Hey out there to all handheld and standard Zelda fans alike, and a happy holiday season to all of you! I am out with a new piece in anticipation of the upcoming release of the Nintendo 3DS and, more importantly to most loyal Zelda fans, the remake of The Legend of Zelda: Ocarina of Time that will accompany it under the title of The Legend of Zelda: Ocarina of Time 3D. Like many I am sure are pondering the same question, I have been quietly weighing the pros and cons of buying this new handheld system largely for my love of the Zelda series.
While that sentiment was definitely present with the release of the Wii and the concurrent release of The Legend of Zelda: Twilight Princess back in 2006, this is the first time I have really been confronted with such a scenario for a handheld system. With past Zelda releases, I was able to play most handheld Zelda games on my Gameboy Color system for a good number of years, not necessitating much of a change until the release of The Legend of Zelda: The Minish Cap and its successors. The release of the first Nintendo DS game, The Legend of Zelda: Phantom Hourglass did prompt me to finally break down and buy a DS in 2007, but by that time the DS had been out for a few years and the price had come down somewhat to where it was more economical. What is unique about this upcoming release is that a Zelda title (a remake of one of my favorite games in the entire series) is being released supposedly around the same time as this new system itself, and to play it would necessitate buying the system almost as soon as it comes out, when the price is sure to be at its highest. This brings me to the central question of this piece: is it worth going out to pay between $200 and $250 plus tax and the cost of the game itself to be able to play this new handheld version of Ocarina of Time? Or would it be more prudent to hold off for a bit to see if the price of the system tapers off or to acquire a second-hand system and copy of the game at a reduced price?
Let us first measure the pros of buying the system and the game upon release:
1) We have a brand new version of one of the most compelling and popular installments in the entire series being released alongside the system.
2) The game, while likely to largely remain the same as its originator, is sure to have some differences and perhaps some new challenges given recent comments by the game creators.
3) Other handheld Zelda titles are almost certain to follow in this game’s wake that will likely be made for this system, necessitating a purchase of this system regardless at some point for those who wish to continue on with the series.
4) The system allows for a Virtual Console system, which makes adding older games for the Gameboy and Gameboy Advance possible.
There are many out there, like me, that have been so in love with the Zelda series up to this point that they have done absolutely whatever was necessary to obtain the newest release, even if that meant buying a new system at least initially solely for that purpose. Provided I have enough money saved up by that time, there is definitely a good chance that I will not break that precedent, though I do remain on the fence due to a few key differences, which will be highlighted next.
Now, let us consider the cons of buying the system and game upon release:
1) While it is nothing new to buy a new system in order to get a new Zelda installment (I’ve been guilty of this for the main console systems for years), investing the $200 to $250 plus the cost of the game is certainly more than the initial cost of the DS or its successor systems, which began at $149.99 back in 2004, and this being for merely a handheld system rather than a main console system (the Wii itself was in this range itself upon release, around $249.99 plus tax). Normally, at least for myself, I only pay that kind of money for a main console system, which would make this a record for me in terms of cost of a handheld system strictly to get a new (and yet old) Zelda title.
2) The arguably more highly-anticipated Wii installment, The Legend of Zelda: Skyward Sword, is slated for release right around the same time, which is likely to force many fans to have to choose between buying a brand new game for the latest main console system or forking out $200 to $250 plus the cost of this game itself just to play a game they have by-and-large already played and have been playing for years. Personally, I am much more curious and excited about Skyward Sword than I am about a rehashing of Ocarina of Time (largely because this is and yet is not a new game), though I am no less ecstatic that it has happened (I’ve said they should remake Ocarina of Time with better graphics for years).
3) Though it has been confirmed that the game will have differences from the original version, will there really be enough differences to merit paying between $250 and $300 or perhaps more just for this game alone? Many of us already know the story and many of the secrets of Ocarina of Time, so will there be enough differences to make this game worth that kind of money?
4) While it is true that there will undoubtedly be other brand new Zelda titles for the Nintendo 3DS, none appear to be on the radar screen as of yet (or at least have not been announced), meaning it could be many months or even years before any brand new Zelda titles are made for the 3DS. Bearing this in mind alongside the fact that Ocarina of Time 3D is not likely to be all that drastically different from its originator, would it perhaps be more prudent to wait for the price of the system to go down during that time between now and the time that they announce a brand new Zelda title made solely for the 3DS, thus saving money on the game system and likely the cost of Ocarina of Time 3DS (which will also undoubtedly decrease in price with the passing of time)?
Normally I would be going gaga over this release (or remake) of a Zelda title and would not be that overly concerned about the cost. Yet this instance is different in many ways, some of which are displayed above. With the timing coinciding with the release of the next major console game, the drastically increased price relative to previous handheld systems and the fact that the game is not a brand new game at all but rather just a rehashing of a previous game with improved graphics and a few small differences, I have been given pause to actually stop and question what the best strategy is in this case.
Bottom Line: If you have a lot of expendable money this coming spring, you will probably hold your nose about the money situation and buy both games, even if one means buying a whole new handheld system just to play it. If, however, your money situation is tight (as is for many at the present time), you may want to think twice before jumping in and buying both immediately. As for myself, I am definitely buying Skyward Sword upon its release as it is the next true installment for the main console system line and tells a whole new story that will likely change the course of the Zelda timeline. Whether I buy Ocarina of Time 3DS and the 3DS itself as a result will be determined by just how much expendable income I have when that time comes. Such a price increase, combined with the fact that the Zelda title being released with the system is not really new at all, will likely keep me on the fence all the way up to release of the system. What do some of the readers think about this and other issues concerning the upcoming releases however? Your input on these issues and others could help fence-sitters like myself determine whether purchase upon initial release of the 3DS is a wise decision or whether waiting it out a bit for prices to come down would be the best approach in this instance. Certainly such advice from readers could help someone like me reach a decision about whether to keep precedent or break with precedent in this instance.