The still-undated remake of The Legend of Zelda: The Ocarina of Time for the Nintendo 3DS looks better and has a better inventory system - an upgrade that shouldn't be underestimated. But don't expect new content.
"I wouldn't anticipate any extra dungeons," Nintendo's Bill Trinen told Kotaku in an interview yesterday in New York City, a few hours after I played the visually impressive Ocarina re-make. (Watch my session with the game.)
The March-debuting 3DS, like the DS before it, is being pitched to gamers in part with a remake of a classic Nintendo 64 game. The DS debuted with Super Mario 64 DS, which added a new level and four-player multiplayer to Super Mario 64. Ocarina, however, appears to not be getting the same sort of content boost.
Ocarina of Time is getting a modified inventory screen, which is mapped to the lower screen of the 3DS. That screen doesn't just make it easier to get to hero Link's item screen, but allows the player to map four items, instead of the original's three, to a group of tappable quick-select icons (those quick-selects can also be triggered by one of four button presses).
The new inventory arrangement is what Zelda producer Eiji Aonuma was referring to last June when he promised that the Ocarina remake would make the game's infamous Water Temple more pleasing to travel through. Trinen elaborated yesterday on what Aonuma was referring to:
"One of his long regrets was not necessarily the layout, or the puzzles or the difficulty of the water temple but the fact that [pause]the water temple involved putting on the iron boots on and off, taking them on, taking them off, taking them on, taking them off, to move up and down in the water. To do that you had to press the start button , you'd have to switch over to your inventory screen, you'd have to scroll around to get down to your iron boots and then, of course, in between, you're switching out the iron boots with the hookshot and things like this…. He feels he's finally able to provide the experience the way it should have been in the water temple and that' s with, on the touch panel, you have access to your inventory, so instead of having to scroll down, to find all the different items you're going to have very simple and intuitive access to all the items and the equipment you're going to need.
"Basically, with the new interface it means that instead of spending a good deal of time pushing around through your inventory, you're able to focus on being Link, being in the adventure, solving puzzles and so on."
I didn't get to try the water temple, but did use the new inventory system. What Trinen and Aonuma were referring to seems to be correct and a welcome improvement.
The Ocarina 3DS remake also lets the player use the system's gyroscopic sensor to aim the game's optional first-person camera or first-person weapons like the slingshot. Players can use the system's analog-stick-like circle pad instead, but tilting and moving the system would do the trick. Yesterday, as we showed on video, I was able to rotate in a chair, looking around Link's environment. That option wasn't available on the N64 version of course.
Many Kotaku readers have asked whether the alternate version of Ocarina of Time, the Master Quest, will be included in the 3DS remake. I didn't ask Trinen that yesterday but have followed up with Nintendo. I'll update the post if we get news.