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The Legend of Zelda: Ocarina of Time 3D preview: Ageless beauty


Imagine you're 30 years old -- heck, imagine you're 40. You're single, looking up old flames on Facebook and you start talking to an old mate, one that always had a special place in your heart. You reconnect and meet up for coffee -- at first glance, you're taken aback by how beautiful this person is. Time hasn't seemed to touch them one bit. In fact, they look better than the last time you saw them.

This is the exact feeling I had while playing The Legend of Zelda: Ocarina of Time 3D on the 3DS earlier this week. I didn't expect to be blown away, but after going inside the Deku Tree, stomping around the Hyrule Fields and witnessing the new, lush palette of colors as the day cycle progressed from dawn to dusk, that old love stirred again.

Gallery: The Legend of Zelda: Ocarina of Time 3D (4/13/11) | 19 Photos

Developer Grezzo (Line Attack Heroes) has implemented a noticeable overhaul of the graphics. Updated character models, anti-aliasing, higher-resolution textures and a smooth, consistent framerate (whether 3D is turned on and off) all represent major improvements over earlier versions of the game.

Seeing it side-by-side with the GameCube port made some changes seem even more dramatic. The 3DS version of Hyrule looked more vibrant and alive, with more complex building models and livelier townsfolk giving the impression of an actual castle town, as opposed to the barren, lifeless square encountered before.

The titular 3D effect was pretty subtle: moving models such as enemies, their projectiles and Link stand out, but the environments and the rest don't really pop that much. In the end, I think the less pronounced effect ends up doing right by the game. I didn't have to shift the device at all to try and get the full effect, nor did I feel any strain on my eyes from the prolonged play.

I could have done without some of the new 3DS additions, however. A new aiming system lets you tilt the system to adjust the slingshot, but it made me miss a couple shots when first lining up my targets. It seemed a bit too sensitive for my taste and, luckily, could be disabled.

Ocarina of Time's menus have been relegated to the touch-screen below, giving players quick and easy access to the inventory, song list and anything else that's pertinent. Outside of the analog nub (which felt great), this is the single biggest change to the way the game plays. In situations where accessing items or changing gear quickly is paramount, though it's a bit daunting how much clutter there is at first. After an hour with the game, I was using the touch-screen like a champ; tap this, equip that, what a professional.

The camera is also a bit different in the 3DS game. Quickly tapping the L trigger will orient the camera behind Link, and a "view" button on the touch-screen quickly puts you into first-person mode. While in first-person, you can move the camera around with the analog nub or through use of the gyroscope.

In some ways, Ocarina of Time is exactly how I remember it. It's considered by many to be the best game of all time, and here on the 3DS, with updated graphics and new widescreen presentation, it's got the added benefit of being much easier on the eyes.

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