Ocarina of Time Is Underrated by Its Biggest Fans

Fans of Ocarina of Time can sometimes be a little touchy. Many feel their favorite game is beyond reproach, and they’ll respond with outrage when someone dares to suggest it’s less than perfect. Yet in doing so, they completely miss what made the game great in the first place.

Ocarina doesn’t have perfect controls or pulse-pounding boss fights, but it doesn’t need those things to be fantastic. The little details are what lend the game its magic. It’s at its best in small moments, like the way Link smiles when he learns a new song, or the feeling you get when you catch a glimpse of Hyrule Field. Minor characters like Grog are completely fascinating, and the game’s world feels fleshed out and real.

link ocarina

When gamers refuse to acknowledge Ocarina‘s flaws, they fail to appreciate how impressive the game really is. It’s a game that does a lot of small things tremendously well, and that’s a rare quality. It’s great in big ways too — like its spectacular soundtrack — but the minutiae is what makes it worth playing over and over again.

Spectacular games are allowed to be flawed. The best games are willing to take big risks, and not all of those risks are going to pan out. Yes, Ocarina‘s Z-targeting sometimes sucked, and yes, its puzzles weren’t as good as they could have been. That doesn’t mean the game wasn’t impressive, and it doesn’t mean it didn’t change the Zelda series for the better.

Some games have no room for missteps, but Ocarina of Time isn’t one of them. It’s the kind of game that can work its way into your heart in a real and permanent way. When I think about my time with Ocarina, I don’t think about the frustrations of the Water Temple (which I actually enjoyed). I think about dancing Gorons and how it felt when I rode Epona for the very first time.

ocarina of time epona

If you truly appreciate Ocarina, you have to accept that the game can afford a few missteps. Ocarina of Time is extraordinary in a way few games manage to be. Its story is heart-pounding from start to finish, and its attention to detail makes the game unusually immersive. By the time you reach the ending, it feels like you’ve actually lived in Hyrule, and that you’ve actually experienced an incredible adventure.

And its imperfections will never take away from that.

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