a.k.a. The Shire
Game: The Legend of Zelda: Majora's Mask.
Platform: Wii (Virtual Console Edition).
First Time: Yes.
Time Taken: 68:30 hours, according to the Wii log.
Completion: Completed main quest, most side quests.
(Image credited to Nintendo Life)
The Legend of Zelda: Majora's Mask is the direct sequel to the stellar The Legend of Zelda: Ocarina of Time. It recycles the same graphics, the same gameplay, and many of the same creatures and items. At the same time it introduces a few new wrinkles.
As in previous Zelda games, the world consists of a more-or-less open overworld connecting the main town with scattered "villages", and puzzle- and combat- based dungeons that must be tackled one at a time. Along the way, Link will acquire increasingly powerful items that will help him in his quest.
The central new mechanic of Majora's Mask is manipulation of time. Link finds himself in Clock Town in the land of Termina, where the citizens are preparing for the annual Carnival of Time, at dawn in 3 days' (and nights') time. At the same time, a huge (and scary) moon is falling out of the sky, which if not stopped, will crush them at the same moment. Three days is not long enough to save the world, and so Link will need to replay the same 72 hours repeatedly, with help from the Ocarina of Time, on which he can play melodies that slow, skip or reset time. When Link resets time, he only retains the major items he has collected (including hearts, weapons, masks, money in the bank) but not the consumables (including arrows, money, and the contents of bottles). Other than that the world (including the dungeons) will be completely reset.
The second focus of Majora's Mask is the collection and use of masks. Some of these transform Link into a different race (a Deku Scrub for example, shown in the screenshot above), giving him unique movement, combat and other abilities, while others merely change how characters and creatures react to him. The use of masks is analogous to items, with them being assigned to item buttons.
The third focus of Majora's Mask is an increased emphasis on characters and side quests. Many of the characters have schedules, and will move from place to place at predetermined times in the 3 day cycle, meaning that Link will have to be in the right place at the right time to interact with them, and help them. Various events also occur at particular times (for example, a workman might complete his work at dawn on the final day) meaning that opportunities open up (or close down) at that time. Several of the side quests are quite involved, and Link can obtain a Notebook to help him keep track of key plot lines.
Aside from these emphases, playing Majora's Mask feels like playing Ocarina of Time. It looks and feels almost identical, and although the story is different, the gameplay is mostly unchanged. This is certainly a good thing, as the gameplay of Ocarina of Time was really good.
Overall then, these are the things I thought were wonderful (or annoying) about Majora's Mask:
Characters: A lot of work has gone into the characters and their interactions, and their realism is certainly a step up from Ocarina of Time. They have their own schedules and stories and motivations, and interacting with them is consequently a richer experience.
Dungeons: The puzzly environments, minidungeons and full dungeons are brilliantly designed and satisfying to play through. As always, they are a highlight of a Zelda game.
Masks: The expanded mask mechanic is really interesting, providing special abilities that are usually provided by items in other Zelda games. The racial masks (e.g. Deku Scrub) are particularly interesting, allowing Link to become almost a completely different person, which adds immensely to the fun of gameplay, as well as adding a wonderful extra dimension to the experience.
It's Ocarina: Pretty much everything wonderful about Ocarina of Time is also true of Majora's Mask; it has the same tight environmental and dungeon design, array of useful items, interesting and humorous character interactions, clever puzzles...
Skip Travel: Majora's Mask introduces save points (boo/yay). There are 10 of them scattered usefully around the world, and as well as allowing you to save your game (although you can only reload it once), you can skip directly to them. This is a great time saver. You can also skip out to the dungeon entrance. (When you reset time it also saves your game, and this save can be reloaded multiple times).
Resetting Time: While I understand that time manipulation is part of the design of the game, I didn't enjoy it. I resenting losing much of my inventory, and having the world reset, every time I ran out of time (which was often). It made me feel like I wasn't progressing. Also, I twice arrived at a boss door only to have the final 6 hour countdown begin, leaving insufficient time to defeat the boss AND return the collected fairies, meaning that I had to reset time and do most of the dungeon again.
Waiting: Another byproduct of the time system is having to meet certain characters at certain places at certain times. While this makes them more "real", it's annoying from a gameplay perspective. Only crude time skipping is available, so often you find you're standing around waiting for someone to turn up for several minutes at a time. And if you fail to make the connection, you need to reset the 3 day cycle and do it all over again.
Controls: The controls feel sometimes clunky and unresponsive compared with modern games. I had trouble with camera control and Z-targeting in some of the more difficult battles.
Display: The heads-up-display in Majora's Mask is slightly expanded over the Ocarina of Time one, and later in that game I felt that it was obscuring a rather large proportion of the screen (see screenshot above) with no option to turn it off.
Lack of Direction: Unlike Ocarina of Time, which was fairly directive and linear, Majora's Mask makes you figure things out for yourself a lot more. Particularly in Clock Town, and at the beginning of the game, it's not always obvious what you need to do. Some people might enjoy the exploration and discovery, but I found it discouraging.
Majora's Mask is the sequel to Ocarina of Time. If you want more OOT, Majora's Mask delivers. It takes the raw materials of OOT and creates something new with them. It's a little bit harder, a little bit different, a little more polished, but equally well crafted. Some people will like the time manipulation mechanic, some will not, but even if you don't, the masks and dungeons make it a wonderful experience.
- Last edited Sun Feb 2, 2014 3:49 am (Total Number of Edits: 1)
- Posted Tue Dec 31, 2013 11:01 pm