Man did I ever love the first part of this game. All the effusive praise I could muster for this concept, the cool creepy vibe of a world living the same three days over and over before ending completely...
Then the game kept going. And going. And repeating. I can’t even imagine playing this on the N64 without the QoL changes in the 3DS version and not going insane. And it’s not to say Majora’s Mask is a bad game - I can see a certain type of player loving this. For me, however, it was an absolute nightmare.
Start a long quest chain, days in the making, screw it up, have to repeat. Miss a jump, time runs out, have to repeat. It’s maddening and the design was great at the start when it was super tight but I just could not stand it as I went on.
That looming time limit is part of the game but it just prevents you from actually enjoying the damn thing. And yes you keep your good gear at the end of it, but it also constantly undoes your work - hey you saved the swamp and cleaned up the poison, now beat the boss again on another run if you need to do any more shit in there.
I do think the de-emphasis on the dungeons is not terrible - you get some fun mini-dungeons and lots of other side quests. And the world and characters become familiar with repetition. AND the side stuff gives meaningful rewards because the lack of dungeons means they’re hurling heart pieces at you left, right, and center. The dungeon rewards are all arrow types, which really takes the fun out of opening the big chest to see what’s inside once you realize what’s going on.
The masks are fun but most are very one note. The game hardly gives you enough direction, which is a product of the time, but it’s annoying. I just... it’s not for me.
Best dungeon is probably the Zora based one, which is intricate but mercifully colour-coded. None of the enemies are particularly annoying this time around, so the annoying enemy award can go to the rigid scheduling of events .
It’s tough to rank - yeah it is better than the 8-bit Zeldas but I’d play Adventures of Link again before this one any day of the frigging week.
1) Link to the Past
2) Ocarina of Time
3) Link’s Awakening
4) Zelda 2: The Adventure of Link
5) Majora’s Mask
6) The Legend of Zelda
Next up, the dual package of Oracle of Ages/Seasons, which I will probably rank in a lump rather than split, unless I (unlikely) have woefully differing opinions on them. Then it’s on to the game that got 3D Zelda right and may still be my favorite in the series - Wind Waker.