The Legend of Zelda: Ocarina of Time 3D Review

Platform: 3DS
Originally Reviewed: 2011

The time for disappointment at the 3DS’ launch line up is gone. The anticipation is over and the first mandatory title for the console is here. Not only is this game the reason that some gamers bought a 3DS, it’s the reason that some gamers play games at all.

No bones will be made about this. This is a review of what is widely considered to be the greatest game ever made. Nostalgia will come into it, but that’s more than half the reason Ocarina of Time has been remade in the first place. Nintendo want older fans to be able to relive and enjoy gaming’s finest hour as it is brought into the modern age looking and playing better than ever, as well as recruiting new fans to discover a gaming classic.

Everyone knows the story of Zelda by now. Even if you’ve never played this particular game, it’s your simple ‘against all odds’ struggle of a hero trying to defeat evil, save the world and save the princess. But Ocarina has much more to it than this simple premise. The time travelling mechanic, numerous side quests and the host of whimsical characters emit grandeur, emotion and charm that few developers other than Nintendo have ever managed to achieve.

In remaking the game, Nintendo gave developing duties to Grezzo, who did an excellent job in producing possibly the greatest remake ever seen. For the most part the game looks fantastic, both in 2D and 3D. The 2D graphics are sharp and the new character models are superb and full of expression and emotion. Even the towns and shops now have depth and feel more alive and bustling than ever. Some of the enemies could have used a little more work, but there are no real graphical problems.

The 3D elements are brilliantly implemented into a game that, let’s not forget, was released in 1998 and was never designed with this feature in mind. As such, the 3D is not overpowering and all-consuming, but does a great job of giving real depth to the world and throwing in those little touches of magic that you would expect from Nintendo. The first time you walk through the grass in Kokiri village and Link kicks up small blades of green out of the screen at you, you know they’ve pulled it off.

Developed in a bygone age before dual analogue sticks, the 3DS hardware is the perfect partner for Ocarina of Time. The game handles as well as it always did thanks to the genius of its original design. Ocarina of Time revolutionised third person combat with its Z-targeting (now L-targeting) and this still works brilliantly today. The ability to use the touch screen for inventory and map viewing is precisely what was needed to freshen up the somewhat annoying pause-heavy nature of the original. It’s unobtrusive and totally natural.

The entire structure of the game is completely intact, but the lovely new visuals and 3D make it feel new and wondrous all over again. The sprawling plains of Hyrule Field, the vast blues of Lake Hylia and the Majesty of Hyrule Castle look beautiful. It feels almost as if this game looks the way you’ve always pictured it in your memory. No longer will going back to this favourite older title leave the gamer with that feeling of ‘did it really look like this?’

Even for its time, Ocarina was a massive game. There’s so much to do and so much to explore. Whether it’s ploughing through the ingenious dungeons solving mind-bending puzzles and fighting gigantic bosses, roaming the huge game map for Skultullas and heart pieces, or simply wasting hours on the fantastic fishing mini game, Ocarina is a constant source of excitement and discovery.

Ocarina’s main quest is a joy to behold, taking you across all types of environments like huge deserts, fiery mountains, bustling villages, woodland mazes, icy caverns and even the innards of a giant fish. The locations are so wonderfully varied and beautifully designed. Nintendo simply don’t do Zelda in half measures and the game never drags or feels like a chore. You’re constantly on the move meeting new characters, discovering new items and ocarina songs, or even playing one of the huge number of challenging mini games.

On top of that, the game has the distinct element to its side quests that they all actually involve doing something. How often do modern action adventure games simply throw in boring and needless fetch quests? Even simply collecting heart pieces will involve all sorts of trials and tribulations using Link’s entire arsenal, and some side quests even require the manipulation of time using the Link’s ability to travel back and forth as he pleases. It’s still refreshing to see a company have so many wonderful ideas crammed into one amazing title.

Ocarina of Time 3D was never going to be anything but astounding. It’s a beautifully spruced up, mechanically improved remake of the greatest game of all time. Fans of the title now get to relive this incredible, groundbreaking title all over again in a new form that improves on the original in every way. It’s the perfect remake that does everything your nostalgia glands could want to keep the game feeling new whilst retaining its familiarity.

New gamers brought up on the more realistic, blood soaked FPS market may well struggle to understand the hype around the game, but that is a real shame indicative of the stagnant, easy to please, market we see today. For there is no other game, or even franchise, like Zelda. An epic tale of courage, discovery and adventure that enraptured gamers and inspired developers in so many ways. Any self-respecting gamer needs to experience this title, and this superb remake means there’s never been a better time to do so.

Alex Aldridge


The new character models are brimming with emotion and expression and the magnificent game world has never looked so sharp and detailed. The 3D is also superb.



Groundbreaking in ’98 and still an absolute joy today. Sword fighting, puzzles, exploration, huge bosses and time travel combine to create a title that never drags or becomes a chore. Hell, even the fishing is amazing.



Almighty evil is taken down by a courageous, time travelling, ocarina playing, monster slaying hero. Whimsical characters, enchanting music and a huge and varied game map help get this classic and familiar tale across in that magical way only Nintendo can.



I’m still playing a 1998 game now aren’t I? Ocarina is as timeless as they come, and the addition of the harder master quest and boss fight modes mean there’s plenty to do after you’ve completed the epic main quest and all its numerous and enjoyable side quests.



It’s the greatest game of all time! Pay whatever you must! The beautiful new graphics and improved mechanics make this an utterly essential purchase for any old fans of the series and especially those who own a 3DS.



What more is there to say? This is simply the greatest game of all time remade in spectacular fashion. It’s a remake that does everything older fans would want and makes the game feel fresh enough for new gamers to discover a title that changed gaming forever. As essential as they come.




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