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The Legend of Zelda: Majora’s Mask brings better camera control, streamlined systems

The Legend of Zelda: Majora’s Mask (released in 2000) might be the darkest and most difficult Zelda game. (Remember the Goron Racetrack? I’ve never fallen off a cliff more times in my life.) Nintendo hopes we’ll all head back to Termina for a second go-round on the 3DS with The Legend of Zelda: Majora’s Mask 3D. This is a complete revamp with fresh, smooth graphics, and a fine coat of gloss.

We had a chance to play the game on the New Nintendo 3DS XL, and walked away impressed.

This is the same game you remember, but with a stable frame rate, tweaked boss battles, two fishing holes (with 20 types of fish), and a working save system. Yep, instead returning to the beginning of the game’s three-day cycle each time you shut the game off, you can now save the game’s state at any owl statue, and there are more of them than before.

The Nintendo 64 port also has a number of enhancements that shine brightest if you play on a New 3DS XL. For starters, the C-Stick (nub) on the new handheld gives you full 360-degree camera control, which is welcome in Majora’s dark dungeons and complex Clock Town city.

Because the new New 3DS’s face-tracking 3D doesn’t flicker and break when you look at it from an angle, the gyroscope first-person aiming also works great for things like shooting bubbles as Deku Link. In Ocarina of Time 3D, first person aiming was a chore this way, and you couldn’t keep 3D on unless you wanted your eyes to water. Now it’s faster and more natural than using the C-Stick.

Still, the coolest enhancement benefits all 3DS systems. Nintendo has drastically improved the Bombers’ Notebook. The real depth of Majora’s Mask comes from meeting all the people of Clock Town during the three days before the moon kills them all, and helping them out to earn things like masks. The Bomber boys help you do this with a notebook of quests.

In the original game, you pretty much needed a guide to figure the Bombers’ Notebook out, but now you can now view rumored, completed, and ongoing quests from a simple list interface, which shows you when to meet up with characters. The map is more interactive and makes it easier to find the citizens of Clock Town you’re looking for, as well. There’s even an alarm so you don’t forget to meet up with someone. (Another bonus: the Song of Double Time now lets you transport yourself to any hour in the day.)

Majora’s Mask is revered as one of the best Zelda games, but it was also needlessly difficult and confusing at times. With support for additional camera control, and a boatload of notable enhancements, The Legend of Zelda: Majora’s Mask 3D looks like it will be a fun romp back in time. It hits U.S. shelves for all 3DS systems on February 13, 2015. Did I mention it has a lot more fish to catch? It does.

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