The Legend of Zelda: Ocarina of Time 3D Review
Alrighty, here we are. The Legend of Zelda: Ocarina of Time 3D is, of course, the classic N64 title ported to the 3DS with a handful of little tweaks. To review the bare game itself would be redundant since the title's been around for over a decade, has had hundreds of reviews, and is widely recognized as a great game. So, I'll instead be focusing on how well the game has been accomplished as a port and how well the game has stood the test of time.
Starting with the simplest part to talk about, the game's soundtrack is entirely unchanged. All of the classic tunes are there with absolutely nothing changed about them for better or worse. The game had a nice soundtrack in the N64 days and it still sounds great today. It's hard to say if an altered soundtrack would have been preferable since so much of the game is based on sound that, had they altered the tracks, the classic feel may have been lost. As is, it's nothing to bring down nor up the game's score.
The biggest change with the game is on the visual front. The graphics have been redone in many ways; all the textures have been improved, all of the character models and animations have been redone and, of course, you can play the game in THREE DEE. This is, without a doubt, the best the game has ever looked, easily topping out the unofficial hi-resolution texture hack for the N64 rom. However, it seems like Grezzo, the company in charge of the port, could have done a bit more. Most of the geometry on the terrain is unchanged; there are some noticeable changes (some fences are no longer flat planes with textures but actually modeled, and the outside of Ganon's Castle has received a pretty impressive update) but for the most part, the world is just as jagged as ever.
And the gameplay. Obviously, the gameplay is mostly unchanged and it most certainly has stood the test of time. It's still ever bit as fun as it was way back when. Some minor updates and changes have been included. Link no longer makes a short, stopping pause after he rolls, allowing you to constantly roll in a continuous, fluid motion. I could be wrong about this but I'm nearly certain that Link also climbs ladders and vines faster than he did on the N64 version.
Certain small improvements in the control scheme are present as well, with much emphasis on a refined menu system. The menu is now entirely on the touch screen which allows for quicker access to equipment and tools. Additionally, the special boots are no longer in the equipment subscreen and are now considered tools, much like how they were treated in Wind Waker and Twilight Princess. This especially makes the Water Temple less tedious as it's no longer required to pause the game to put on or take off the Iron Boots.
The big changes in the 3DS version for the gameplay come from two new-ish game modes. To start, we have the 'Master Quest', a second run through the game with altered dungeon layouts and paths as well as stronger enemies. I've nearly completed Master Quest and it most certainly is more difficult than the standard game. Unfortunately, you must play through the standard game before Master Quest even becomes an option which seasoned players might find very tedious. Of course, Master Quest isn't entirely new; it's been released on the Gamecube in the past. The only difference in the 3DS Master Quest is that Hyrule is a mirror image of itself when compared with the standard game or the previous Master Quest release.
The second new game mode, which is actually entirely new for the 3DS version, is the Boss Challenge mode. Quite simply, you can return to Link's home in Kokiri forest and go through a marathon of the game's boss battles. Nothing revolutionary but a nice feature to have.
There some very sparse and subtle dialogue changes as well. The considerable ones include two new statements Navi may make at certain times. She will occasionally recommend taking a break if you've been playing for an extended period of time. As well, if you seem to be moving around in a dungeon but not making progress, she will suggest finding a 'Hint Stone', another new feature in the 3DS version; you enter these stones to view 'Hint Movies' meant to help you along. I never used any of these myself so I can't vouch for how helpful they actually are. They are also totally absent in the Master Quest mode.
The only other change in dialogue I've noticed is something extremely inconsequential. In Kakariko Village, when you return all of Anju's cuccos to her and talk to her, in the N64 game she mentions she's giving you something "made of fine glass". The first reward you get is a bottle and from then on, she gives you rupees. In the 3DS version, her statement is changed to define the reward as "sparkly and pretty", likely because rupees are gemstones and not made of glass.
Ultimately, this is probably the best gaming experience on the 3DS as of yet and, even after all these years, it's still a fantastic game. Some graphics have been improved more than others and, while we should have been able to get a larger improvement, it still looks very pretty. If you're among those who have played through both the N64 original and Master Quest multiple times, then this probably isn't worth a purchase to you, especially if you already actually own those other versions of the game. Myself, I never owned Ocarina of Time up until the 3DS version, my brother and I just rented it countless times when it first came out. I've also never beaten Master Quest (though that's soon to change). If you're anything like me, the game is more than worth owning.