The Legend of Zelda: Ocarina of Time Isn’t a Masterpiece | Teen Ink

The Legend of Zelda: Ocarina of Time Isn’t a Masterpiece

December 10, 2018
By BFrankie SILVER, Tirana, Other
BFrankie SILVER, Tirana, Other
7 articles 0 photos 2 comments

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If you’ve been around on the internet, you’ve probably heard about The Legend of Zelda: Ocarina of Time. It’s a classic and everyone should try it out for themselves when they get the chance. It gets praised everywhere for being a masterpiece and the best game of all time. I mean, how couldn’t you praise the game? It has an amazing soundtrack and a whole new world to explore! Peer Schneider says: “A break-through title from Nintendo that deserves all the hype and praise it's gotten. The limited gold edition is just the icing on the cake. My highest possible recommendation.” It was revolutionary, and it set the standards for newer 3D games coming out at that time. My problem is that after 20 years, Ocarina of Time is still considered the best game of all time. It has perfect scores on both Metacritic and IGN. I don’t think it’s bad, far from that, but I think people don’t really look at it with a critical eye and just praise it because everyone else does. In my opinion, The Legend of Zelda: Ocarina of Time has major flaws that sometimes make the game unenjoyable and frustrating.

To start, the mechanics are flawed and don’t work well. This was one of the first games to go from 2D to 3D. Others tried it too and succeeded (for example Super Mario 64). While others, didn’t do that well (for example Sonic Adventure). Now don’t get me wrong, it’s not easy to go from 2D to 3D. Some mechanics from older games work and some don’t. Zelda is all about fighting enemies and solving puzzles. It would be really hard to attack or find the enemy with a camera that’s always staying behind you. To make everything easier, Ocarina of Time introduced Z-targeting. It basically made you focus on one of the enemies or items. No other game used this before, it was brand new and no other game used this before. This made combat complicated. It wasn’t that bad. Now you just needed to know the pattern or wait for an opening to defeat the enemy. The problem is that you wait, a lot. An enemy knows when you’re Z-targeting and just waits for you to attack. Most of the time, the fights turn into a staring contest and become longer than they should be. The further you get into the game, the more boring and repetitive it gets.

Some aspects of the game haven’t aged too well. The most obvious one is the graphics. Everyone can agree that they don’t look great. Most of the textures are really blurry or extremely pixelated. Some models don’t look good and make characters look creepy. The placements of polygons is questionable. All of these are problems caused by the N64’s limited hardware. This includes cartridge size and memory. But other games used this to their advantage. Spyro The Dragon had more minimalist and cartoony models and textures. They focused more on expressions and characters. The console which the games was made on, the Playstation, was even weaker than the N64. “Nintendo 64 games running on custom microcode benefited from much higher polygon counts in tandem with more advanced lighting, animation, physics and AI routines than its 32-bit competition.”

Another aspect that hasn’t aged too well is the camera. It was new at the time and Nintendo still didn’t know how to use it well. You can clearly see the age. Camera movement is automatic due to the absence of a second stick. You sometimes jump off a cliff or accidentally open something without even knowing. Just running into a wall makes the camera freak out. It’s not that bad. It does its job well enough. But, it could be better.

A lot of people just counter all the arguments with “It’s an older game. You can’t judge it by today’s standards.” I agree. It is an older game and Nintendo was still experimenting with 3D. That doesn’t mean that it’s flaws are justified. A lot of the mechanics are borrowed from The Legend of Zelda: A Link to the Past, which implemented these aspects a lot better.

Overall, The Legend of Zelda: Ocarina of Time is a classic. However, it has many flaws that are usually overlooked. It’s still an enjoyable game, but not the best. Other games deserve that title.

The author's comments:

Many people consider this game a masterpiece. I don't. 

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