taps away, and navigating menus is quick and instinctive, with the all-important tunics and the ocarina itself easily accessed. Some may be surprised the ocarina doesn't respond to breath like the Spirit Pipes in Legend of Zelda: Spirit Tracks, but purists will be instantly familiar with the button set-up.

The other major control scheme change appears in the first-person mode, where you can aim with the Circle Pad or the 3DS console's in-built gyrometer, moving the console around to aim your hookshot, arrows, slingshot or just have a look around. The method is responsive and functional, but in heated moments it's not hard to foresee difficulty staying in the 3D 'sweet spot', so players may want to stick to the Circle Pad.

We were also able to try the new Sheikah Stones, a hint feature that uses quick glimpses of video to help baffled players conquer puzzles or battles. Far from Super Guide-like hand-holding, the hints are brief flashes intended to put lightbulbs above player heads: a short shot of an enemy's weak spot, a clip of Link pushing a block into place. Hints are sorted into location and given extremely short descriptions, and are unlikely to spoil anything for first-time players.

Regrettably the more difficult Master Quest mode and new Boss Challenge were not available to try out at the preview event.

Ultimately, our impressions of Zelda: Ocarina of Time 3D are largely the same as when we played it back in January: it's Ocarina of Time, in 3D. It looks far better than its predecessor and offers more content, while still carrying the indescribable quality that typifies the series. With just a few weeks until the game's released to the world, we won't have too long to wait and see whether the full quest carries the same impact as it did back in 1998.

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User Comments (40)



Dazza said:

It was a fun event last night, there's no doubt that OoT looks great on the 3DS. The subtle 3D effects really do bring Hyrule to life.

The contrast between the crisp visuals was particularly striking after playing the N64 original on the old battered CRTs



Ichiban said:

Ocarina of time was released in 1998 nerdlinger.
But definetly excited to play this:)



antdickens said:

I was going to play through this again on Wii before Skyward Sword comes out, almost certainly going to play this version instead - buying the game for the 4th or 5th time



TheAmazingRaccoon said:

I think it will be fun and interesting to use the gyro for targeting. But it very good that have the circle pad to fall back on if it goes pear shaped.



Slapshot said:

I can't wait to buy this again for the third time now!

Hopefully, Majoras Mask will receive the same treatment as well.



phoenix1818 said:

Can't see myself using the gyroscope aiming and I definitely won't be using the Sheikah Stones, but at least I'll get to play Master Quest for the first time. This version looks a lot better than the N64 version though, especially when you compare the two side-by-side.



HipsterDashie said:

Nice! I recognise that venue, it's the same one where I attended the Monster Hunter Tri preview!



Fuzzy said:

Can't wait. I know it's a game I've played many times before, but I'm still excited to gety hands on it.

Also, pretty happy they didn't use the breath feature for the ocarina. It sucked in ST (like the rest of the game...)



daznsaz said:

havent played it through since 64 so should be good fun forgotten most of it come autumn should be sitting pretty with good games



timp29 said:

Sounds excellent that they've removed some of the on screen clutter to the bottom screen. Want me a 3Ds and this game for my 2 weeks of holidays.



Dazza said:

@Corbs I don't like to steal James' limelight, besides he never offers to take a photo of me in return



shinesprite said:

I wouldn't have let James in with a shirt like that!

Problems addressed on the 3DS (reasons to upgrade from the n64 version):
choppy framerate (PAL only problem right): not a problem on the VC
blurriness: not a problem on the VC
simplistic textures and polygon models: quite frankly, I like original Link better than box art Link

So yea, I'm sticking with my VC version thank you very much.



Spoony_Tech said:

Its been about 12 years since I've beat this game. Over the years I've started playing it then another game came out and never finished it. This will be the perfect reason to sit down and play through the whole game again twice I guess (stupid master quest unlock). This and resident evil in the same month is going to make me very happy. Also a link to the past at the tip of my fingers and all three on the go I may go and cry now!



Samholy said:

i do hope for majora's mask, which is probably the only zelda game i havent played. my n64 broke before its launch, and didnt buy another one.



Detective_TeeJay said:

@18 Choppy framerate?! Where did you hear that?! From what I've heard and the videos I've seen the framerate is beautiful, and it's crystal clear, too. Where are you getting your info?? Also, all the textures are improved, especially Link.

All in all, I sincerely have no idea where you are getting all your notions from, and you will be missing out on one of the best games the 3DS will have to offer.



Dazza said:

@shinesprite I didn't notice any choppy framerate, blurriness or dodgy looking textures in the 3DS version of the game. It looks great, better than the VC version even.



King_Boo said:

as much as I've played ocarina and master quest, I would hope there's more new content than boss battle mode, and more changes than controls, graphics and mirroring, like more masks or multiple side quests.



Token_Girl said:

I'll definitely pick this up, even though I have the GCN disk, just so I won't feel bad about losing the ability to play MQ if the Wii2 loses GCN backwards compatibility. I may even get it before I get my 3DS!



MeloMan said:

Man, between this and Chrono Trigger, it's all calling me to get them again, and I HARDLY get remakes or re-releases of games I've already played. grumble grumble



Luffymcduck said:

"It looks far better than its predecessor and offers more content"

More content? Does this actually have something new (boss mode isn´t really anything new since it is just a mode that lets you to beat to original bosses)?



Weskerb said:

Back in 1998, OOT was my first ever day one purhase of a game, I drove all the way to Toys 'r' Us in Luton to find a copy. No shop in my county had any unreserved and the shop assistant at Toys 'r' Us told me they had 50 at the start of the day, I got there at 11 and they were down to single figures. Ahh, the good old days of Nintendo shortages.

This version will be much easier to find, partly in thanks to half the population seeming to think the 3DS wilI make them blind. Cheers Daily Mail.

I haven't played OOT since completing it the first time, so 13 years later when I buy it day 1 for the 3DS I'm hoping to it's going to be fresh as daisies again.



NintyMan said:

Besides the improved graphics and 3D, I like the idea of easy-to-use controls most of all. Now I won't have to keep pressing the start button just to equip an item. That included with the portability will make this game very accessible.



FluttershyGuy said:

Since I heard about a relatively unknown Grezzo working on this, I've had concerns about the game. Still getting it, but I'm not as enthusiastic as I was when I thought only Nintendo was working on it.

Why is Nintendo farming out so many of it's franchises these days? And an unknown developer working on this update of a game considered by some to be the greatest ever? Never dreamed they'd let anyone else do this. At least get Capcom! They've done justice to the Zelda franchise! Seems like big Mario titles is the only thing Nintendo does all the work on these days.

Hope I'm wrong in my concerns. Anyone else feel this way? BAD things can happen when Nintendo's IPs are put in the hands of others. Of couse, good can happen too.



RadioShadow said:

I think James was talking the N64 version when mentioning the choppy frame-rate. Not the 3DS version.

I also have that t-shirt James is wearing.



Punny said:

The Great Deku Tree? More like the Great Bonzai Tree!

Better than the original, eh? Does this mean this will be the NEW best game of all time?



Traxx said:

I dont know how you feel, but I couldnt care less about this remake. There were too many iterations and there is no way the 3DS control scheme can transfer the original "playing the ocarina" control scheme.

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