When? 17 June 2011
What’s it all about? Well, if you don’t know what The Legend of Zelda: Ocarina of Time 3D is all about then chances are you won’t reach the end of this sentence before realising your mistake and moving on elsewhere (though what you Googled to come here in the first place escapes me).
Ocarina of Time is probably the most famous game featuring what is probably gaming’s second most famous son (sorry Link but a certain moustachioed plumber beats you to that accolade). This 3DS version takes that classic adventure and makes it, well, 3D; while simultaneously smoothing out those 1998 N64 polygons and adding in some accelerometer functions, allowing you to adjust Link’s field of vision — and indeed his arrow aiming — by simply moving the 3DS itself.
In the film world however, the act of taking an existing film and clearing up the image, enhancing the sound and so on is known as remastering, and that’s exactly what Ocarina 3D is, a remastering of a classic work. Not a remake as some might claim; surely a remake involves a completely doing over? See Metal Gear Sold: The Twin Snakes for an example of that.
Having just come back from some hands-on of the game at the final UK preview event before launch I find myself left in two minds. On one hand, there’s absolutely no doubting that this is an absolute classic of the gaming world — its the Citizen Kane as it were. I mean, who can’t remember watching that intro of Link galloping over the Hyrule plains atop Epona without feeling a little pride for the gaming industry and its artistic merits?
On the other hand however, I find myself wishing that this was a brand new Zelda, or at least a remake — a proper remake mind you — of a Zelda game which truly deserves some tender loving care. I’m thinking A Link to the Past as it’s my favourite, though it has to be said that Link’s Game Boy and Game Boy Advance outings shouldn’t be overlooked either.
What is certain however is that the remastering certainly makes the game that little more playable. The touchscreen is much more intuitive when it comes to selecting Link’s gadgets in a hurry, the accelerometer-aided vision movement works well (even if moving the 3DS can spoil the 3D effect due to the console’s oft-debated acute viewing angles), and the graphical facelift is a big step beyond the grainy (relatively speaking) visuals of the N64 version. Though I’d have actually liked to have seen Nintendo really push their hardware and throw dynamic shadows and the like into the mix…
Worth the wait? If you have a 3DS and have never played this particular Zelda then you should be chomping at the bit to grab a copy. On the other hand, if you have played the game, either on N64 or Wii (via the Wii Store) you’ve got more of a decision to make. For reviewers this will be a tough one to take a line on too, I mean it’s the best game ever near enough, but will this version offer sufficient reason to make it a re-release worth the £39.99 price tag? Time (pardon the pun) will tell.