It's notable when talking about how overrated or even underrated an experience is in a series that it doesn't truly affect how good the game really is. Majora's Mask in this case is a fantastic, one-of-kind, experience It's easily in my top 5 favorite games in the series and arguably remains as one of the favorite games among the staff here at ZI. Still, the more I look around not just ZI, but the internet on the whole; I am starting to think that Majora's Mask is overrated. Badly so at that.
Now, most would scream Ocarina of Time is the overrated one, since it gets all the praise. It also gets plenty of criticism for setting the bar to a point no other game can achieve, and also for, essentially, being outdone by other games but living on through nostalgia. I am not here to debate these points, but I am just pointing out that it's actually started to become "hipster" to diss Ocarina of Time and put Majora's Mask on a pedestal. Reality is, Majora's Mask is a great game, but it gets way too much credit.
There are several things that help start the Majora's Mask movement, some of which we are partly responsible for. Majora's Mask actually sold alright in comparison to games released after it, but it didn't come close to achieving Ocarina of Time numbers. Still, the game is heavily praised as being maybe the best in the series, and if not the best, at least containing a lot of innovation. I dare say most considered it the most underrated experience in the series.
That was, of course, until the Majora's Mask fan base (of which we are part of) started getting noticed. It all started with Hylian Dan's Message of Majora's Mask. It dived deep into the depths of Majora's Mask, and likely put way more thought into the world, its connections, and life lessons than Nintendo did during the year span to create the game. In fact, I know offhand the editing of that article alone took over a year, as the staff here at ZI was responsible for the editing of the piece. It hit the front page on Digg, gets pinged on Reddit every year, and it's constantly spread around because it has a great lesson to be heard held within. We rerelease the piece annually because it is really that good.
Fast forward and there was the whole Haunted Majora's Mask fiasco - again, a fan creation that put a lot of mystery and intrigue around the game and got the world buzzing. Then there was Operation Moonfall, a movement to get Majora's Mask on the 3DS that we started. Follow that up with Destined to Fade, another inspirational Majora's Mask based editorial, combined with the hundreds of MM related editorials circling the net and you get the whole "cult following turned main stream" thought process. Majora's Mask is considered now, by many who use to not consider it such, as one of the premier games in the series. To the point it's considered the best.
It's a great game, but it's far from perfect. It's short, it's save system is archaic, most the boss fights are far from memorable, and if you minus side quests there isn't a lot there to be gleaned. Much of the "deep perspective" of the game was based on some of our own, and others, over analyzation of every aspect of the game. That happens when you really like something. You can see things in it that may or may not have ever been intended. Hence its reputation was inflated based upon fan works that made the game seem much deeper than it is when you actually play through it.
So, to me, the game is vastly overrated for the experience it offers. It's still a favorite of mine, but it's getting way more credit than it deserves. I dare say Skyward Sword should get more praise than Majora's Mask. However, that's a debate for another time. What is your most overrated Zelda game?