Nintendo made a big push for attention at the first ever PAX South convention. Their booth was front and center on the expo hall floor, and the big game they were showing was, of course, The Legend of Zelda: Majora’s Mask 3D. The game may be a remake of the N64 classic, but it still holds a lot of surprises thanks to the enhancements Nintendo made for this release. I tried out the demo available on the floor and came away quite impressed with how well Nintendo managed to update the classic, while retaining the same feel of the original.
The demo features a couple of areas to check out, such as the start of the game, or Clock Town. I wanted to dive right into the action though, so I chose to battle the fearsome Odolwa. His iconic and haunting chant couldn’t be heard over the hustle and bustle of the convention floor, but the gameplay was good enough to compensate. Of course moving around and attacking all feel the exact same as they did on the N64, but a few things have been mixed up to make the game play better, and feel more like a modern adventure.
First up is the New Nintendo 3DS elements, such as the excellent face-tracking 3D and the C-stick, which offers full control over the formerly temperamental camera. These features allowed for a greater level of immersion, and a lower level of frustration as I moved around in-game and in the real world without causing problems with either the game’s 3D or the view of the world.
As far as the actual gameplay enhancements, one is especially important for The Legend of Zelda: Majora’s Mask. In the original game your main goal was to collect tons of masks. Nearly every mission and quest centered around these items, which gave you special powers, or otherwise affected the game in various ways when worn. However, switching these masks on and off was tedious and frustrating. This has been eliminated by the touch-screen feature of the 3DS, which allows for quick and seamless switching of masks.
Just tap the Masks button at the bottom of the screen to pull up your Mask Menu. Select one and it will be registered to the mask slot on the screen. Now you can easily put the mask on and off by just tapping on the screen. There are a few other places to tap on the screen, each doing different things in your game, so be sure to check it out when the game releases.
The other major improvement in The Legend of Zelda: Majora’s Mask 3D is in the visual area, which has been upgraded and overhauled to take advantage of the more powerful hardware in the 3DS. Of course the 3D effect makes things look better, and on the New Nintendo 3DS you’ll probably leave this enabled more, but Nintendo went further and upgraded the entire graphics of the game. Characters looks more detailed, colors pop off the screen, and everything just looks more refined than it did back in 2000. If you played through the previous remake, The Legend of Zelda: Ocarina of Time 3D, then you have an idea of how the game looks this time around.
My time with The Legend of Zelda: Majora’s Mask 3D was unfortunately brief, I only got to try out the Odolwa battle before having to move on. However, that time was well spent and showed that we have another great remake heading our way from Nintendo. The same classic gameplay is there, with a few minor tweaks to make it play better, and the visuals are all looking better than ever thanks to the enhanced graphics from Nintendo. If you were on the fence about whether or not The Legend of Zelda: Majora’s Mask 3D was going to live up to the original, you have little to fear with this remake.