"It's still the same Zelda game players know and love, but slicker, portable and in 3D."
The launch of the 3DS draws near, and during PAX East, several games were available to play in public on the showroom floor. Among those playable titles was a demo of the highly anticipated 3DS version of The Legend of Zelda: The Ocarina of Time. The Nintendo booth was constantly packed with people wanting to play it, and the line to get in remained long all day. Fortunately, we at RPGFan were able to get some hands-on time with this enhanced port.
The Legend of Zelda: Ocarina of Time 3D's visuals are its most striking aspect. The graphics look much sharper and less blocky due to the higher resolution and graphical power of the 3DS. However, the biggest visual highlight isn't the newly added 3D, but the fact that the entire game runs at a consistent 60 frames per second. Looking back at the original, the graphical difference feels rather significant, as it makes the experience a lot more fluid. The 3D portion itself is quite nifty, although the effects are more subtle than significant; the top screen interface pops out a bit and the fields have a greater sense of depth. However, players will have to wait and see for themselves just how much better the game looks, because none of the screenshots are able to give the visuals justice.
The interface has also improved thanks to the convenience of two screens. The top screen is where all the action takes place, while the bottom screen enables quick access to key items such as the ocarina and allows players to quickly assign tools and select any of the menus without having to scroll through more menus. There is also a map that shows the entire area or current dungeon floor. The 3DS' built in gyroscope also gets utilized; when using ranged weapons such a slingshot, players can tilt the 3DS to align Link's shot. Unfortunately, the gyroscopic function clashes with the 3D visuals, since the 3D only works when viewed in a sweet spot. Thankfully, there is still the option to aim with just the analog stick.
Other than those changes, the rest of the game matches the original version. The Master Quest version (previously available as a pre-order gift with Wind Waker) will be playable, but there is no information available on whether this port will have any truly new content.
So far, The Legend of Zelda: Ocarina of Time 3D is shaping up to be a port which will easily surpass the original. It's still the same Zelda game players know and love, but slicker, portable, and in 3D. Unfortunately, there is still no concrete release date, and Nintendo representatives would only state that it will come sometime between launch day and E3. Until then, we will keep you posted on any new information.