This year marks the 30th anniversary of The Legend of Zelda franchise, a franchise that was released on February 21, 1986, and reborn several times on different systems to different generations of gamers. In 2017 Nintendo has promised us an iteration of the franchise that will reinvent what it a Zelda game is by incorporating many of the open world gaming designs we’ve seen around for years
Even though its integrating many modern game mechanics, The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild is being regarded by many as a return to form for the series. I’m as excited as any fanboy for it’s release (maybe even moreso). I also don’t think it’s going to beat the biggest reinvention for the franchise, or any other game franchise for that matter. That title goes to The Legend of Zelda: Ocarina of Time. Playing it through again (for the fifth time maybe) hasn’t lessened that opinion.
- The gameplay hasn’t changed, and I mean that almost literally. How you control Link hasn’t changed much in the many iterations of 3D Zelda games since it’s release. Sure, they’ve been refined, but I can go back to Ocarina of Time and it’s as if my reflexes never dulled for Ocarina’s Link.
- The warp points, while convenient, always seem just a tad too far from where I actually need them to be. It makes particular side-quests a little more tedious.
- Ocarina of Time features a lot of now archaic game design choices, but for the time they were released they were novel. Those choices became ubiquitous. Games in that era used Ocarina of Time as the template for creating adventure games. Sure, you’ll notice how old some of the mechanics feel by modern standards. But when you couple those with the awe and nostalgia, you tend to be forgiving.
- “Looks just as good as I remember” is something I hear a lot when people play the 3DS version of Ocarina of Time, which is as accurate a statement as any about it’s graphics. Nintendo did a great job polishing up textures, but a lot of the old geometry remains.
- The notorious Water Temple is not nearly as bad as I remembered... It’s still annoying, but mostly because every time you step on a button to change the water level it adds five seconds to play the jingle and the the camera pans around Link as he spins around looking at nothing in particular. Something that needs to be improved upon in the world of Hyrule is buttons.
- Hyrule Field is big! For some reason I remember it being more full, but replaying it I find areas that have no points of meaningful interest. Sure, it’s not Twilight Princess big, but it’s still big.
Ocarina of Time, along with other greats like Mario 64 and Final Fantasy VII, will always be one of the crown jewel in gaming history. They are the sacred cows of our gaming religion, and for good reason. They are the foundations of modern game design, and Ocarina of Time 3D shows us that despite some aging mechanics, that solid foundation. It’s always a pleasure to revisit.
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JpSr388 is a casual(ish) gaymer, hardcore Nintendo fan, designer & writer. He writes about what he cares about, and is always good for some opinions. Find his sexy ass on Twitter here. Or keep on the lookout for more editorial, QuickDraws, Hot Takes and reviews here.