LOZ: OOT - Reception and Legacy

Reception and Legacy

Aggregate scores
Aggregator Score
GameRankings 97.54% (28 reviews)
Metacritic 99 / 100 (22 reviews)
GameStats 9.8 / 10 (29 reviews)
Review scores
Publication Score
Computer and Video Games 9 / 10
Edge 10 / 10
Electronic Gaming Monthly 10 / 10
Famitsu 40 / 40
Game Revolution A
GamesMaster 97%
GameSpot 10.0 / 10
IGN 10.0 / 10
Nintendo Power 9.5 / 10
Electric Playground 10 / 10
Gamestyle 10 / 10
GMR 10 / 10
Next Generation Magazine
Nintendojo 10 / 10
RPGamer 5 / 5
Thunderbolt 10 / 10
Entity Award
CESA Award, Electronic Gaming Monthly, Games, GameSpot, Interactive Achievement Award, Japan Media Arts Festival, VSDA Award Game of the Year
CVG, Edge, Entertainment Weekly, GameFAQs, GameStats, GameTrailers, Guinness, IGN, Metacritic, Next Generation, Nintendo Power Greatest Game of All Time

Ocarina of Time was released to outstanding, widespread critical acclaim and strong commercial success worldwide. In 1998, it sold 2.5 million copies despite being released only 39 days before the end of the year. In Japan, it sold 820,000 copies in 1998, becoming the tenth-best-selling game of that year. During its lifetime, Ocarina of Time sold 1.14 million copies in Japan, and 7.6 million copies worldwide. On its initial N64 release, Ocarina of Time received perfect review scores from the majority of gaming publications that reviewed it, including Famitsu, Edge, Electronic Gaming Monthly, GameSpot, and IGN. As of January 2013, the review aggregator websites Metacritic and GameRankings rank the original Nintendo 64 version as the highest respectively second highest reviewed game of all time, with average scores of 99/100 from Metacritic and 97.54% from GameRankings. The reviews praised multiple aspects of the game, particularly its level design, gameplay mechanics and sound. Former GameSpot reviewer Jeff Gerstmann wrote that Ocarina of Time is "a game that can't be called anything other than flawless", and IGN called it "the new benchmark for interactive entertainment" that could "shape the action RPG genre for years to come". GameTrailers' editors called it a "walking patent office" due to the number of features that became "industry standard". After publication, Ocarina of Time was featured on a number of compiled lists of best or most influential games, including those of Electronic Gaming Monthly, IGN, and Nintendo Power. In June 2009, it was voted as the best game ever in GameFAQs' reader poll. Ocarina of Time has consistently been placed at number one in Edge magazine's "top 100 games" lists: a staff-voted list in January 2000, a staff- and reader-voted list in July 2007, and a list of "The 100 Best Games to Play Today" in March 2009. In May, 2011, IGN held a tournament style competition voted on by fans celebrating the 25th anniversary of the original Legend of Zelda's release, with Ocarina of Time being voted the greatest Zelda game of all time, beating Majora's Mask in the final round. It beat The Adventure of Link in Round 1, Phantom Hourglass in Round 2, and The Wind Waker in Round 3.

The graphics were praised for their depth and detail, although reviewers noted they were not always the best the console had to offer. Game Revolution noted the characters' faces, the "toughest graphical challenge on 3D characters", saying that the characters' expressions and animation featured "surprising grace". IGN felt that Ocarina of Time improved on the graphics of Super Mario 64, giving a larger sense of scale. Impressive draw distances and large boss characters were also mentioned as graphical highlights. Although excelling in the use of color and the visibility and detail of the environment, reviewers noted that some graphical elements of Ocarina of Time did not perform as well as Banjo-Kazooie, a game released for the same platform earlier that year. IGN said that the frame rate and textures of Ocarina of Time were not as good as those of Banjo-Kazooie, particularly in the marketplace of Hyrule Castle, which was called "blurry".

Gameplay was generally praised as detailed, with many side quests to occupy players' time. IGN said players would be "amazed at the detail" of the environment and the "amount of thought that went into designing it". EGM enjoyed that Nintendo was able to take the elements of the older, 2D Zelda games and "translate it all into 3D flawlessly". Nintendo Power cited Ocarina of Time, along with Super Mario 64, as two games that "blazed trails" into the 3D era. The context-sensitive control system was seen as one of the strongest elements of the gameplay. Reviewers noted that it allowed for simpler control using fewer buttons, but that it occasionally caused the player to perform unintended actions. The camera control was quoted as making combat "second nature", although the new system took time for the player to get used to.

The game's audio was generally well-received, with IGN comparing some of Koji Kondo's pieces to the work of Philip Glass. Many atmospheric sounds and surround sound were designed to effectively immerse the player in the game world. Some reviewers complained that the audio samples used in the game sounded dated; others considered this a benefit, calling them "retro". Game Revolution called the sound "good for the Nintendo, but not great in the larger scheme of things" and noted that the cartridge format necessitated "MIDI tunes that range from fair to terrible".

In 1998, Ocarina of Time won the Grand Prize in the Interactive Art division at the Japan Media Arts Festival. It also won six honors at the 2nd Annual Interactive Achievement Awards, including "Game of the Year", "Outstanding Achievement in Interactive Design", "Outstanding Achievement in Software Engineering", "Console Game of the Year", "Console Adventure Game of the Year" and "Console RPG of the Year". The game was placed second in Official Nintendo Magazine's "100 greatest Nintendo games of all time".

Reception for the Master Quest and Virtual Console re-releases were positive; while some considered aspects of the graphics and audio to be outdated, most thought that the game has aged well. The Master Quest version holds an average score of 89.50% on GameRankings and 91/100 on Metacritic. IGN said in their review, "Ocarina of Time has aged extremely well", and noted in regard to the game's graphics, "While the textures and models look dated, the game's wonderful visual presentation stood the test of time." Game Revolution said that although the game has "noticeably aged compared to brand new RPGs it's still a terrific game", awarding 91 out of 100. Former GameSpot editor Jeff Gerstmann gave the Virtual Console port 8.9 out of 10, writing, "Even after nine years, Ocarina of Time holds up surprisingly well, offering a lengthy and often-amazing adventure". Edge magazine commented in its 2007 "The 100 Best Games" special issue, " was an astonishing achievement in 1998 and, almost a decade later, still serves as the landmark for its successors and 3D adventure games in general... In a series composed of awfully big adventures, Ocarina may no longer be the prettiest, or even the biggest, but it's still the best of all."

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