The Legend of Zelda: Ocarina of Time Review
This is a game that is considered one of the best, if not the best, game of all time. With the release of Zelda: OoT 3d coming soon I thought it would be a good idea to review the classic.
Primitive by today’s standards, but looked great for the time. There is great use of color, and the game has a very strong artistic design. The characters are surprisingly expressive at times, and everything animates pretty smoothly. There is the occasional frame rate hitch, but it really isn’t a big deal. It doesn’t look as good as Majora’s mask, but still looks great.
There are some great sound effects in the game. From swinging your sword, to slaying an enemy, to galloping across Hyrule Field, this game hits all the right notes in the sound department. However, the real reason you’ll want to play this game full blast is for the music. This game easily has one of the best soundtracks ever featured in a game. Everything just sounds like it belongs exactly where it is. From the soothing, peaceful melodies of Zora’s Domain, to the absolutely epic and exciting Gerudo Valley, everything sounds amazing. The composers really pulled out all of the stops for this game, and it shows. Really, the only other games I’ve heard that come close to rivaling this game’s music is Majora’s Mask, Wind Waker and Super Smash Brothers Brawl.
It starts off with a young boy named Link waking up from a bad dream about a dark figure taking over Hyrule. It turns out, this boy is Link, and he’s supposedly a Kokiri, people who live in Kokiri forest under the watch of the Great Deku Tree and never age. After performing some simple tasks and finding a sword and shield, he goes inside the Deku Tree to get rid of evil inside of it. I won’t really go any farther, but I will say, at its core, this game is just another save the world story. However, there are many interesting twists, such as discovering more about Link’s background, and the revelation of a certain character’s true identity. There is also something about the game that makes it a deeply personal story, and gives it a lot of personality. It’s definitely one of the better stories in games.
It starts out with you finding Rupees and a sword. To find the sword, you must avoid a rolling boulder in a maze. And you must buy the shield. This eases you into the game nicely, and introduces you to the games mechanics. After that, you go into the Great Deku Tree, and face your first dungeon. The basic design of the game is explore overworld, find someone with a problem, solve their problem, go into the next dungeon. Usually, the pre dungeon challenges are entertaining, and help flesh out the overworld.
The overworld is fairly sizeable in this game. There is Hyrule Field, the “hub”, and a few different locations for you to go to. They are all entertaining and have a personality all their own.
The dungeons are well designed and many in this game. There are 2 that actually take place inside a living creature, which is a nice change of pace. Overall, I believe there are 9 dungeons, each of which takes a few hours to complete. They all have a unique challenge, like finding a freeing imprisoned Gorons, or, probably the most famous one, raising and lowering water levels in order to progress. There are some really tricky puzzles in this game, and it’s very satisfying to figure them all out. There’s even one where you must go to it at 2 different time periods in order to complete it, which is a very nice twist.
Through methods I won’t say here(in case you’re one of the few people who don’t know anything about this game) Link can travel forward in time several years to adult age. A lot changes in Hyrule in 7 years. There are challenges and secrets to discover in each time period, which is pretty neat. Although, the Links from both time periods control and play in pretty much the same way, but young Link generally has less damaging equipment. However, the changing thing really fits well with the story, and adds to it a lot.
There are several minigames for you to partake in, and they are fun diversions. There are things like shooting galleries, obstacle courses, a chance game and even an interesting take on bowling. They drain money fast, but that’s good, because this game falls into the same trap as many other Zeldas: lack of things to spend your money on.
There is also a good amount of sidequests in this game, though not as many as in MM or Wind Waker. Most involve the minigames, but there are a few that stand out. For instance, in the future, you have to race a greedy man to win a horse, but also save a ranch from his grubby hands. The horse, Epona is incredibly useful, especially for the extensive trading sequence that is available. Also, this is the game that introduced future masks in the series (namely Majora’s Mask) like the Mask of Truth, Goron Mask, and a few that weren’t in MM. There is also a few sidequests involving these.
The game should take you around 20- 25 hours to beat on your first runthrough. However, it just screams minimalist three heart runthrough, and other interesting challenges that the designers probably didn’t intend. For instance, you can go to some of the dungeons out of order, if you so choose. I, myself, have replayed it 2 or 3 times, and it remains fun to this very day.
There are also many secret grottoes to discover. While, most of the time, they just contain rupees or something similar, there is a certain satisfaction that comes from finding them, and if you are someone who likes to find every secret, this should keep you busy.
That’s not to say it’s flawless. For one, it is fairly easy. There are a few challenging bosses (the Forest Temple leaps to mind) but, if you’re careful, you should be able to make it through the game without too much trouble. It is more challenging than, say, Twilight Princess, but it’s nowhere near as hard as I remember. Also, the controls for jumping over a fence with your horse could be improved upon. You have to approach the fence head on, otherwise the horse will balk and stop moving.
However, these are minor complaints in what is, all in all, an excellent game.
OoT is one of those rare games that feels like it has a certain sense of magic to it. (I think the series stopped having that feeling after Wind Waker.) The story is intensely emotional, the graphics are good, and the music is pretty much perfect. The gameplay also holds up very well today. If you are one of the few individuals who, by some strange twist of fate, has heard of the game, but never played it, I highly recommend doing so. It’s definitely one of the top 10 greatest games. It is a game that brings back a certain nostalgia that most games don't have, so even if you have played it many times its still fun to go back to.
You probably already own it, but if you don't you can buy it on amazon for $15 which is one older game that is definitely worth the price.(See link below)