Legend Of Zelda: Ocarina Of Time Review

xandermartin98
OCARINA OF TIME REVIEW

Ah, Ocarina Of Time...yes, I do remember back when I said that it really didn’t take much of a game to beat this one by today’s standards, and in some ways, I WAS actually kind of right. No offense, but honestly, Undertale (which STILL isn’t even the best overall indie game in terms of actual gameplay, mind you) kind of IS, at the very least, a much more FUN and enjoyable experience overall than this is (assuming that you’re playing the Pacifist Run of it, at least) and DEFINITELY a way, way, WAY better WRITTEN game than this one at any rate, with the later three-dimensional Zeldas being overall MUCH more polished ones in general (disregarding difficulty balance)...but it’s a hell of a lot better than its other “most overrated game of all time” competitor Final Fantasy VII, that’s for DAMNED sure.

Truthfully, I’ve never REALLY cared all that much for the Zelda franchise as a whole when compared to golden-age Mario and Metroid, but I’m going to try and approach this with as open of a mind as possible regardless. (And no, Breath Of The Wild is nowhere even NEAR as overrated as this game is; at least, assuming that you’ve talking to REAL PEOPLE and not the mainstream critics. Seriously, read my review on it; despite all of its faults, BOTW, just for its gameplay aspect alone, very much DESERVED the infamous 10/10 review score...or at least the closest possible score TO a perfect 10 that I could bring myself to give it, that is.)

So anyway, let’s look back in a non-insanely-nostalgia-obsessed manner for just a second and see how good Ocarina Of Time ACTUALLY is in retrospect (and why it quite honestly overshadows Wind Waker, Majora’s Mask, Twilight Princess and Skyward Sword WAY too much for its own good), shall we?

STORY: Yes, I know that story isn’t exactly a department that you should be HARSH about when reviewing Nintendo games, but Zelda has always been VERY popularly ridiculously overpraised in the story department throughout nearly ALL of its games, and Ocarina Of Time is BY FAR the second worst offender out of all of them in this regard (the first being Link To The Past, which this game’s storyline is INSULTINGLY obviously a next-gen remake/retelling of).

Basically, Link (who is still a kid at this point in the game) is sleeping in his tree hut in Kokiri Forest where all of the elf-children and fairies live, and he has a prophetic nightmare about Ganondorf, the soon-to-be big bad of the game, storming Hyrule Castle Town on his badarse black-stallion horse...only to abruptly be woken up by his new fairy Navi, who is without a doubt one of gaming’s all-time most insufferably useless and annoying sidekicks, but we’ll get to that later.

After procuring a rather worryingly low-quality sword and shield combo from Kokiri Village (and what has to be at least somewhere around fifteen or thirty HEY utterances from Navi over the course of about 5-10 minutes or so later, all of which use the EXACT same voice clip), Link meets up with the withered and aging Great Deku Tree that presumably delivered his prophetic dream to him, whereupon he is forced to go inside said tree in order to kill the parasitic Gohma queen living in its root system. Of course, naturally, as per Zelda tradition at this point, he gets rewarded with the Spiritual Stone Of The Forest (Farore’s element, of course) and gets several more pages of exposition dumped on him about he needs to leave the forest and become a man (the proud and patriotic hero that our country needs, if you will) in order to defeat evil and come out on top.

On the way out, Link meets Saria, Sage Of The Forest and also the first of many potential girlfriends of his, who doesn’t actually become relevant to the plot until much later on but provides Link with his very first Ocarina...only it’s not the actual Ocarina Of Time but rather a fake wooden copy of it, presumably because he just “isn’t ready” for the real thing yet or something incredibly cliched like that.

And so Link treks all the way across the incredibly barren and featureless Hyrule Field until he finally reaches Hyrule Castle Town, and from there, he makes his way into Hyrule Castle itself (or at least its courtyard), where he meets Princess Zelda...who, of course, is also still just a kid at this point in the game.

After getting another boatload of exposition dumped on him about the three goddesses that created the Triforce and what will happen if it falls into evil Ganondorf hands and (blah, blah, blah, blah, blah) and (in other considerably LESS important news, apparently) how Ganondorf is already planning to take over the entire Hyrule kingdom by Zelda, Link sets off on a journey across Hyrule (nope, sorry; the time part comes into play much later) and also helps out the local Goron and Zora tribes in exchange for THEIR spiritual stones (Din’s and Nayru’s).

(Sorry, but I just don’t personally feel like mentioning whale vore and fish yanderes at the moment.)

(Oh, and also, Link’s prophetic dream comes true; luckily and INCREDIBLY plot-conveniently, Zelda throws the Ocarina Of Time to Link as she and Impa are busy fleeing from Ganondorf’s pursuit.)

In very truly Link To The Past fashion, these three Spiritual Stones (and the ocarina’s Song Of Time, of course), with their powers combined, open the door to where the legendary Master Sword is being kept in the Temple Of Time. In one of THE most legendary moments in all of gaming, Link INCREDIBLY dramatically pulls the Master Sword from its resting place and magically advances seven years into the future, which thankfully also makes him seven years older and stronger (although definitely not much wiser).

However, DUN DUN DUNNN, it turns out that while Link was busy being an overdramatic ponce, Ganondorf was busy waiting just outside the Temple Of Time so that he could sneak in immediately AFTER Link pulled the Master Sword from its stone and effectively steal the Triforce’s power for himself, allowing him to take over the entire kingdom and singlehandedly reduce it into a barren, hellish wasteland of which the local castle town now looks like (even more) post-apocalyptic Detroit slum-ville and is infested with (ARTIFICIALLY CREATED) zombies.

As pitifully tragic as this occurrence may be, it’s also where the plot REALLY starts to take a backseat; under the guidance of Sheik (who, of course, is really just cross-dressing ninja Zelda), Link, in his newfound adult form, has to seek out the six REAL dungeons of the game and retrieve the spiritual medallions that each respective dungeon area’s resident sage is symbolized by.

After making his way through the INCREDIBLY creepy Forest and Shadow Temples, the cliched-but-awesome Fire and Spirit Temples, and the irritating-but-decent Water Temple, Link finally meets up with Ganondorf in the tallest tower of his already-incredibly-cliched evil castle and engages in one of gaming’s all-time most epic fights with him, and then both Zelda and the kingdom as a whole are finally saved once and for all. The end.

(Yeah; needless to say, if you wanted an actually INTERESTING storyline, you should have just played Majora’s Mask, there are a few more little details here and there, but really nothing terribly important besides Ganondorf’s origination from the otherwise all-female Gerudo tribe.)

GRAPHICS: Whenever someone mentions how incredibly ugly and overall badly and cheaply made Final Fantasy VII’s graphics are, the “for the time, it looked amazing” argument is almost ALWAYS immediately used to counter it, even though it very clearly isn’t true. If you want to see a horribly visually dated game that actually DID look amazing for its time, take a good long look at THIS.

SOUND: There is seriously nothing I can say about this that hasn’t already been said before. Long story short, even though it might ironically not actually have the original NES Zelda theme anywhere in it, Ocarina Of Time is hands-down THE greatest soundtrack of the entire series. Hyrule Field, Forest Temple, Ganon Battle, Song Of Storms, Water Temple, Great Fairy Fountain, Miniboss/Boss themes, Kokiri Forest, Zora’s Domain, Lost Woods, etc...well, okay, granted, the actual sound design REALLY isn’t all that amazing by today’s standards, and some of the music IS pretty obviously assembled together using MIDI instruments, but it’s really not that big of a problem, especially considering (again) the time at which this game was made.

GAMEPLAY: Now THIS is where I really start to have a bit of an issue with this game in particular. While I do enjoy it a lot more than Link To The Past, and it definitely has way MORE dungeons than Wind Waker (with infinitely more challenging combat as well) at any rate, I honestly can’t help but feel that this is just an incredibly clunky game by today’s standards.

Combat, at its best, is literally nothing more than just “lock on to enemy, wait for enemy to lower guard, then attack”, many of the cutscenes are overly long and unskippable, many of the puzzles could be considered outright archaic by today’s standards, the N64’s controller is an outright pile of garbage for pretty much anything besides (MAYBE) flight-simulation games…

Yeah, this game has a LOT of issues, many of which carried over to annoyingly large extents into Wind Waker and Twilight Princess as well. And again, Navi is easily one of the most useless and annoying things to ever exist. At least the Majora’s Mask version of her was toned down and wasn’t in a game that ALREADY holds the player’s hand to outright OUTRAGEOUS extremes…

And then there’s absolute nonsensical stupidity like how every single time you want to equip and unequip the Iron Boots in the Water Temple, you have to pause and unpause the game in order to do so (yes, I know that the 3D remake fixed this, but STILL) and, also from the same legendarily infamous dungeon, the inability to swing your sword underwater…

And yeah, the overworld is ridiculously barren and almost completely devoid of literally ANYTHING to do, period (which was still a major problem with Majora’s Mask, Twilight Princess and to a surprisingly lesser extent Wind Waker, but sweet Jesus is it ESPECIALLY bad here)...

At its core, however, Ocarina Of Time is still a very fun game. It’s not as thematically creative as Wind Waker, its dungeons (nostalgic preference aside) are nowhere near as interesting as those of Twilight Princess, and it HORRIBLY lacks the general polished-ness of Breath Of The Wild, but for what it is, and ESPECIALLY for its time, I’ll admit that it is indeed pretty great.

OVERALL: While I still think that this game is insanely overrated in almost literally every possible way and quite frankly has been ever since the day back when it came out LITERALLY 19 YEARS ago, I cannot deny that it is by far one of the most innovative games ever created and a decently enjoyable game in its own right...just not in ANY way what it was hyped up to be overall, particularly when compared to modern-day standards of gaming. In conclusion, 8.8/10

Comments

When this game recieves a review score of 88 out of 100, we are going to see some serious salt - xandermartin98

To put it into perspective, OoT helped set the basic blueprint for every 3D Zelda. Every 3D Zelda game after followed it's formula to an extent (except Botw which more or less took inspiration from the original NES game). While it hasn't aged the best in some departments, it still is a very good game. It's not my favorite Zelda, but I still love it. I think any Zelda fan should at least play OoT once.
I appreciate you not going the whole it's overrated and it sucks route, and instead left some valid criticisms yet also some good amount of appraisals. Good review. - cjWriter1997

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