Majora’s Mask is a very interesting entry in the Zelda franchise, it is widely considered a very big hit or miss title among fans, in the case of this I was always on the fan side, even if I had failed to ever finish the game. Irregardless of how we view the game we all share some common views on the original, namely a couple of small problems which needed addressing, this in turn is where a remake was relevant, it needed to help the game fix its issues and find new fans, meanwhile continuing to be faithful to the original. This is exactly what it does in Majora’s Mask 3D while also building further to create an amazing remake that is true to a classic.
Majora’s Mask sets out as a much different experience to most other Zelda games, particularly its predecessor Ocarina of Time, the game simply throws you into the action with very little to go on. We are quickly thrown into the land of Termina with the impeding destruction of the land a concern that we must address, the game never wastes time offering opening tutorials or even a proper introduction sequence. Instead simply we are tasked with retrieving a mask and saving the world, or at least that is the basic idea of what is shown, beyond that there is a whole lot that is not said that plays in beautifully with the world.
The world is not exactly happy, in fact there is actually quite a bit of sadness within and it is written in almost every corner of the game world. The world is littered with characters each with their own stories to tell, each one as interesting as the next, but also filled with a certain level of sadness that plays in with the desperate nature of the world. Although every character plays into the depressive nature of the world it is never a bad thing, it is actually what carries the game and helps us to connect to the characters and the world itself.
The moon is set to crash and destroy Termina in three days which is where one of the games key features comes in, which is time. Unlike past Zelda games you don’t have the same level of time as you normally would, with exactly seventy two short hours to save the world you are on a small time frame. This is where you are given three days of in game time, which is about an hour in real life to save the world, within this time frame you have to try and complete the games four dungeons as well as deal with a large variety of other problems. Of course this can’t be done all in one run and you constantly will have to restart your three days in order to make your way through the game, though this does at times lead to plenty of repetition.
While it is beneficial to the game for progression and achieving things in the game, restarting your three days contain its share of annoyances, namely side quests. It gets quite annoying having to recurringly restart side quests in each run because you are unable to fulfill all objectives at the time, and having to repeat said objectives over again does lose their thrill with each run.
Though in their defense there is one thing that did help these instances which is a new feature to the game, well sort of. Time was always able to be jumped originally which was a handy feature for getting to a specific day, though this has seen a handy upgrade which I found much handier when it came to handling specific objectives. Now you are able to skip to a specific hour which is good so you are not just wasting your time waiting for a specific hour, these even made my experience all the more greater.
Finding side quests is also much easier now, with a series of changes having been given to the Bombers notebook, which was a personal favourite piece of the original game. Originally the Bombers notebook provided basic times for when you had to accomplish specific goals, and only catered to a handful of people. The notebook has now seen a complete overhaul which makes it easier to keep track of objectives and even help find more, the book no longer just provides rough schedules, now it actually keeps track of rumoured events and ongoing objectives you have found. It is also quite easy to access and is easy to keep track of things in, I was glad of this for keeping track of the many missions that needed completing.
Majora’s Mask immediately seems like a much shorter game, it moves away from tradition only containing four dungeons that need completing, it immediately may seem shorter because of this but there is actually a whole lot of meat in the game. Following side quests takes up a lot of the games time, as well as there being four areas that require a lot of time to explore and are ripe for exploration.
Completing side quests often reward masks which are a primary part of Majora’s Mask, each mask is ripe with their own abilities that can be used to assist in multiple ways. Some help out in sidequests while others only house a single purpose, though most importantly with masks is the major three transformation masks which are key parts of the game. As you progress through the game you collect masks that provide you with new abilities including Goron, Zora and Deku. Each one achieves major use throughout the game even to the point where they become beneficial to completing dungeons using the individual abilities of each transformation.
Though one of these transformation was the beginning of one of my problems with the game, when I played the original release of Majora’s Mask I had quite a love for the Zora transformation. As a Zora you swam fast through the water sometimes almost uncontrollably, sadly this was removed for the remake and as the Zora you swim a lot slower, at times even to slow, it is possible to speed yourself up but it never quite feels the same as the original.
Likewise another change felt disappointing, at times I felt like my hand was being held which was particularly noticeable within the third dungeon. Ice arrows were important to the dungeon and when necessary to be used I was told exactly where to put them and I was unable to freeze things where I wanted.
Happily though there is enough to redeem some of the changes, the saving mechanic of the original game was extremely annoying only offering one way too fully save the game, this was by returning to the first day at times this removed some of the accessibility. Gladly saving is so much easier now, returning to the first day no longer saves the game, however the world is now littered with save points which make it much easier to stop and start the game addressing this little annoyance from the original game.
Majora’s Mask 3D is by no extent the definitive version of the game, however it is still a whole lot of fun and one of the Zelda franchises most memorable games. Sure it has a few changes which I did fail to get behind but for the most part this is the game I still remember from my childhood. It is fun, it is weird and it contains some of the most intriguing game design choices that I have come across, I can forgive the changes that I don’t like as the positives far outweigh the negatives and I still love this classic.