Wednesday, August 10, 2011

Now and Then Review: The Legend of Zelda: Ocarina of Time

Ocarina of Time – A Then and Now review

A quick description: Then and Now reviews are going to be 2 brief reviews of the same game. Older games that I played long ago and have replayed within the past year. The “Then” review will be what I thought of the game the first time I played it, to the best of my memory, of course. The “Now” review will obviously be what I think of it now. I'm going to go easy on graphics and some sounds due to obvious technological differences.

THEN: I picked this game up when it was brand new. Even had the limited gold cartridge. This game, for me, is what defined 3D games. I played Mario 64 first, but this is the one that I felt really stood out. This game played like a list of things I wanted in a game. The graphics were beautiful for its time and the music was perfect. The environments were laid out pretty well, although there were some weird places you could stand that would really mess with the game. That was to be expected from a first gen 3D exploration game though. Level design is exactly what I'd expect from a Zelda game. The dungeons were creative, unique and challenging. A lot of people hate on the Water Dungeon, but I didn't really find it that hard. It was decently challenging, but I didn't feel that it warranted the complaints I would always hear about it, but maybe I was just that awesome at the game. Doubt that though. The story was similar to the previous installments, but altered enough to be interesting. Especially with the whole time travel thing. It was a great story that kept me coming back for more until I had beat the game twice and fully understood everything it had to offer. Gameplay was solid. Combat is accurate and fast paced, but controllable. The only combat I have a problem with isn't exclusive to this game, or even the series. Boss fights. Boss fights that are very predictable and impossible to lose once you memorize an attack pattern have always bothered me. Bosses don't need to always be filled with gimmicks. Having an all out sword dual with Ganondorf would have been better than all the reflecting projectiles and hitting certain weak points that bosses are plagued with in these types of games. It was a truly epic game that defined a genre though. Then: 10/10.

NOW: I dug out some old games a while ago and found my old OoT disc with the Master Quest included for the GameCube. I eventually decided to pop the game into the Wii and play through it. The regular game, not the Master Quest. The first problem I found was the awkwardness of the GameCube controller for the game's design. OoT was designed with that thing we called a controller that came with the N64, so it feels awkward putting everything on the more refined, but still somewhat awkward GC controller. I'm not reviewing hardware though, so I'll let that pass. It was about the time that I absolutely breezed through the Water Dungeon that I realized the game felt way too easy. Maybe I just remember the layouts of all the dungeons somewhere in the back of my mind, but I actually went through the first 2 dungeons without taking a hit. The story is still interesting and entertaining, however, it's clear how much Nintendo re-used parts of it in later games. After playing all the newer games, I can't help but feel like I'm playing the same game, but with fewer features in OoT. Graphics, I can't hold against the game. They look like feces smeared on the TV compared to Black Ops or Final Fantasy XIII, but it's from more than 10 years ago, so meh. The music is still amazing, even after all these years. The GameCube port has a problem with audio tearing, but again, not the game sucking, just the port. The combat system also feels kind of clunky and awkward. This is probably because I've played every Zelda game since as well as several other series, which have only improved on OoT's formula of epicness. Graphics and porting issues aside, it's still a very fun and enjoyable game, but seems way too easy compared to the newer games. Even Majora's Mask gave me more trouble when I played through it again than OoT. But whatever. It's still a classic game that anyone interested in gaming should play at some point. 8/10

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