While at PAX South I was able to go hands-on with The Legend of Zelda: Majora’s Mask 3D for the 3DS, and not like this is news, but it’s fantastic. What really makes it stand out from other versions is the 3D effect and the level of depth it adds to the game world. If you haven’t read my impressions of the New 3DS XL you should do so as it expands upon the massive improvement to the 3D capabilities of the device, which helps to make Majora’s Mask 3D a treat for your eyeballs.
The demo I played took place at the start of the game where Link runs into Skull Kid while riding his horsy through a forest. Right from the start the depth that the 3D offers brings the game world to life unlike ever before, making both the environment and characters feel like living breathing entities. The world feels inhabitable – it becomes a place you want to visit – not just a backdrop for Link’s adventure. The 3D also gives the gameplay and added boost, especially when Link gets transformed into a plant-like being that can skyrocket into the air and glide to far off platforms courtesy of his flower glider. The increased level of depth makes segments like this feel as if you’re floating with the little green tunic wearing hero, making the experience feel like an amusement park ride.
For time purposes the PAX South demo was limited by a countdown clock, so I didn’t get to play through a full mission, but I had enough time to soak in the touchscreen controls and the new C-Stick abilities, both of which add new levels of polish to this classic Zelda experience. The touchscreen, like in Ocarina of Time 3D, allows you to quickly and efficiently equip inventory items without leaving the game world. Managing the various gadgets and pickups is a breeze thanks to the quick access and drag and drop support, so ensuring Link is well equipped and buffed up will be a much more streamlined process this time around. The C-Stick on the other hand now allows you to freely rotate the camera in a circular pattern around Link, which makes navigation a breeze. It also assures you that you’ll be pointed in the direction that you want to be in, which is still a bit of a process when simply relying on the game camera itself.
Visually Majora’s Mask 3D looks lovely without completely losing its Nintendo 64 charm and style. Characters and the environment are noticeably devoid of polygon lines, but there’s still a sense of familiarity, so its not like Link looks completely different than he did when this game first released years and years ago. As previously mentioned the 3D looks crisp (when played on the New 3DS XL), and it does enhance the visual experience thanks to the new level of depth within the environment. I appreciated the effect enough that I flipped my stance on the New 3DS XL, and will now be procuring one thanks to how much the 3D effect influences the world of Majora’s Mask 3D.
You really don’t need me to tell you that The Legend of Zelda: Majora’s Mask 3D is a stellar experience, but if you were on the fence about a purchase, I’m here to push you off. If you have the ability to grab this game and the New 3DS XL you will not be disappointed. Even if you don’t want to trade up to the latest 3DS model, Majora’s Mask 3D is still worth adding to your 3DS game library, after all, it IS a Zelda game.
The Legend of Zelda: Majora’s Mask 3D is set to hit retail on February 13, 2015.
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