Now that I have your attention....
Yes. Oh, yeah. I went there. I'm doubting the undeniably "best game of all time."
But on a less snarky note, I've heard so many people say that Ocarina of Time was the "best game of all time in the history of everything ever." It has such a positive reputation. Almost every "greatest video games" list places it at the top. Frankly, I'm really tired of hearing about how great it is all the time, as if it's reputation is not up for debate. I've played the game (over a decade after it was released, and shortly after playing Majora's Mask), and I honestly don't see what's so great about it.
I will grant that Ocarina of Time was a great game in a lot of ways. The biggest reason, though, is that it was revolutionary. It was the first 3D Zelda. It had pivotal characters (i.e., ones with actual names) other than Link. We got new races. We got new controls, like Z-targeting) We got backstory. We got great music. And we got twists. Previous games (well, A Link to the Past and Link's Awakening) had had elements of that, but Ocarina of Time was where those features got to shine.
On the other hand, it had some major flaws. It was the first 3D game. It was crude in a lot of ways. I've never tried it, but I've heard that the game only checks for the last two medallions, meaning it's possible to completely skip parts of dungeons. The characters looked blocky and fell into the Uncanny Valley at times. And, of course, there was the infuriating equipment interface that led to much frustration in the Water and Shadow temples where you had to constantly go back and forth in the menu to take your boots on and off. The shift to 3D also lost the room-to-room structure the previous games had. The puzzles are still challenging, but the puzzles are altogether different and require a different sort of thinking and strategy. It comes down to preference, I suppose, and if you like the 2D puzzles, the 3D ones might not be as fun.
Of course, there weren't all that many technical flaws, so let's move on to other aspects of the game. We got to play as an older version of Link! Wow! Cool! And there's time travel! Well, kinda. Basically, you play the first part of the game as Young Link before switching to Adult Link. Once you're an adult, the rest of the game requires you to stay and adult. You can get through the rest of the game, reverting to child form only twice: for the well level and for part of the Spirit Temple. Both almost feel shoehorned in. If you want my opinion, Oracle of Ages used the exact same time system, and used it much better. And while Sheik being Zelda--oops, spoilers. But that's my point. It doesn't matter anymore. Sure, it was a great twist back then, but it's no secret anymore. Other games have twists that are just as good, but are still new enough that they're still actually twists. Also, there was almost no use for the Ocarina of Time. Considering that you could do magical things with your Fairy Ocarina, all the titular ocarina did was let you open a door and, um, make blocks disappear. Yes, that's right. The Song of Time gives you the power to open doors and make blocks.
Now that I've talked about the game's twists and unique feature, let's move on to characters. Yes, you actually get attached to characters. Of course, Zelda, the princess we're supposed to care about most, is one of the least developed characters, appearing in two or three scenes as a child, then disappearing until the very end of the game. It's much easier to like the other characters, who are much more developed. Still, all the characters can be completely described in a single sentence. Need proof? Saria: nature-loving Kokiri who was Link's only friend back home. Impa: Zelda's devoted nursemaid. Ruto: alternates between hating Link and crushing on him. Zelda: the princess you have to save because Ganondorf is after her. Ganondorf: evil and greedy. I could go on, but I won't. Oh, and another thing. Why is it that almost every single woman in this game has a thing for Link?
On to the story. Did anyone else notice that it all felt a bit familiar? Let's see...three MacGuffins, the ability to travel between a healthy world and one in ruins, traversing temples in order to unlock the powers of seven people in order to beat a man who turns out to be Ganon...wait a minute, I'm playing A Link to the Past in 3D, aren't I? Sure, the sages have names, while the maidens don't really, but the parallels are uncanny. The plot is as shallow as the characters who drive it, and is even a blatant ripoff of a previous game. There is nothing particularly deep about it, nothing that makes you think. Especially compared to the titles before and after it (Link's Awakening and Majora's Mask), the story is sub-par.
Now, a bit of review. Ocarina of Time has blocky graphics, does not use its unique functions (time travel, ocarina) well, is filled with shallow characters, recycles an entire story, and has no story depth. One more quick point: while the music was amazing, much of it first appeared in A Link to the Past. It's just more famous because the N64 sound capabilities made it sound better. And yes, Ocarina still has many strengths, but that brings me to my next point.
Ocarina of Time was revolutionary. I won't deny that. However, that does not mean it will always remain that way. Let's say that a filmmaker comes up with a great movie. The movie is a groundbreaking success. People love it, and it sets the standard for movies from then on. Still, it's this filmmaker's first film. Does everyone get everything right the first try? No. The movie will naturally have flaws. Of course, as the filmmaker grows, he'll be able improve his abilities. He'll gain more experience and maturity. Just because his first film is groundbreaking and revolutionary, it doesn't mean that he'll never make anything better. Sure, some of his later work might not measure up (M. Night Shyamalin is often said to have declined with every film), but chances are he'll be able to pull off another masterpiece. Hey, guess what. I was actually talking about Zelda there in that overly long metaphor. Sure, it's not a movie or anything, but the same thing applies. Just because Ocarina of Time was revolutionary, it doesn't mean that it'll always stay the best in the series.
Some examples of how Ocarina has been improved on. Majora's Mask took the game engine, centered it more around time (like Ocarina should have been in the first place), allowed Link to change into many forms to traverse the world, added new songs, and improved the graphics and gameplay a bit. On top of that, it put it in a new, mysterious world, based the game around the characters (and gave them humongous depth), and put in hugely deep themes and messages.
Oracle of Ages took the time system Ocarina botched so badly and made it work how it was supposed to. (Ages and Seasons also took the game engine of Link's Awakening and made it work better, but that's neither here nor there.)
The Wind Waker again added depth, created new, amazing songs based off of old classics, gave the few sages you met more depth, and gave Ganondorf a motive. Personally, I find Wind Waker one of the strongest games in the series, though it definitely had flaws of its own.
Twilight Princess was a bit weaker, but it had better graphics. Other strong points are stronger characters and the best, most realistic temples in the series (I can imagine the temples being actual buildings, as opposed to just elaborate labyrinths there for no reason).
Anyway, as you can see, Zelda has been developing past Ocarina of Time. Yes, Ocarina of Time was revolutionary and changed gaming. That doesn't meant that gaming can't change anymore. Seriously, Ocarina was a fairly weak game in a lot of ways, and just doesn't hold up to modern standards. At its time it was the pinnacle of gaming, yes, but other games have, quite frankly, aged much better.
I'm not saying Ocarina of Time is bad. It is a very good game. I'm honestly just really, really tired of it always being heralded as the best game of all time. I think that other games have taken its concept and improved on it. This is a bit of a personal gripe I'm going into now, but I'd just like to ask you to think a bit about it, not letting the bias of the hype affect your opinion of the game. I'm not telling you to be jaded and critical like I am, but it's really easy just to assume something is good because someone says so. Please, try not to just accept the opinions of others at face values.
Apologies if I've said anything that has come across as offensive in this overly-wordy. Apart from some snarky sarcasm, it is unintended.
/massive wall of text
Edit 1: made the beginning and the end less aggressive and (hopefully) less offensive. Didn't realize I had been so harsh on all the fans. Again, apologies.
Edit 2: Changed the title from "Why Ocarina is Not That Great of a Game" (after all, it is a great game) to the more appropriate and accurate "Why Ocarina of Time is Not the Best Game Ever."