Written by: J.H. Longman
Ever since I got my New 3DS XL, Majora’s Mask 3D, released in February of 2015, was one of the games I just had to have. Such a beautiful world and engaging story and a story which despite the original game’s release back in 2000, I never really got to have the privilege until 2011 when I was finally able to play it via rom and emulator. I’ve wanted to play it from the day I first heard of it, the sequel to my beloved Ocarina of Time. To this day, OoT remains my cherished favourite, and because of that fact, I never gave the original much of a chance. My first play-through was spent comparing it to the other, sure its character stories were equally compelling and emotional, heck Termia is facing impending destruction all throughout the game, but to me it just wasn’t as good. My love for Ganondorf, the Triforce and even the new look of Hyrule was just too much. Majora’s Mask never stood a chance.
That aside and years later, Majora’s Mask is one of the better Zelda games in the series, I would certainly rate it high in my favourites, amongst Oot, Twilight Princess, Skyward Sword, A Link Between Worlds and Wind Waker. It’s a game where the end of the world is literally nigh all throughout. There are just 72 hours on the clock to save the world and given everything Link must face, it’s not enough. Luckily for him he stay possesses the Ocarina of Time, which he can use to slow down the passing of time, or send himself back in time to the dawn of the first day, where his adventure will start all over again. Sure he gets to keep whatever masks he collected, including the ones taken from the Bosses he faced, but he still remembered the songs he learned, it’s just a case of whatever rupees he had in his wallet are gone, his item count (number of bombs and such) are reverted back to zero and come time at the end the game for the final battle, he’ll have to revisit all four main dungeons and defeat the bosses again before he’ll be able to face the dastardly Skull Kid, wearer of the Majora’s Mask and bringer of doom. Or to be more precise, Bringer of the Falling Moon, which upon collision, will wipe out all.
More importantly, MM, is a game of a much darker story, doomed world, love lose and sadness had by many of the eccentric characters you meet, who all seem to be doppelgangers of characters from it’s prequel, but with no connection to them whatsoever. It’s a world of true emotion, conflict and even fear in some places, but as great as the remastered 3D version is, and it is great, the game is perhaps a little bit too colourful. Not to the extent of Skyward Sword, but, like with the Ocarina of Time 3D remaster, the lighter colour palate, it lifts the tone of these two darker stories. Two games where the gritty aspects of graphical design we had back in the old days, really nailed it, but here it’s more a case of: “We’re all going to die, but look how blue the sky is? Have you ever seen such colour?”
The sheer story of the game is one that sticks to memory, but for the sake of those who don’t know it. This is how the game begins: Set a few months after the events of Ocarina of Time, during the Young Link era, Link is riding through a forest, upon Epona, whom he must have gone to Lon Lon Ranch to claim. The two are searching for his missing friend Navi, his fairy companion from the prequel, but then they are attacked by Skull Kid and two fairies, Tael and Tatl. Link is soon relieved of both Ocarina and Epona. He gives chase only to find himself falling down a deep hole, his “entrance” into Termina, where his troubles worsened. Before even reaching the Clock Tower, he finds himself turning into a Deku Scrub and given chase once more. A chase that leads him to the Happy Mask Salesman, the first human inhabitant of a world where a Moon looms above it with signature smile/grimace (depending on how you perceive it), upon its face, hurling towards the country, ready to destroy all. The adventure had truly began, an adventure like none other.
The now 3DS adventure pays perfect homage to its home console original, but that aside, it does possess a few differences, minor and major, other than brighter colours. Differences such as a new sub-screen displayed in its bottom screen, with the likes of Items and Masks menu operated by touch. Same display set-up used in for the 2011 3DS version of Ocarina of Time and being a touchscreen, handheld game, it features both touch controls and “motion controls,” thanks to its gyroscope, which only adds to the archery experience and actually makes it easier.
Then of course there is the biggest part of the game, the masks, and what a joy they all are. Each one brings a little something to the table, but none more so than the Deku Mask, Goron Mask, Zora Mask and Fierce Deity Mask. The first three are essential to completing many puzzles in and out of the dungeons. As for the Fierce Deity Mask, it’s only the most powerful one of them all and makes defeating the final boss, a whole lot easier, but unless you gather every mask through side-quests and more, the Mask if the Fierce Deity will be denied to you for they are essential to obtain the mask come game’s end. As for the side-quests themselves, arguably they are some of the best going in all the Zelda series and even when knowing the outcome to all of them, they are still as story driven and emotional as before, especially the one between Anju and Kafei.
Majora’s Mask 3D, may be a remastered release in the year of its 15th anniversary, and the sequel to the game often hailed as the best videogame of all time, but you know what, it is not Ocarina of Time, never was & never will be and it was never meant to be a cheap remake of it. It was meant to be a game in its own right that only added to the world, story and characters established in OoT. It is a game worthy of its own praise, merit and brings its own unique set of gameplay and story to it. Skull Kid was never the villain to MM, it was Ocarina right from day one, but that was only because of the perspective of the ones playing it. Gamers who have since realised the errors of their ways and now see the game in its full glory, without the overbearing shadow of Ocarina, a fact well known during recent years when hordes of us begged and campaigned for a remake of Majora’s Mask.
And with shadow lifted and hours of gameplay out of the way, it is time to bust out another batch of Pros & Cons:
-Majora’s Mask is as emotional and compelling as ever.
-Plenty of replay value in the form of side-quests, and areas to explore and two Skulltula Houses.
-Beautifully remastered and restored back to life with sharper details.
-Home to a world full of characters you can’t help but fall in love with, with one of the most beloved incarnations of Link, serving as the protagonist.
-The sub-screen menus. As nice as they are, I do miss the old one from the original game and same is said for Ocarina of Time 3D. The original game had a beautiful sub-screen that worked to perfection.
-As for the only other con I have with this game, purely the fact it is not on the Wii U, instead of being exclusive to just the 3DS, it would have been great to see it on the Wii U as well as both 3DS and Wii U Gamepad possess two screens (when playing on the television) and touchscreen. They could have taken a leaf out of The Wind Waker HD with the Menu appearing on the Gamepad but can also be accessible via Off-TV play.
There really is nothing I can truly fault this game on, same with its 3D prequel, they are every bit as great as their predecessors and that is why Majora’s Mask gallops in with a very high 9.6/10.0 discovered scattered fairies. A score it also achieves in our very own Zelda chart, which can be found at the bottom of the review. Majora’s Mask really is one of the very best in a long series of great games and of the better games of 2015.
But as always, the thoughts and opinions expressed here are those of my own and it is encouraged for you to make your own.
The OFFICIAL Miketendo64 Zelda Series Chart: (by J.H. Longman)
(List of Games include all those Played & Completed by ourselves and Games to follow)
(1986) The Legend of Zelda 9.0/10.0
(1988) The Adventure of Link 7.6/10.0
(1992) A Link to the Past 9.0/10.0
(1993) Link’s Awakening 7.6/10.0
(1998) Ocarina of Time 9.9/10.0
(2000) Majora’s Mask 9.6/10.0
(2001) Oracle of Seasons 7.3/10.0
(2001) Oracle of Ages 7.3/10.0
(2005) Minish Cap 8.8/10.0
(2006) Twilight Princess 9.8/10.0
(2007) Phantom Hourglass 8.5/10.0
(2008 Spirit Tracks 8.4/10.0
(2011) Ocarina of Time 3D *To be determined upon review
(2011) Skyward Sword 9.4/10.0
(2013) Wind Waker HD 9.1/10.0
(2013) A Link Between Worlds 9.3/10.0
(2014) Hyrule Warriors 9.5/10.0
(2015) Majora’s Mask 3D 9.6/10.0
(2015) Tri Force Heroes 7.3/10.0
(2016) Twilight Princess HD *To be determined upon review
(2016) Hyrule Warriors Legends *To be determined upon review
(2016) Zelda U *To be determined upon review