The Legend of Zelda:
Ocarina of Time 3D (Nintendo 3DS)
Link, play me a tune. Ask ten gamers what the best video game ever made is, and you'll probably get at least twelve answers. And more than a few arguments, and
perhaps a fistfight or two.
Ask a group of critics, though -- a task made much easier by sites like Metacritic.com -- and you'll get a much clearer answer: it's The
Legend of Zelda: Ocarina of Time, which, with a critical aggregate score of an incredible 99%, is the top-rated game of all time.
And this week, it's being re-released on Nintendo's 3DS with a graphical update that does much to hide the wrinkles of its fourteen-year
vintage. Can Ocarina of Time 3DS recapture the magic of the original?
Boy, can it ever. Although it isn't rating quite as highly as the Nintendo 64 original, it's still gathering an impressive collection of scores -- and among the most impressed of its critics is Eurogamer's Keza MacDonald, who's clearly something of a fan.
"This is a better version of Ocarina of Time that's worth every penny of its modern-day price tag," she says. "Really, that should be all you need to know." In case it isn't, she goes on to praise its 3D makeover (which, thanks to the system's special screen tech, is genuine, stereoscopic 3D), its careful additions to ease the shock of modern gamers used to the lighter difficulty of today's entertainment, and the new motion controls. In short, she says, "this game is one of the greatest things that video games have ever achieved," and the score is an unsurprisingly perfect ten.
Gamespot is a little more even-handed, although they still hand down a clear recommendation.
"The Legend of Zelda: Ocarina of Time 3D is a great way to experience this seminal adventure, and it's a shining example of how old can be made new again," says writer Chris Watters. Still, it's showing its age in some areas; Watters points out the game's occasionally sparse environments as a weak spot. All the same, he's happy to name it "the definitive version of this classic game, making Ocarina of Time 3D the best way to embark on (or relive) this landmark adventure."
Despite sharing fond memories of playing Ocarina of Time back in the '90s, The Escapist's Greg Tito isn't quite so captivated by the small screen and awkward controls of this re-release.
"I couldn't help wishing I could play Miyamoto's masterpiece as it was meant to be played: on a big screen with a more comfortable controller," he laments. "The 3D graphics and UI improvements were not enough to offset my frustrations playing the game on a smaller scale without adequate controls." He scores it at a four out of five, suggesting casual Zelda fans and those unused to handheld gaming systems wait for a remake "on a bigger console."
Will it reach the dizzy heights of the original Ocarina of Time? Not likely. Metacritic currently puts it at an aggregate score of a whopping 94%. All the same, don't let that put you off -- it's still the best-received 3DS game by a huge margin
and one of the top-rated games of the year so far. If you've never played this beautiful work of art, now you have no excuse.
ALSO THIS WEEK:
Ancient Spirits: Columbus'
Legacy (Y! Games)
Put away your Howard Zinn: this isn't a game about Columbus' actual legacy, although ol' Chris certainly did cause a lot of somewhat ancient folks to become spirits rather before their natural time. Instead, it's a hidden-object hunt following the story of a famous archaeologist attempting to uncover the secrets of Columbus' long-lost flagship.
F.E.A.R. 3 (PC, Xbox
Proving there's nothing more frightening than creepy, long-haired little girls, the F.E.A.R. series has established itself as one of
the leading names in horror-themed shooters. Back this week for another episode, its many fans are no doubt already girding themselves for a few nights spent sleeping with the lights on. F.E.A.R. 3's early scores are falling around the 80% mark, noting its strong multiplayer and choice of characters, but one or two critics point out the single-player campaign, at as little as three or four hours, is on the short side. If you can live with that, jump in.
Fruits, Inc. (Y! Games)
Half sim, half tycoon-style management game, Fruits Inc. pits your wits against the numerous challenges of running a fruit farm. Production, marketing, storage, and sales are all part of your remit; you'll have to work on your strategy if you want to succeed. Perhaps if you do really
well you'll be able to afford some staff...
Dungeon Siege III
(PC, Xbox 360, PS3)
Promising though this dungeon-crawling, action role-playing
game looked, it's getting a mixed reception at the hands of the critics. Key among its shortcomings: a multiplayer structure that's just not up to par, boring loot, and a story IGN calls "tedious." On the other hand, the combat comes in for plenty of praise, and there's no shortage of reviewers happy to recommend it to fans of the genre.
Shadows of the Damned (Xbox 360, PS3)
What do you get when you mix the punky talents of No More Heroes developer Goichi Suda with the creator of the Resident Evil series? You
get this lighthearted, ultra-violent survival-horror shooter, that's what. Much like last week's Duke Nukem Forever, it's unashamedly juvenile in its humor -- but not much like last week's Duke Nukem Forever, it's being praised by the press.
Cars 2 :The Video Game (Xbox 360, PS3, Wii, DS, PC)
There's no end to the gaming potential of Pixar's cute animated Cars franchise, which returns to theaters this week. Sadly, it zoomed past unfulfilled in the last Cars video game. Will this week's be different? It's certainly making all the right kind of noises -- the team promises 20 playable cars, a cool spy-themed storyline, and four-player split-screen -- but we'd want to take it for a test drive before laying down any greenbacks.