The Legend of Zelda: Majora’s Mask; a game that came out over a decade ago, a game that is held dearly by many, and a game that finally got the remake it deserved. Majora’s Mask 3D released on February 13th for the Nintendo 3DS, but with the reception the original got does the new iteration hold up? That’s what I plan on discussing in this review so let’s get started… after the break!
When Majora’s Mask was first released it was a very solid game, but there were some issues… Issues that some found to be very bothersome. First was the three day system (the system set up for Majora’s Mask that revolves around a 3 day cycle that repeats itself… Kind of like Groundhog Day), which is still intact so players hoping to avoid that this time around won’t get their wish (but taking away the time system would take away the charm of the game and part of what made it so special in the first place). Second was the save system which has been entirely revamped this time around. No longer do you have to play the Song of Time to save your game, veterans of the original will remember owl statues scattered around Termina and they would allow for a quick save. This time around they are permanent saves and scattered more frequently around Termina and in dungeons making saving much more accessible.
Third was how much was going on and what to do, where to go and with which character. Nintendo tried to make it easier in the N64 version with the Bombers’ Notebook but it didn’t give enough information or store enough of your progress. In Majora’s Mask 3D, the game’s Bombers’ Notebook has been completely revamped to log everything, and I mean everything you accomplish leading to a much easier time figuring out what’s what, who’s who and where they’re going to be at at a certain time. The Bombers may even approach you from time to time, offering brief rumours about the townsfolk of Termina, giving you a small idea on who to investigate further. This will help a lot of newcomers to Majora’s Mask and help people who gave up on their original play through on the N64.
Majora’s Mask 3D also includes a revamped menu system… Very similar to a mix of OoT3D and ALBW. Your masks are on their own subscreen and with a simple touch and slide motion they are on one of your item icons. The menu system has been improved upon since the releases of Ocarina of Time 3D and A Link Between Worlds leading to the most fluid menu system I had seen in a Zelda game on a handheld. Plus, when you are asked to give an item to a character, you can choose from your inventory rather than having it equipped, hopefully reducing the risk of accidentally drinking that potion when rescuing Koume. Even the maps have received an upgrade and are just that bit more useful (especially in the Great Bay Temple… which doesn’t have enough water). If you are lucky enough to own one of those fancy new ‘New Nintendo 3DS’ systems (or at least a Circle Pad Pro attachment, then you can also use the second stick to freely change the camera view, something which hasn’t been included until more recent entries.
Outside of those changes boss fights were completely revamped as well to make for a more fluid fight. I’m going to use one as an example so if you don’t want to see something that could be considered a spoiler then scroll down. In the N64 version of MM the boss battle with Twinmold required the Giant’s Mask and Links’ sword…That’s it. The fight in the 3DS remake is much more in depth and truly rewarding. You start the fight with no Giant’s Mask and have to take out one of the giant insects to obtain the Giant’s Mask…Once you figure that out (I won’t give away the solution) then you obtain the Giant’s Mask and literally throw Twinmold around the stage. Nintendo truly went all out when trying to make these boss fights less wonky and more fun and rewarding.
Now, there are minor changes and tweaks here and there… Some are good, some not so much. One example of a good change is the Zora swimming mechanics, in the N64 version he would swim really fast in the similar fashion to a dolphin and this would lead to camera clipping, Link running into walls and just sheer frustration. In the 3DS remake Link has a few different options when it comes to swimming, he can now do a breast stroke which is faster then normal swimming but not as fast as the dolphin style, which leads to turning tight corridors easily and minimal wall collisions. He still has his dolphin swim but you have to keep his force field up and you can stop his decent of ascent in the water which helps in a few situations.
A minor tweek that shouldn’t have been changed was Deku Link. He now has the odd start up when he runs that just feels wonky and prevents fast skipping as easily. Fast skipping is a technique in the N64 version that allows the player to do Deku Links’ spin attack right before hitting the water to give Link a further and faster jump, instead of just hitting A before Deku Link hits the water, you have to get a running start and then tap A which seems like it wouldn’t be a big deal; but when you’re attempting the trick on a lily pad it can be quite cumbersome. There are a few more tweeks but they don’t effect as much as the two I mentioned above.
Majora’s Mask 3D does a good job differentiating its self from the games’ N64 counterpart while keeping it’s original feel…For the most part the changes made were for the better and Majora’s Mask truly benefits from the changes. Majora’s Mask 3d is the definitive way to play Majora’s Mask and it doesn’t disappoint. It still retains it’s dark atmosphere, intuitive side quest and dungeon design while making all that more accessible to the player. To this day Majora’s Mask stands as a one of a kind game and there is nothing out there quite like this little gem. It takes everything you knew about Zelda, keeps it’s familiar mechanics while turning everything upside down and making the player truly think about how to accomplish the next task.
My rating scale is 1 to 10… One being the lowest and 10 being the highest. I would give Majora’s Mask 3D a 9.2 out of 10. The game is fantastic, truly a wonder in it’s own right… But I see the frustration that someone could have with the game. For some, the time mechanic may still be a turn off and it leads to a lot of anxiety trying to make sure you’ve done everything you can in the 3 day time limit (I didn’t personally have any issues, but I’ve also beat the N64 iteration on numerous occasions… It’s my favorite game ever. With that said, I tried to put myself in the shoes of someone who had never played Majora’s Mask and looked at the game objective point of view putting my preference for the game aside. If it was a subjective review, it would get a perfect 10). I hope you enjoyed my review, there will be more to come.
If you have any comments, please let me know what you think… See ya!