Nintendo Switch Online subscription members will have something special to look forward to in February. The Legend of Zelda: Majora’s Mask finally arrives to the service, though we can’t vouch for the eventual quality of the emulation.
Does Majora’s Mask Make the Service Expansion Pack a Worthy Investment at Last?
If you have never played The Legend of Zelda: Majora’s Mask, the answer is yes. However, there are issues that will make this NSO emulated take on the game an inferior version when compared to previous ports. While I might be wrong, I expect the game to have the same problems in terms of emulation that The Legend of Zelda: Ocarina of Time has had on the Switch Online Service.
On that note, Ocarina of Time did receive a recent Nintendo upgrade that improved the water rendering. Part of this upgrade included added reflections to water on the Water Temple during the Link vs. Dark Link Mini-Boss fight. This upgrade shows that there is a future and a possibility for improvements to the emulation system that Nintendo is utilizing, provided Nintendo feels that it is necessary to give its customers the highest quality emulation of their classic games.
I assume that there will be issues with controls. Ocarina of Time was not an easy game to control on the Switch, mainly because button mapping for the title matches the icons from the Nintendo 64 version. After playing hundreds of hours of the Nintendo 64 version, and dozens of the Nintendo 3DS remake, I still fumbled with the controls for an hour or two before I got comfortable with them.
I expect to experience a similar learning curve with Majora’s Mask when it finally arrives to the Nintendo Switch.
How Good is The Legend of Zelda: Majora’s Mask?
In my personal opinion? Majora’s Mask is top 3 of all time within this series. I ranked Majora’s Mask at number five in our top ten The Legend of Zelda games of all time, which might cause some controversy given my above statement about the game being a top 3 Zelda game.
The reason why I rated it so low in our official top ten is quite simple to explain. The top ten was based not only on my own preferences but each game’s critical reception. There had to be a balance to keep things fairly impartial to each individual entry in the series.
That said, The Legend of Zelda: Ocarina of Time is my all-time favorite game in this series and my all-time favorite game ever overall. It shouldn’t be surprising then that Majora’s Mask is my 2nd to 3rd favorite entry in the series (I can’t decide between it and Twilight Princess).
Majora’s Mask is a true and direct sequel to Ocarina of Time. Thus, it plays exactly the same and even re-uses the same assets. For someone who couldn’t get enough of Ocarina of Time, Majora’s Mask was a true godsend.
Thanks to its use of the 4MB Expansion Pak, Majora’s Mask features minor visual improvements in terms of colors and texturing. Termina looks distinctive enough from Hyrule without ever losing its eerie similarities, helping the game achieve a truly Bizarro feel.
Majora’s Mask’s 3 Day Cycle is Unique to the Series and Gaming
Nintendo Switch owners should be excited, even though I think the 3DS version of the game is the best way to experience it today (due to quality-of-life improvements), Majora’s Mask remains unique in contrast to any other Zelda entry in the series.
Majora’s 3-Day Cycle presented Nintendo with the opportunity to craft a living breathing world in which its denizens all had schedules and daily tasks of varying degrees of complexity. Depending on the day and time of day (or night) in the game’s (in-game) 72-hour period, certain NPCs would be at different spots in the world, performing a variety of different tasks.
For the most part, every single NPC in the game had a certain importance to Link and his quest to save the world from the approaching Moon of doom.
While Ocarina of Time is the game named after Link’s trusty musical instrument, I believe that I played the Ocarina 100 times more often in MM than I did in OoT. This is because slowing, speeding, and resetting time were key to surviving the 3-Day Apocalyptic event besieging Termina (MM’s new world).
Majora’s Mask has some of the most interesting NPC’s and most elaborate side quests that you will find in any game to date. As such, I feel that it has aged better than most games of its era. I wholeheartedly recommend giving this game a try if you haven’t played it yet.
Nintendo 64’s Library on NSO Remains Anemic But it is Improving
With Banjo-Kazooie, Paper Mario, and the upcoming Majora’s Mask addition, the N64 library is growing at a ‘faster than I expected’ rate. However, I still can’t recommend the service as it remains quite anemic in terms of titles available. Most of the games that I really want to see on the service (apart from Nintendo’s first party stuff) like Mystical Ninja, Quest 64, and Ogre Battle 64 remain absent.
While NSO and its expansion pack are a ‘nice’ little package for gamers looking to get back into Nintendo 64 games, the service still has plenty of room for growth and improvement.
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