It's like a fuzzy memory with a beautiful new shine.
Scroll down to the bottom for a video review.
Judging The Legend of Zelda: Ocarina of Time 3D is a challenge. How exactly do you evaluate one of the greatest games of all time nearly 13 years after it first came out? One way is to just put the important information into two quantifiable sentences. If you've never played Ocarina of Time before, this is a must purchase. If you ever get the feeling that you want to replay Ocarina of Time again, you should play this version, because it is the definitive version of the first 3D Zelda, and even when compared to modern games, it is very much a fantastic game from start to finish.
The big changes in this game are the stereoscopic 3D and improved graphics. Nearly every aspect of the game has been lovingly altered, looking more like a modern game than a 13-year-old Nintendo 64 game. The frame rate is great, and while some characters look better than others, Link especially, nothing looks bad or out of place. The whole world is cohesive. The 3D isn't necessary, but it certainly looks beautiful. The particle effects, particularly in areas such as Kokiri Forest, are spectacular, and the moments where you fall from great distances, such as when you jump into the water in Zora's Domain, are exhilarating.
The gameplay is unaltered, so everything you remember is more or less exactly the same. You still control Link in the third person and take him on a quest spanning seven years and numerous towns and dungeons. However, all of these locations are graphically enhanced, and are no longer flat backgrounds. The pace for the 20 hours plus game rarely sags, and you'll continue to see new areas, even in the final hours. Though, if you've played it before, you'll easily beat the game in less than that.
The few changes to the game make the experience a lot easier and streamlined. The touch screen is used as an inventory screen, and you can have two items mapped to the X and Y buttons, in addition to two more mapped to easily tappable touch screen buttons. The optional gyro controls for the first-person view are, surprisingly, wonderful. They are very useful for fine-tuning your aim and the slower-paced segments of the game. Certain areas of the game, specifically the Water Temple, have a few changes to make the level easier to navigate. At the end of the day, though, if a portion of the game annoyed you in the original version, it'll annoy you now.
The best change to the game, in my eyes, is the new Zelda version of the Super Guide. You can access visions that give you a hint of what to do next but don't specifically tell you what to do. It's very nice to have access to a spoiler-free walkthrough of sorts available in game, and it was indispensable for portions of the game I didn't remember as clearly. The implementation is so good, every other game from this point forward would benefit from using this system for the Super Guide.
Ocarina of Time 3D also includes Master Quest, which was featured in the bonus disc for The Legend of Zelda: Wind Waker. Unfortunately, it is locked when you first play the game, and is only available after you beat the regular game once. There are a few more changes to Master Quest in this game, though. It's now mirrored, so Link is a righty like he was in the Wii version of Twilight Princess, and the enemies do more damage, making it more difficult.
Lastly, there is a Boss Challenge mode that tasks you with completing bosses as quickly as you can. As far as I could discern, there doesn't seem to be any tangible reward other than "you beat Gohma in 45 seconds!" There are a lot of Easter eggs scattered throughout the game, including some references to Link's upcoming Wii adventure. It's nothing more than fan service, but it's rewarding to uncover these treats.
Ocarina of Time was an amazing game when it first came out in 1998, and in 2011, it's still just as good, even more so with all the additions and tweaks in the 3D version. If you've never played Ocarina of Time before, run out and buy this immediately. If you're intimately familiar with the game, there's nothing too new in this version to pull you in, though if you ever get the urge to play it again, Ocarina of Time 3D lets you experience all your wonderful memories with a brand new modern feel.