Like the cursed moon that slowly creeps towards Link, The Legend of Zelda: Majora’s Mask 3D is only a short ways away from touching down on the 3DS. Unlike the massive moon, however, players have no reason to fear the game’s impending arrival – Majora’s Mask 3D is incredible.
The Original 2000 title has always been a special game to me, which made it all the more exciting when I had the opportunity to play with a demo build of a newly revised version of one of my favourite games of all time. Not only this, I was able to play using Nintendo’s New 3DS XL, set to hit stores alongside the game on February 13th.
In my 30 or so minute hands-on time with the game, I was able to play through three sections of the game: the opening sequence up until the meeting with The Happy Mask Salesman, a sequence which let me explore Clock Town and Termina Field while possessing the three main transformation masks, and a boss encounter with Woodfall Temple’s Masked Jungle Warrior Odolwa.
Right from the get go, players will instantly recognize a graphical boost that breathes new life into this 15 year old game. Grezzo, who codeveloped the remake with Nintendo, deserves applause for the fresh textures and new twists on multiple character designs and areas. For example, Deku Link now releases what seems to be a sharp plant-like thorn from the tip of his hat when performing the spin attack. It’s an artistic liberty I didn’t anticipate, but one that I approve of no less. Despite these changes, every ounce of Termina is still as somber as you remember.
The demo section which best showed off the game’s new elements was the battle with the first dungeon’s boss, Odolwa. Using the C-stick placed on the New 3DS for camera control feels great and adds significant relief to sections like these where the target is constantly jumping around, forcing players in the past to realign their view with Z-targeting every few seconds. Keeping track of Odolwa was a breeze thanks to the C-stick, which controlled perfectly with no input lag or general discomfort. I can only imagine how useful the new camera control will prove against enemies like Gyorg, the third dungeon’s infamous boss.
That wasn’t all the Odolwa encounter revealed, however. The gyroscopic tilt-controls that appeared in Ocarina of Time 3D make their return, only this time players using the New 3DS won’t have to turn off the 3D slider to use them. On past models of the 3DS, players who moved the console even slightly would fall out of the “sweet spot,” thereby rendering gyroscope controls incompatible with 3D play. Thanks to the face tracking cameras that adjust for player movement, I was able to tilt my system around to fire Link’s arrows without ever losing the 3D effect.
The third takeaway, one which players can look forward to regardless of if they’ve upgraded to the New 3DS or not, is that boss battles have been modified. While not wildly different than what old fans remember, new takedown tactics and weaknesses offer new ways to plan out boss battles, lending a layer of replayability to any skeptical fans. As somebody whose played Majora’s Mask extensively on the N64, I can’t wait to find out what new weaknesses developer Grezzo and Nintendo have added to the rest of the game’s bosses.
The Legend of Zelda: Majora’s Mask 3D goes above and beyond the simple cut and paste remake that Nintendo could have made. New control mechanics, updated boss battles, and improved quest tracking capabilities via the new Bomber’s Notebook all keep the experience fresh, and you just know that more secrets will be discovered when the game launches on February 13th. To fans who’ve been waiting years for this imminent remake, I have only one thing left to say:
“We’ve met with a wonderful fate, haven’t we?”
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