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Majora’s Mask 3DS

About This Game:

Systems: Nintendo 3DS/2DS
Release Date: February 13th, 2015
Developer: Nintendo EAD Tokyo, Grezzo
Publisher: Nintendo
ESRB Rating: E
Length: Main Story: 21-23 Hours, 100% Completion: 29-31 Hours

When I walked into GameStop to do a standard return on something I didn’t care for (and I won’t divulge here), it caught me off guard that Majora’s Mask for 3DS was coming out so soon. Apparently it took a lot of people off guard, mostly the majority of us waiting patiently, more or less, for it’s projected December release. Immediately I sacrificed my store credit to this game instead of Dying Light, but it was well worth it. I waited again (even more patiently) for it’s release on February 13th (FRIDAY THE 13th!!), and started playing in the car outside the store. After a couple of days of in depth play time, and bashing my head into the wall at it’s complex puzzles and dark themes that I fell in love with in 2000, I completed the game at almost 100%. And all I can say is: ohhhhhh yesssss.

PRESENTATION

Immediately you can tell a big difference in the original Nintendo 64 version, and the 3DS version, but the real shocker is the incredible detail given to every little texture, and the smoothness of the models, much like Ocarina of Time 3DS. The most impressive thing about this is that they upgraded and improved every nook and cranny, but still retained the atmosphere and theme as the original Majora’s mask, and in some ways, made it the perfect version of itself it could be. The touchscreen menu adds a lot to organizing and collecting your gear, offering a huge amount of space to play around and make it comfortable to the user. The placement of the clock on screen is a big improvement as well. On the N64 version, the clock was at the bottom of the screen, but took up enough of it to be annoying and a big distraction. Also, the actual dial at times was hard to see, and would take extra effort to discern exactly how much time you have left.  This clock is snug on a single line, with a clear, single line dial that tracks your days, and makes it easy to read. The smoothness of the game is what is really attractive, with a clear and seamless transition between actions, like transforming to link’s other races, teleporting, and switching between weapons and items, like the Hookshot and the Hero’s bow. Each setting that made Majora’s Mask stand out, whether it be Snowhead, Mountain village, Great bay, or even Clock Town, had a huge makeover that not only improved it’s appearance, but also the way you navigate, and the themes that each place convey’s. All in all, the upgrades that the developers did on this game are phenomenal, and deserve a round of applause from every gamer, whether you liked the Legend of Zelda series or not.

 

Gameplay

Nintendo has done a great job of converting the games that you played with a controller to a handheld console. Just a warning though: you know this if you played OOT on the 3DS back when it came out, but be prepared to give up an item slot that you would have used on the yellow directional buttons of the N64. Although this function does work well, you only have two buttons that you can put items on now. Having said that, in total you have four total options of quick access to weapons and items. You can assign two items to physical buttons, and two items to touchscreen icons. Although more options are almost always better, make sure you don’t equip any battle items to those slots. This was more of a detriment in OOT, but in Majora’s mask, the masks are used more-so in a passive way. That means that putting masks in those slots are more effective due to you only having to press it once to equip it, rather than your bow which is used more often.

The touchscreen is a huge plus in this game, especially since the N64 version had such a busy display screen. This simplifies what you normally look at when you are traversing Termina, and is much less distracting than the items, hearts and clock that were on your screen. The touchscreen menu has easy navigation, and is perfect when you need to re-organize any of your gear before setting out into a dungeon. The bombers notebook is also an impressive addition to this game. By just pressing “Start”, you can access it, and navigate through it with ease. The only down side to the bombers notebook, is when you are speed running, or wanting to play through a lot quicker than you normally would, it has a lot of unnecessary interruptions. This may be to include it more into the game whereas most gamers, like me, didn’t give it too much attention in it’s original form.

Time control is the thing that made me squeal like a little girl. Now when you play the Song of Double Time, you can select which hour of the day you want to fast-forward to, and it makes quests like the Anju and Kafei quest so much easier. Also, this will keep you from waiting atop the clock tower for the door to open.

There are many changes to the game, and almost all of them are positive. In many of the dungeons, the developers placed certain switches and chests in different places then they originally were. SPOILERS. If you are playing and you are desperately looking for the Stone Mask, or the Giant’s Mask, those have been relocated. Happy hunting. Simple changes such as moving the switch on the front of Stone Tower Temple to a place that does not mean you have to retrace, and move blocks make this game that much more playable. Changes that weren’t so appealing were to Goron link and Zora link. Goron link’s ability to roll is limited to curling once, and pressing A to uncurl and stop rolling. This is great when you are going over jumps or racing at the Goron racetrack, but not so much while trying to navigate in tight quarters or over ledges. Zora link can no longer normally swim at the speed that he could before. Now you must use his special ability (which uses up magic) to swim at that pace, and jump like a porpoise out of the water. This is troubling during the Great Bay temple, or at the Hide and Seek games played by the children on the Moon.

Story

Back in 2000, there weren’t too many games that were story based to this complexity. The story behind the Devil mask and the people of Terminia grips you, and actually makes you care about a wedding, a child and her mummified father, a girl and her sister on a ranch, or a band made of Zoras. You play as a Hero that left a land where he was made a hero, and plunge into a world of chaos, where an annoying and nagging fairy actually comes into good use. With the use of collecting the several masks scattered throughout the land, you get an in depth view of the lives of people that, before 2000 in gaming, you wouldn’t really care about too much. While going through the Anju and Kafei story line, it took me back to the first million times I tried to time everything perfectly, and ended up feeling full-hearted at the notion that these two people in love would be together through death to find each other, and that I helped join that union.

The main story line is filled with angst, fear, joy, and a good splash of dark humor. Each dungeon has it’s special characteristics on how it effects the specific regions of Terminia, and you witness how it changes these regions, and the people in it. Although the dungeons can be difficult, (Yes Great Bay Temple, I am looking at you), you are hooked and want to know exactly what becomes of the people after you have struggled through complex dungeons, and harrowing bosses.

Overall

This game was ahead of it’s time in 2000, and not only remains relevant, but challenges game developers 15 years later. If you haven’t ordered a copy, or borrowed from a friend, I recommend dropping everything that you are doing, even if it is your newborn child, and visiting a place that sells it, just so you can play through the first hour in your car outside, which *cough* *cough* you will.

Pros:
  • Beautiful re-texturing and smooth models
  • Seamless game-play
  • Excellent at a better resolution and frame-rate
  • Changes to dungeons and game-play were what the game needed 15 years ago
  • Boss battles are more challenging, but more fun
Cons:
  • Zora and Goron abilities are disappointing, and make certain tasks harder
  • Water levels are much harder than in N64 version
  • Motion aiming needs to be better calibrated
Majora’s Mask 3DS
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About the Reviewer: Chips

I am currently a college student with a major in Geographic Information Science. Since this is the case, I don't have too much money, so all of the stuff I write is about doing the best with the little cash you may have. I hail from the East Coast of the United States, but would much rather be among the Rockies.


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