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Ocarina of Time “beautifully remade” for 3DS – Keza goes hands-on

Monday, 24th January 2011 13:20 GMT By Keza Macdonald

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My first experience with the 3DS was in July, back at Nintendo’s UK showcase at the top of a very tall building on the Thames. It was a landmark moment; I’ve not felt like I did when I turned up that 3D slider for the first time since my introduction to the original iPhone touchscreen. It’s a moment where technology feels like magic.

The second time I laid hands on a 3DS, circumstances were rather less favourable. As Street Fighter legend Yoshinori Ono so elegantly put it, I was in a giant, cold shed in the middle of nowhere. Like everyone else, I’d been up since stupid o’clock in the morning and had been forced to sit through a press conference in which nothing was announced for fifty minutes. I had to fight with about 1,300 other people in order to get hands-on time with anything. But seeing one of my favourite games beautifully remade in 3D honestly made it worth the pain.

I’m hardly alone in my love for this series, nor am I under any illusions – Nintendo could throw Zelda fans practically anything and we’d still lap it up. Happily, The Legend of Zelda: Ocarina of Time 3D isn’t the glorified tech-demo re-release that it could so easily be. It isn’t a straight port, nor an emulated ROM like the Master Quest versions for the Gamecube. It’s a real remake, updated with better touch-screen controls and given a makeover that goes beyond the purely superficial.

The art style has been redone in Skyward Sword-reminiscent colours, doing away with the N64′s sharp polygons and strange, angular landscapes, but it’s still true its source. Although Ocarina of Time’s original artistic direction was partly the result of restrictive technology, it still had an abstract beauty that this remake thankfully preserves. It looks much, much better without betraying the original stylistic vision.

There are three things that make the 3DS the ideal platform for an OOT remake in my eyes: the circle pad, the touch screen and, naturally, the 3D. A DS version would have needed a radical overhaul to accommodate the game on a D-Pad – Super Mario 64 managed it admirably, but not everybody got on with that thumbstrap, and its conspicuous absence from subsequent Nintendo titles suggests that even the creators knew that it wasn’t the most brilliant idea. Simultaneously, the touch screen allows for subtle, natural-feeling improvements to things like item selection.

The 3D, meanwhile, lets you see the game with new eyes, even if they’re things you’ve seen a hundred times before – like that iconic intro sequence where Link and Epona ride across the vast expanse of Hyrule Field as the dawn sun rises in the background, which, thanks to the 3D effect, is as strikingly beautiful this time around as it was twelve years ago. God, that intro sequence was a wonderful thing. If you’re ever suffering from gaming ennui, put this on and see if it doesn’t make you feel better.

The demo offers three five-minute slices from early in the game: exploring and socialising in Link’s native Kokiri Forest; the beginning of the first dungeon, Inside the Deku Tree; and a fight with that dungeon’s boss, the one-eyed tarantula-like Gohma. They’ve been selected because they show off the 3D in different ways – in the forest, sparkly particles float around in the air in front of and behind Link as he moves around. Text, the map and button prompts are all static in the foreground whilst the forest itself stretches out ahead of you.

Navi the fairy flies in and out of the screen, circling people and things and enemies of interest (she doesn’t seem to shout ‘HEY! Listen!’ with quite such irritating frequency, but then it’s difficult to hear the game that well in a room full of so many people). In a more dangerous place, the Deku Tree, the 3D makes Deku Baba plants lunge out towards you or shrink away from your sword. Z-targeting is now mapped to the R-button, and it’s still one of the best combat systems in gaming.

This first dungeon is as familiar as the back of my hand, and nothing much has changed. Little Link is still captivating in his childishness, opening small chests with a little kick and plunging head-first into the bigger ones to emerge with a vital trinket – another beautiful showcase moment for the 3D effect. After a few minutes, the Catapult makes his first appearance – in first-person, you can aim at wall-crawling Skullwalltulas by tilting the console around, using the gyroscope. Here, the sense of depth makes a tangible improvement to the actual gameplay.

The touch screen, too, improves things noticeably. In the first dungeon, there aren’t really enough different items to choose from for the touch-screen to be essential, but later on it’ll make life so much easier. As Eiji Aonuma famously mentioned, being able to switch in and out of the Iron Boots without going through two menus in the Water Temple will remove one of the N64 version’s biggest game-design frustrations.

It was never really in doubt that OOT 3D would be a faithful and beautiful remake of one of the best games ever made. There are cosmetic and interface improvements, but remarkably, the game itself still feels modern, and the flawless design philosophy at its heart doesn’t need improving. Ocarina of Time is now twelve years old; a huge portion of the 3DS’ audience will never have played it before, and this will doubtless introduce the game to a new generation of enraptured new Nintendo fans.

But the question for the rest of us is, would you pay £40 for a game you’ve already played? I would, obviously, because it’s this game, and Zelda is the most important series in the world to me (I’ve got the tattoo to prove it), but I’m sure not everyone would. Beyond the initial novelty of the 3D – which shouldn’t be underestimated – there’s nothing new here, and though there’s no shame in nostalgia, Nintendo must not rely on remakes for killer apps. Still, at the very least, the quality of this remake makes me very, very excited about the potential for an entirely new 3DS Zelda.

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30 Comments

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  1. chronoss2

    Everytime I buy a Nintendo console it’s for Zelda!!! Now i’m getting the 3DS for Ocarina of Time, my second best Zelda game after Zelda 3. It looks good, and the 3D must be a great addition.

    #1 4 years ago
  2. theevilaires

    Talk about milking franchises holy cow…..and I thought m$ was bad with halo.

    #2 4 years ago
  3. StolenGlory

    @2

    Nintendo were milking cows before Microsoft even stepped onto the farm :)

    #3 4 years ago
  4. Erthazus

    @2 and Sony milking their cows in HD?

    Hmmmmmmmmm… and what?

    #4 4 years ago
  5. theevilaires

    @3 +1
    @4 -2 and shut up. Ocarina of time has been re made 3 times already.

    #5 4 years ago
  6. OrbitMonkey

    @2 & 3 Either of you guys have a problem with a MGS Trilogy HD release? No? Didn’t think so.

    #6 4 years ago
  7. Dannybuoy

    I love this game. Like love it. It changed my life when I was younger. I remember buying this game and catching a really nasty flu. I was in bed for days, sweating and aching. All the while I played this game pretty much non stop during that time. A testament to how incredible it is. But will I want to play it on a small screen? Even in 3D? Probably not. Very tempting though.

    #7 4 years ago
  8. freedoms_stain

    I gave Wind Waker a waz on the Wii this weekend, has to be said, looked fantastic on a 40″ hdtv. The cell shaded graphics upscale nicely.

    I know that had little bearing on the matter ay hand, but I felt like sharing :p

    #8 4 years ago
  9. StolenGlory

    @6

    I don’t have a problem with it, because it hasn’t been remade 3 times already.

    Simples :)

    #9 4 years ago
  10. Callum

    Hmm, don’t like the sound of that ’tilt the controller’ mechanic for the sling shot…I’m not a fan of mechanics that make me look like a dick on trains lol.

    One mario game had a mechanic where you had to blow into the microphone to make bowser breathe fire…fuck doing that in public lol…and the worst part was there was no secondary option! Sure, for kids or when your at home it’s a laugh to breathe virtual fire, but give me a push button option aswell please.

    #10 4 years ago
  11. Callum

    @2 Troll more TEA!

    #11 4 years ago
  12. G1GAHURTZ

    Sorry, but I can’t be bothered to play this game on THREE different consoles.

    #12 4 years ago
  13. OrbitMonkey

    @9 3 or 300 what’s the problem? If it was on the same console I could maybe see you point, but its been remade for 3 different consoles. You might as well be moaning that a certain album has been released on vinyl, cd & mp3.

    #13 4 years ago
  14. G1GAHURTZ

    The problem is that it’s a puzzle based rpg.

    What’s the point of playing a puzzle based rpg when you know every single puzzle and every single hidden item location?

    Even reading the dialogue becomes boring, because you know the whole story from beginning to end.

    #14 4 years ago
  15. OrbitMonkey

    @14 So your problem is, that your buying the SAME game on various formats & expecting something DIFFERENT? Interesting o_O

    #15 4 years ago
  16. frostquake

    Copy and Paste, and reiterate Nintendo Fanboy..LOL..This copy and paste was done from another um, Praise writing Keza did..LOL ;)

    Wondering if this reporting was a piece of Editorial reporting or just an OP Piece? OlderGamer, I think we found out Nintendo Fanboy? Fangirl? Sorry I don’t know Keza’s orientation?

    Keza said:

    “Face Raiders, aside from having the best name of any game ever”

    “I think Face Raiders is brilliant”

    “astonishing piece of hardware”

    “serves its function with panache”

    Words Like Best Ever, Brilliant, Astonishing, Panache…all those things come off to me as someone who is a Fanboy of what ever they are describing. I would suggest you just report what it does, and let others make up their own mind what they think about it, or your “reporting” will be seriously discounted. That’s just my opinion, which really doesn’t matter..LOL.

    Here you say, “It was never really in doubt that OOT 3D would be a faithful and beautiful remake of one of the best games ever made.”

    And also here you say, “Zelda is the most important series in the world to me (I’ve got the tattoo to prove it)”

    Best Game Ever Made, Most important and the tattoo to prove it..WOW…Now I know you are a Nintendo Fanboy…OlderGamer should be happy now, he has someone to debate against…LOL

    #16 4 years ago
  17. LOLshock94

    sony keeps milking the playstation never mind metal gear

    #17 4 years ago
  18. OlderGamer

    lol you gotta love it!

    I remember the first fanboys, it was like Atari or CollecoVision?

    Now it seems like samething PS3 vs XB360. Most Nintendo fans are either 12 or in hiding. Or I gues to be fair, married women that think Wii Fit is a video game that will actualy get them back in shape.

    As for this game, its like G1GA said. The game is more adventure puzzle then RPG, it plays exactly the same each and everytime, and it has been released and rereleased.

    A deffo pass unless you have a kid that has never experienced the game before.

    But I am reminded of a Nintendo rep saying that the reson they reboot franchises is that every year million of childern turn 12 for the very first time.

    #18 4 years ago
  19. G1GAHURTZ

    @15:

    No.

    The problem is that whereas Nintendo used to offer me some of the best gaming hours I’ve ever had, they seem to be content with offering me the exact same thing that they offered me over a decade ago.

    Which is exactly why I WON’T be playing the game on different formats, as my original comment clearly says.

    #19 4 years ago
  20. DaMan

    truly great games never get boring, it will be nice to replay this on 3DS.

    also, MGS has been remade on GCN, and released on Windows, NGage and is now coming out as an er, part of a backwards compatibility patch.

    #20 4 years ago
  21. SOMI

    One of the worst game series ever.

    #21 4 years ago
  22. lexph3re

    Difference between mgs remake and zelda remake. Mgs is not a 1st party game for sony. Konami owns them and choose to release it on THEIR platform of choice. Zelda is a first party developed game and chooses to “remake” their games on the SAME consoles of choice I.e anything nintendo.

    So what have we learned? Mgs is milked amoungst several consoles such as nintendo, gameboy, psp, psx,xbox, pc, ps2, and ps3.

    Where zelda is milked soley on nintendo,gameboy,snes,n64, advance, ds, 3ds, gamecube, and wii

    #22 4 years ago
  23. DaMan

    thanks, captain. just because one had a Gameboy doesn’t mean he also owned a GCN.

    #23 4 years ago
  24. lexph3re

    True and also holds the fact that out of a population of 365mil not even 10 percent are actually console owners. These games are only boring to the mainstream hardcore gamers that are now a minority in the gaming industry.

    These games that are old to us are brand new to our predecessors. And I don’t know about you guys but I rather these noob cod gamers play a beautifully polished mgs on ps3 or a beautifully polished zelda on 3ds then the old blocky versions that are barely playable from our childhood.

    Also, stating what I said doesn’t mean we have to settle for these games. We have been supporting the gaming industry for far to long to not get new innovative games.

    #24 4 years ago
  25. Michael O’Connor

    It’s perfectly okay to milk a cow when the cow (OoC in this instance) is a prized heffer.

    When the cow is an old bovine who hasn’t produced good milk in years (God of War) they are better off left in the barn, to rest out their days.

    #25 4 years ago
  26. theevilaires

    O’Connor O’Please shut the fuck up. You are the biggest attention whore ever on this site. GO AWAY!

    #26 4 years ago
  27. Isuru86

    @25 – I hope Kratos cuts you a new asshole…

    #27 4 years ago
  28. OrbitMonkey

    @26 Pot calling a kettle black? :D
    Seriously though, if a company wants to milk a franchise, so what? YOU don’t have to buy it. Let’s change medium & use movies for a example. I loved Star Wars the original trilogy & was pumped when Lucas announced he was making 1,2 & 3. Was fucking horrified at the crap they turned out to be D:
    But guys who were new to the the whole Star Wars thing loved them… Christ, even Jar Jar *shudder*
    Point is games are not sacrosant, just cuz you played the origional on whatever console, doesn’t mean it shouldn’t be remade on the next gen. These remake are for the NEW gamers.

    #28 4 years ago
  29. Callum

    ^^ got it in one. The remakes aren’t made for people who have played it all before…(unless of course, you got a tattoo of it…) it’s for all the NEW 12 year old kids who are searching around for a game to inspire them (and maybe even get a tattoo of)

    I will play it at some point, just to revisit a world that once kept me fascinated for the best part of 3 months.

    #29 4 years ago
  30. Michael O’Connor

    @27 You kiss your momma with that mouth, sonny?

    #30 4 years ago