Game Review: The Legend of Zelda: Majora’s Mask 3D (Nintendo 3DS)

Majora 3DDeveloped by: Nintendo EAD Tokyo and Grezzo

Publisher: Nintendo

Release: February 13th 2015 (Nintendo 3DS)

Play Time: 31 hours; February – April 2015

Bought @ GameMania Antwerpen for €229,00 (preinstalled on the New Nintendo 3DS XL: Majora’s Mask Limited Edition)

Videogames can be scary. They can be scary because they are suspenseful or horrifying in what they present. Or they can be scary because they do something completely new. The Legend of Zelda: Majora’s Mask 3D falls within the latter category, though its atmosphere is rather creepy as well. Of course, Majora’s Mask 3D isn’t entirely new. The 3DS release is the updated version of a game that originally came out in the year 2000. That it still feels new to me has two reasons: (1) there’s still no other game out there that as much as resembles Majora’s Mask; (2) Though I’ve had a copy of the original game in my possession for over ten years, I’ve never had the courage to start it up. Yes, I was that scared. But, boy, was I wrong to wait…

By M.C.J.F.

Majora 3D (1)

Three days to save the world

The Legend of Zelda: Majora’s Mask 3D isn’t like any other Legend of Zelda game. It isn’t like any other game, period. Yes, it can be described as an action adventure game, because you run around wielding a sword, explore dungeons and talk to people who ask you to do things for them (preferably you do this last thing without shoving your sword up their noses). What makes this game so different is that you only get three days to finish it. Why? Because that is the exact moment the world will end.

That’s what scared me all these years. That I had to finish the game in three days. The idea that if I didn’t finish the game in time, I would have to do everything over again, made me not want to play the game at all. I only thought of the wasted time. Having to try to beat a game several times…

Of course Majora’s Mask’s three day system doesn’t work that way. It is much more ingenious. When your reach the end of a three day cycle, you do not lose all your progress. Yes, it will seem like everything gets reset, but all the key items you acquired in your previous play troughs, you will get to keep. If you defeated a dungeon, found all the hidden fairies inside and defeated that dungeons boss you will not have to go through that entire dungeon ever again. You may want to, but that’s an entirely different thing.

Two kinds of stories

Termina isn’t a humongous world, but it will take you quite a while to see every nook and cranny of it. What makes Majora’s mask such a big game are not the dungeons (there’s only four of them), but the side quests. Throughout the world you will encounter dozens of side characters who all have their own story to tell and who are all a little bit freaky in their own way (why yes I will help you by looking for some toilet paper, mister creepy hand sticking out of the crapper!).

Majora 3D (5)

You will want to influence the stories of these characters, however, since it can net you a decent reward (mostly a health upgrade). But you will find yourself not doing these side quests for the reward only. Many of them are interesting enough for the stories they tell. The Anju-Kafei side quest is one of the most beautiful, bittersweet love stories I have ever had the privilege of experiencing in a video game. The story of two lovers trying to find one another becomes much more powerful when it is a race against the clock, when you know the world will end whether they find each other or not.

While time is ticking away, you will also notice the moon getting closer and closer to you. Yes, the reason the world is about to end is because the moon is going to drop right on Termina’s main hub, Clock Town. The main story is you trying to stop that eerie moon from falling by confronting the one responsible for it. It might not seem like much of a story, but because it so subtly integrates themes like loneliness, friendship and betrayal, it becomes a tad more interesting. Those craving a story driven experience, will have to find satisfaction in the aforementioned side quests.

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One definite system to play it on

Majora’s Mask 3D looks beautiful and plays beautifully on my New Nintendo 3DS XL Limited Majora’s Mask Edition. It uses the same engine as The Legend of Zelda: Ocarina of Time 3D which came out for the original Nintendo 3DS, meaning that it looks a lot better than the original on Nintendo 64, but doesn’t necessarily make use of the New 3DS’s added raw power – which makes sense, since the game is also playable on the regular 3DS (XL) and 2DS.

Majora 3D (2)

The game does make use of the New 3DS’s added C-stick, allowing for much smoother camera control. While I overused the L-button in Ocarina of Time 3D to get the camera behind me time and time again to get some sort of idea what was happening in front of me, I now only used it for targeting enemies. The C-stick really makes a big difference for playing this game.

First I was skeptical about the New 3DS’s super stable glasses free 3D. I am one of those people who doesn’t notice the difference between 3D and 2D effects 90%  of the time, but the New 3DS and The Legend of Zelda: Majora’s Mask 3D amazed me in this respect. I literally squealed of joy when seeing that giant turtle swim up to me at Zora Hall in full on 3D.

Majora 3D (4)

Sigh… I notice I haven’t even talked about the music yet. Let’s just say: you’re in for a treat. The Song of Storms has been in my head for two months now, and my best guess is that it will never leave it again. Just like the experience of playing this game will never leave my memory again.

I am never letting a game scare me out of playing it ever again.

Whom should play this game?

Everybody. Though you may want to play Ocarina of Time before you play this game. Not because of a continuing story or anything. Just because it came before, because so you would already have a feel of how to play a 3D Legend of Zelda dungeon, and so you would get most of the references in Majora’s Mask.

9 out of 10

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[Long read] Why it is the best of times to get an Xbox 360

The Xbox One and PlayStation 4 have been on the market for more than a year. I own neither of these consoles, because of… reasons. Mostly because for me the games aren’t there (yet). Tuesday I bought a new console. A second hand Xbox 360. Why? First, because I felt like buying the console. Second, because there’s no better time than now to get the console. The games are there, and mostly: it’s dirt cheap.

 

The price is right

Let’s do the math, shall we? I paid €129,99 for a refurbished, hardly touched Xbox 360 S with a 250 GB hard disk at my local game store – which also comes with one year of warranty (as by EU regulation). There was also a 4 GB version available at the store for €69,99. Some may argue that I should have gotten the 4 GB one instead because it’s super easy to plug in an external hard drive, and they would be right. At least about that last bit. On the other hand: there’s enough cables in my game room as is, so when there’s an option with less cables available I’m all for it.

Another plus of getting the €129,99 model was that it came with two official Xbox 360 controllers, the official headset and an official HDMI cable. In other words: it’s the all-in-one starter pack, which suited me perfectly.

Also, there was one more perk waiting for me that I wouldn’t have gotten if I had bought the 4 GB version or a new Xbox 360:

Three games installed on the hard drive that the previous owner hadn’t removed, namely: Hexic HD (puzzle game designed by Alexey ‘Tetris’ Pajitnov), Grand Theft Auto IV (no introduction needed), The Elder Scrolls V: Skyrim (no introduction needed). Apart from Hexic HD, those games wouldn’t have fitted on a 4 GB hard drive.

Of course I didn’t only buy the console. I also bought a few games for it. There was a sale going on at said local game store, which allowed me to buy three refurbished Xbox 360 games for €15 if their individual value didn’t exceed €10 each. So I bought six refurbished games for €30. Not bad, right?

Especially when I give you the list of games I bought: Alan Wake, Banjo-Kazooie: Nuts & Bolts, Fable III, Kameo: Elements of Power, Lost Odyssey and The Elder Scrolls IV: Oblivion – Five Year Anniversary Edition.

There’s other games I could have bought, but didn’t. I don’t usually play shooters, sports games or racing games, so I passed up on several Halo, Amped, Forza and Gears of War games that were also eligible. Also, because I already own a PlayStation 3 and almost every single game available on that platform, I wasn’t interested in buying multiplatform games (with Oblivion being the exception, of course).

End price: €159,99 for nine games, two controllers and the console. Not too shabby, right?

The game is on

There’s no denying it: the Xbox 360 has a great games library. Assassin’s Creed, Batman Arkham, Battlefield, Bioshock, Borderlands, Call of Duty, Castlevania, Fallout, Fifa, Final Fantasy, Grand Theft Auto, Lego, Mass Effect, Metal Gear Solid, Need for Speed, Resident Evil, Silent Hill, Sonic the Hedgehog, The Elder Scrolls, Tomb Raider… the list of big name franchises with at least one game for the Xbox 360 seems to be endless.

I didn’t buy the console for any of those though. I bought it for the few exclusives I’ve always wanted to play but couldn’t because they weren’t on PlayStation 3. First and foremost, I know the Xbox 360 is a console intended for the dudebro’s (or at the least that over the years the Xbox brand has acquired the dudebro image), but that does not mean I have become a dudebrah, nor does it mean that the console only has exclusives for homies, you dig?

Yes, among the console’s exclusives we find the likes of Crackdown, Forza and Gear of War, all games catered for the testosterone heavy tweenies who like to pimp their cars and blow stuff up – which doesn’t mean they aren’t great games though. On the contrary!

Crackdown ForzaGears of War

But there are other games as well. Games like Alan Wake, Beautiful Katamari and Kameo.

Alan Wake Beautiful Katamari Kameo

Also, if you’re as big a fan of JRPG’s as I am, there are a few gems on the system you wouldn’t be able to play otherwise: Blue Dragon, Infinite Undiscovery and especially Lost Odyssey are said to be wonderful experiences.

Blue Dragon Infinite Undiscovery Lost Odyssey

I’ve especially been looking forward to playing Blue Dragon and Lost Odyssey. The stories for these games were written by none other than the creator of Final Fantasy (and writer of the first nine games in the series) Hironobu Sakaguchi. The games’ music was composed by Nobuo Uematsu who also composed the music for the first eleven Final Fantasy games…

Yes, I don’t understand why I waited so long to buy the console either!

As you may have read earlier, one of the nine games I got with the console was Lost Odyssey. It shouldn’t surprise you that I’ve already tried to play it. Yes… tried to play it. Because when I… No… Not yet. I’m keeping that story for another occasion.

To be continued