For those who’ve played Ocarina of Time the basics haven’t changed: items set to the C button, B button is the sword etc. and of course beating temples. The 2 main gameplay changes which in my opinion really make the game more unique, are the masks and the 3 day cycle feature. Every mask has a use and gives Link an ability like running faster, communicating with the undead etc. But there are also 5 transformation masks which give Link exclusive abilities such as: Deku Link gets to hover with certain flowers, Zora Link gets to swim at incredible speeds. These blew my mind and were just endless fun, I always wanted to have the swimming ability of a Zora. Knowledge and use of these abilities is what really made the temples in this game more challenging as well because, instead of just wondering what items to use, you had to know what mask ability was right for the situation as well. But this is just the masks.
As well to get the transformation masks I mentioned, you learn a song called the Song of Healing, and heal dead spirits into peace and you gain their mask. The theme of death is a constant in this Zelda game which is why it has a darker tone, this theme really sets the game’s mood. You don the healed spirits face’s and finish their unfinished business which gives an underlying beauty to the game’s context.
I feel this worth talking about a little since today we have PS4 with 1080p graphics, but when the N64 came out graphics were still working towards that. Those N64 experts know that this game used the red expansion pack which allowed more memory for longer games with better graphics. Majora’s Mask is one of the few games that required the expansion pack to even be played, and I feel it is worth it! The graphics are much improved, with better lighting and detail on Link, the characters and environments. Even the draw distance is further than Ocarina’s ever was. Plus Majora’s Mask is pure 3D graphics whereas Ocarina of Time cheaped out with pre-rendered environments. I get they had to, for many reasons but still it’s things I notice. Those pre-rendered environments were so blurry you couldn’t not notice. The extra memory also allowed more effects such as motion blur. All a big deal back in 2000.