The Legend of Zelda: Majora’s Mask 3D, Nintendo’s latest 3DS remake of a Nintendo 64 classic, is almost out. Reviews are up all throughout the internet today, and you’ll be able to read our official review before the game is released on February 13. (Yes, I’m still trying to wrap this one up. It’s been almost 15 years since I last played through the whole game.) In the meantime, we can share a few of the most important bits of information about the game.
The next handheld from Nintendo is called the New Nintendo 3DS. It’s an upgrade on the original 3DS, with more powerful hardware, a built-in analog nub and two more shoulder buttons. It comes out the same day as Majora’s Mask 3D, which will inextricably link the two in the minds of the public. There will be games that can only be played on the New Nintendo 3DS, but Majora’s Mask 3D is not one of them. You can play this on the same 3DS or 2DS that you’ve been smudging up for years now. I point this out because, until my review copy arrived, I totally thought this game only worked on the new system. That points out a fundamental problem with the New Nintendo 3DS: the name is simply too confusing. “New” is not useful or distinct enough of an adjective to set this system apart. How many kids will ask for the New Nintendo 3DS for their birthdays, only for their parents to just buy them a new version of the standard Nintendo 3DS? Even if the New 3DS is fully replacing the older models, retailers will presumably sell through their remaining inventory, leading to marketplace confusion. It makes sense for Majora’s Mask 3D to be a New 3DS exclusive, so I assumed it would be. Fortunately Nintendo is releasing it for the systems that players already own.
Nintendo announced that some of the boss battles in Majora’s Mask would be altered for the new version. Some of the changes are minor, but others drastically change how you’ll approach these fights. The timing of some bosses’ attack patterns have been revised, and some types of attacks have been removed altogether. The weak spots of some bosses have shifted, and their defensive tactics might be different. There doesn’t seem to be any consistent strategy to the changes—some make the battles more difficult, some less difficult, and some simply seem geared to remove camera issues present in the original game. Either way, you won’t always be able to rely on memory or ancient online walkthroughs to make it some of the game’s harder spots.
This isn’t a surprise. In fact, technical issues like this are the main reason to remake these games in the first place. As in other handheld Zelda games, the second screen works perfectly for your map and inventory, letting you equip new items or plot your course without having to pull up a separate menu. The in-game camera can be adjusted by using the 3DS’s gyro sensor, letting you angle the device around to see Link’s surroundings, and on the New 3DS you’ll apparently be able to use the second analog nub to control the camera. The early 3D games on the Nintendo 64 feel clunkier today than they did at the time, naturally, so it’s good to have a version of Majora’s Mask that’s more in line with contemporary expectations.
Majora’s Mask, of course, is built heavily around time travel. Link has three days to save the world, and has to jump through time to make that happen. In the original he uses spells that essentially fast forward twelve hours or so, changing from day to night or vice versa. In the new version those spells are more precise, letting you pick the time you jump to. Also you can now save at owl statues, providing extra purpose for the useful outposts spread throughout the land.
Maybe there’s a huge community of videogame anglers that has been clamoring for this for years. I don’t know. But Nintendo has been touting that Majora’s Mask 3D lets you go fishing. It has a couple of holes to cast a line into, with a variety of fish to pull up. The Zelda has a long history with fishing minigames, so I’m sure many fans are excited to see it expanded in Majora’s Mask 3D.
As I said, we’ll have a full review of Majora’s Mask 3D next week, along with more information on the New Nintendo 3DS.
Garrett Martin edits Paste’s games and comedy sections. Follow him on Twitter @grmartin.