Finally, after years of speculation, Ocarina of Time’s controversial sequel is coming to the 3DS. But The Legend of Zelda: Majora's Mask has always been a pretty game; even with the enhanced power of the 3DS. With that in mind, how much better can it really look? Thanks to intrepid YouTuber ninten2tv, we now know the answer.
Ninten2tv juxtaposed shots from The Legend of Zelda: Majora’s Mask 3D’s announcement trailer with footage from the original Nintendo 64 title, and the effect is striking. For one, the remake looks significantly clearer, with vibrant colors replacing the original’s muddy browns and greens. The 3DS’s more powerful hardware means that all of the models have a higher polygon count too. Where the N64 version sports sharp angles, particularly on the faces of main characters, Majora’s Mask 3D is smooth and round.
The moon from Majora's Mask looks even scarier in the new edition – something we previously thought to be impossible. Bulbous features distort its menacing grimace and ambient light reflects off its uneven teeth. It’s the kind of visual that seems specifically designed to give you nightmares for weeks.
Thankfully, all these visual enhancements haven’t undercut the moody, otherworldly atmosphere that was established in the original game. Aesthetically, Majora’s Mask has always been one of the darkest Zelda titles; while the graphics are technically brighter in the remake, the more sophisticated models and deeper color palette make things look even stranger. This is still the same adventure fans know and love, with all its inherent weirdness; it just looks better.
Aside from the visuals, Nintendo hasn’t announced what will be changing in The Legend of Zelda: Majora’s Mask 3D, although we can probably gather some clues from The Legend of Zelda: Ocarina of Time 3D. Like Majora’s Mask 3D, 2012’s Ocarina of Time 3D is an update of a classic N64 Zelda title. That 3DS remake added a handful of new features, most notably touchscreen-based inventory management and gyroscopic controls, which streamlined gameplay immensely. It’s likely we’ll see similar improvements when Majora’s Mask 3D launches in spring 2015.
The original Majora’s Mask occupies a strange place in the Zelda canon. It received rave reviews when it came out in 2000, but sold nowhere near as many copies as Ocarina of Time. Comparisons between the two games are inevitable, and Majora’s Mask rarely comes out on top. Some players claim that Majora’s Mask’s looping time travel structure and dark storyline make it the most mature, intelligent entry in the Zelda franchise, while others find the unconventional structure and bizarre setting off-putting.
Whatever your opinion of the title, fans in Europe will be able to buy a special edition of Legend of Zelda: Majora’s Mask 3D when it comes out next spring. That package includes a collector’s pin, a steelbook case, and a two-sided poster. Sadly, this special edition hasn’t been announced for other territories, meaning we’ll have to settle for the regular (albeit gorgeous) standard edition.
The Legend of Zelda: Majora’s Mask 3D is scheduled for spring 2015, exclusively on the Nintendo 3DS.