How do you follow up a critically acclaimed title? You tread with caution as you don’t want to make a dramatic shift from something that works, but also you don’t want to simply repeat what you’ve done before. A good sequel adds and improves upon instead of simple rehashing. Which is where we enter Majoras Mask a game that has become a cult classic to everyone’s favorite Zelda game in the span of fifteen years. Now that it’s been remastered for the 3DS how has this game stood against the river of time?
The biggest departure that any new player will notice is the break from the traditional story that comes with The Legend of Zelda. Instead of rescuing Princess Zelda, Link is transported to another world named Termina. While I criticized Ocarina of Time’s copy and paste story Majoras Mask attempts to make you not only care about saving the world just because it’s a video game but you want to save the world because through the course of the game you become immersed with the troubles of Termina. So while the main story of Marjoras Mask still falls into the simplistic category, it’s the world building that makes the story all the greater.
Nothing about Termina’s world building is laid out before you and chances are you’ll miss out on some emotional moments. Subtlety is what makes diving deep into the lore of Termina rewarding. I had genuine moments of depression and moments of jubilation, depending on what given story I was chasing.
With previous Zelda titles there would be several dungeons one must conquer before beating the game, instead Termina only provides us with four and they are some of the best in the franchise’s history. Each dungeon brings their own unique atmosphere, puzzles, and they do their best of leading the player down the correct path without holding the players hand. Proving that sometimes less is more, so instead the core gameplay of Majoras Mask is side questing and collecting various masks. Which in turn provides more freedom than any Zelda game previously established.
Majoras Mask rewards players who go out there way and look in every nook and cranny with either a new heart container or another mask to add to your collection. Yes the game suggests you to go along with the main story but once you complete the second dungeon the game opens up immensely. If you’re a person who isn’t interested partaking in any side quests then this game won’t be for you.
Despite being positive I did have a few problems with this game and the big one is the 3 day cycle.Even though the 3DS version has made managing time less intimidating, but it doesn’t make the three day cycle any less of a factor that new players will have to adjust to. While yes you can learn the reverse song of time, time isn’t slow down by that much at all. The three day cycle is something that each player can decided for themselves whether they like it or not, it’s one thing to read or see it in action, it’s entirely different to experience in real time.
A minor nitpick that annoyed while playing the 3DS version of this game, is that when your in Termina field and you have the 3D on high the framerate drops horrendously. It’s most likely because of the increase detail and higher textures, heck on the N64 version you needed the ram expansion pack for Majoras Mask to even play the game. If you’re someone who doesn’t use the 3D feature at all, then this is a non issue. Thankfully this slowed down frame rate is only in Termina Field.
I have neglected the fact that Link can change into three different characters, giving Link three different play styles. Adding more depth to the gameplay and being able to combat puzzles in different manners. The only one I can’t stand is Zora Link. On land Zora Link is kick ass and nifty to control, when he’s underwater and you swim with him is my biggest problem with him. First off the camera doesn’t even follow you properly and even on the “new” 3DS you can’t control the camera with the c-stick. Making swimming in the third dimension a big pain in the ass. Plus in order to swim fast you need to use your magic meter and for some reason the magic meter depletes before the player realizes it.
Majoras Mask is definitely the oddball in the Zelda series but it’s proof that breaking the formula once in a while can lead to some amazing results. This is game is far from perfect from my eyes, as I feel the three day cycle is still to limiting and ultimately when you complete a sidequest then reverse time the sidequest is undone. Which takes away the idea of making the world of Termina better. Other than that, it’s beautiful story and compelling music to go along with the four best dungeons in the Zelda series makes Majoras Mask so amazing. It does have it’s flaws but once you get sucked into the world of Terimina, it’s nearly impossible to escape.
The Legend of Zelda: Majoras Mask earns a 8/10