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…
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!).
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.
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.
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.
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.