It’s been a while since I’ve had an opportunity to purchase a retail game for the 3DS (since the system’s launch, to be exact). But I’ve been waiting for The Legend of Zelda: Ocarina of Time 3D.

Since its release in 1998, this particular “Adventure of Link” has been considered not only one of the best Zelda games of all time, but one of the best games of all time. Ever. Of course, there have been the questions of buying a 13 year old remake of game as a retail product, and not having it available as a download. Or does it carry the same weight as it once did. Do the graphics really make that much of a difference?

One of the main comments that I always made about the Nintendo 64 original is how much Hyrule feels like it is a set world, with actual depth, and height. The layout makes sense. If you were to somehow reconstruct the whole game as a scale model, it would be possible, without nonsensical areas that don’t fit. The effect now has changed. It feels different, and I’ll explain how.

Imagine that world with depth and width and height. But now it’s even more. It feels less of a game, and more of some kind of magical window that allows you to watch and interact with a living, breathing, real world. The effect is astounding, and I found myself genuinely moved by the experience.

Is the experience the same? Tell me, would you really want this game changed? Would you want that one moment you remembered so fondly taken away to make it “fresh” or “different”? When I heard that the soundtrack was the same as the Nintendo 64 version and not aurally updated to match the visuals, I was disappointed. Of course I wanted orchestration. But I also forgot how deeply ingrained and beautiful the N64 soundtrack was. Sure, there is a “What if?”, but the original music still makes its point.

As for “new”, motion control is used for the brief first-person segments, and it heavily improves accuracy. It’s you aiming, and not a cursor. The freedom of control makes a world of difference, and once you get used to it, it feels incredibly natural.

Is this the game you remember? Absolutely. Is this a quick and dirty cash-in? Not at all. It is a wondrous update to perhaps the greatest game Nintendo has ever created. When I mentioned “moments” a few posts back, this game is exactly what I meant by that. And in one day, it’s already worn down my battery charge twice.

In retrospect, Excitebike 3D was the first taste in the “old is new” philosophy Nintendo has used for its first generation of 3D titles, and is this is the result of how Nintendo will handle remakes and updates,
I’d be less opposed to them trotting out the same game with a new coat of paint. The update is respectful and… well, just play it.

I’m falling in love with this title for the third time. I can’t wait to see how the final boss battle will be handled.

As always, let me know your own thoughts on the matter.

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Filed under: 3ds gaminglegend of zeldanintendo gaming