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The Legend of Zelda: Ocarina of Time 3D preview


Nothing does a better job of upgrading a game's graphics than your memory. There's something about the PS1/N64 era of games that makes us remember them better than they actually looked. The 3DS version of Ocarina of Time is unquestionably a better looking game than its predecessor, with new textures, new character models, better lighting, and a new widescreen aspect ratio. So, why does Ocarina of Time still look so dated?

Although Nintendo has updated the visuals of the N64 classic, it hasn't changed enough to shake off the N64 origins -- and the new sheen of paint can't help it compete with the other games that were present at the 3DS preview event, like Resident Evil. The 3D effect also seems relatively muted, even with the toggle set to the maximum settings. Its shortcomings make me realize that I wouldn't mind seeing a more thorough remake, one that truly pushes the 3DS' graphical capabilities.

But for most, Zelda isn't about the visuals, and the gameplay is just as you remember it.

Gallery: The Legend of Zelda: Ocarina of Time 3D (1/9/11) | 5 Photos

It doesn't take long to transition from "Z-Targeting" to "L-Targeting," and you quickly figure out how the C-buttons are mapped to the rest of the face buttons. The touch screen inventory is, arguably, an improvement over the original, letting you quickly switch between items. (This should come in handy during the Water Temple!) However, the UI of the bottom screen still felt cluttered, and not really optimized for a touch interface. Imagine touching this while you're in the middle of a boss fight:

If you're looking for extras, it doesn't seem like Nintendo is bothering to add any with this port. So far, there's been no mention of any additional temples or content, other than the ability to use the motion sensor when you're in first-person mode. Is it cool? Yeah. But is it a practical feature? Not really. Nintendo has crafted a terrific analog stick for the 3DS, and I intend on using it.

Ocarina of Time 3D is as by-the-numbers of an update as Super Mario 64 DS. That's not particularly a bad thing; Ocarina of Time remains one of the most beloved games ever released. Still, it's hard not to wish for a little more effort and creativity to go into this opportunity.

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