The Legend of Zelda: Ocarina of Time Review: Legendary and groundbreaking, but not my favorite

The Legend of Zelda: Ocarina of Time Review: Legendary and groundbreaking, but not my favorite

Embark on a journey through time and nostalgia as we delve into the intricate world of The Legend of Zelda: Ocarina of Time. As one of the most iconic titles in gaming history, Ocarina of Time has garnered praise for its innovative gameplay mechanics, captivating storyline, and memorable characters. However, amidst the praises lies a nuanced perspective that scrutinizes its combat mechanics, dated graphics, and narrative depth. In this review, I, Brighton Nelson, will explore the game's strengths and weaknesses across various categories, ultimately uncovering what makes Ocarina of Time a timeless classic for some and a relic of the past for others.

Combat - 4

Time's Up: Giving Ocarina a Second Chance - Nintendojo Nintendojo

I don't despise the combat in this game, but the combat of The Minish Cap, The Wind Waker, Twilight Princess, Tears of the Kingdom, and even Zelda II are way more engaging. The outdated camera doesn't really help the game's case either, and the Nintendo 64 controller is a personal pet peeve of mine, with its perfect structure. Luckily, this game has some excellent items to mix combat up, like the hammer and insane empty bottle tactics. Ultimately, this game's combat is subpar for the series, but it's still fun.

Story - 3

How to win 'The Legend of Zelda: Ocarina of Time' in 15 minutes |  RochesterFirst

As a significant RPG fan, I find most Zelda stories rather underwhelming, and this one is no exception. When it's all said and done, this game comprises of young Link and old Link collecting various stuff and beating Ganon. There's obviously more to it, but this isn't precisely Final Fantasy or Persona or anything. I understand the love for this game's world and narrative, but I find it quite mediocre. Sorry, Ocarina fans, but that's just true for me.

Music - 8

The Legend of Zelda: Ocarina Of Time - Soundtracks - YouTube

This is one of my favorite soundtracks in the series! With iconic tunes like the Song of Storms, Zelda's Lullaby, the haunting dungeon themes, and my favorites, Hyrule Field and Gerudo Valley! While ten out of ten soundtracks are mostly reserved for soundtracks of my favorite musical legends like Nobuo Uematsu and Yoko Shimamura, this is still a brilliant soundtrack, even though it's not my personal favorite. That would have to go to Spirit Tracks or Breath of the Wild. Next category now, I guess.

Items - 7

Zelda: Ocarina Of Time's Worst Items To Keep In Bottles

This game basically boasts all the greatest hits and items of the Zelda series but without anything too unique. With everything I could ask for in a traditional Zelda game, I don't have any problems here. Still, most of the games in the series are more exciting and memorable, with Twilight Princess and the Capcom games especially being standouts. I don't have any complaints here, but I don't have anything to write home about either.

Art & Graphics - 2

Does The Legend of Zelda: Ocarina of Time hold up in 2022? | iMore

I don't exactly love old 3D graphics, especially anything from the Nintendo 64 and the original PlayStation. Even as somebody who grew up on old 3D games, I will always take charming pixel art over weird 3D graphics. While I love the iconic Zelda riding off on a horse cutscene, and I love some of the art direction, the art's attempt at semi-realism reminds me of later games that annoy me, like Final Fantasy VIII. While the graphics are nostalgic and significant at the time, they aren't exactly plentiful in the modern day.

Theming - 8.5

Why the Spirit Temple is the Most Thematically Important Level in Zelda:  Ocarina of Time

While I love the time jumping of Oracle of Ages and how that affects the world and environments, I still find the idea of playing as both Child LInka and Adult Link absolutely fascinating. This gimmick is best-used in the brilliant Spirit Temple, which is one of the absolute best temples in the series. The differences in item usage between the two ages of Link make for enjoyable and varied gameplay. This is absolutely one of the best themes and gimmicks of the entire series!

Quality of Life - 2

Princess Zelda's Study: The field trip that led to the Z-targeting system -  Zelda Universe

Similar to the graphics, this game's controls and camera are undoubtedly archaic and make it hard for me to love this game, as nostalgic as it may be to me as somebody who grew up on the game. By stark contrast, other games of the time, like the original Paper Mario and Super Mario 64, still feel relatively modern to this day. In the end, no Zelda game annoyed me more than this game, as much as I absolutely adored the dungeons and time-gap gimmick of this game. I wish the game felt fun for me, but it simply doesn't. In my opinion, its impressiveness has waned with time and is hard to play in the modern age—at this point, Twilight Princess feels like what Ocarina of Time is for most people.

Sidequests - 6.5

Koji Kondo's 'Ocarina of Time' soundtrack is a hip-hop album

This game has some decent side content, but it can't compare to other games in the series like The Wind Waker, A Link Between Worlds, Breath of the Wild, and especially Majora's Mask. With Hyrule Field being much less interesting and much more barren than the majority of Zelda overworlds, I never found as much satisfaction from this game's quests as I did from many other games in the series. Still, finding Heart Pieces and optional items is still fun here, don't get me wrong.

Dungeons - 9

Spirit Temple - The Legend of Zelda: Ocarina of Time Guide - IGN

As much as I have my issues with Ocarina of Time aging a little poorly, I could never claim something as stupid as saying the dungeons in this game aren't brilliant. While Jabu-Jabu's Belly is awful, the Fire Temple and Dodongo's Cavern are mediocre, and Hyrule Castle is a little underwhelming; I love everything about this game—yes, I enjoyed the Water Temple! The Forest, Spirit, and Shadow Temples are pure bliss, and I enjoyed every second of them. It's definitely some of the best in the series! While Twilight Princess and Oracle of Ages have my favorite dungeons in the series, this game still holds up with its terrific dungeon design.

The Verdict

File:The Legend of Zelda Ocarina of Time.svg - Simple English Wikipedia,  the free encyclopedia

Fun Factor: 6
Overall Score: 56%
Letter Rating: C

While I can't agree with many Zelda fans saying this game is timeless and amazingly unarchaic, I also wouldn't call this game overrated. Its dungeon design and theming are absolutely peak Zelda, and I'd love to see a very refined remake of this game (kind of like Final Fantasy VII Remake) or a spiritual successor , à la A Link Between Worlds. However, as it stands, even as a kid who was nostalgic for this game, I've always loved most of the Zelda games more than this one. Nevertheless, this is my opinion. I recommend everyone give this game a shot to formulate their own opinion, as it may impact you profoundly, as it did for so many others.

Primary Version: The Legend of Zelda: Ocarina of Time (Nintendo 64)