Am I Playing Star Fox 64 Again?
The answer may surprise you in this sequel-non sequel/reboot-non Reboot or whatever the hell it’s supposed to be. But lets be honest here, the majority of us gamers loved Star Fox 64 and Nintendo knows this and certainly capitalized on the nostalgia with the release of the remake on the 3DS and now this reboot (yes I’m calling it that) but no matter because as you will come to understand this is both familiar and different in several possible ways.
Enough talk. Lets get this review rolling.
Star Fox Zero is an on-rails shooter the follows closely in the footsteps of its predecessor Star Fox 64, which in turn follows in the footsteps of the original Super Nintendo Star Fox version, which as you all know required the use of a special processor called the SuperFX Microchip. You fly your spaceship called the Arwing and fly around for the most part, a predetermined path and blow shit up. Honestly what more could you ask for? The game is controlled using the Wii U gamepad with the second screen to control the precision aiming that works in tandem with the built in accelerometer and gyroscope. If you played Splatoon then you have the basic but partial idea on how it plays, but I have another section that I will discuss on that next. Throughout the course of the game you will be aided or hindered (depending on how you feel) by your crew which will consist of Falco, Peppy, and Slippy which for better or for worse will never shut up and I for one love it, since it makes me feel like I’m part of something bigger. Of course there are other vehicles like the Land-Master and the Walker which you will get to pilot throughout the course of the game. So basically, if you played Star Fox 64, you have an Idea what to expect.
Now here’s a touchy subject that most of us will have to come to terms with and let me say it outright: the controls have a HUGE learning curve to overcome and you will have to sit and cope with. The fact is, there is no way around this and you WILL have to sink in a few hours to let yourself adapt to the steep learning curve that this game requires of you when you initially play. Star Fox Zero forces you to use both your TV screen and the Wii U gamepad screen to effectively play. Your TV screen will showcase your vehicle and the gamepad screen will showcase your cockpit with your aiming through your sight which admittedly looks pretty cool. The problems starts when you actually begin to realize that aiming through your sight on the TV screen is not accurate at all and you are FORCED to use the one on your gamepad controller while trying to pilot your aircraft at the same time. Many times I felt frustrated with this setup and wondered why this was approved in the first place. At one point I had to put the controller down out of annoyance and took a 15 minute break, but when I came back, I started to realize something… I was getting better. and it was becoming more fun and precise as I continued on. Nintendo took away your control but at the same time gave you even more control and yes I know that sounds confusing but you have to play it yourself to understand. Eventually I got over the learning curve and adjusted to its new gameplay format. I have to admit it was my nostalgia that kept me coming back for more and it was the epic dog fights that looked like scenes from the Star Wars movies that hooked me in after. The setup was a risk but it was a risk that will pay off for most for those gamers that will stick with it.
The graphics in Star Fox Zero are lush and and beautiful and run at, for the most part 60 frames per second. There are the occasional hiccups when the action is crazy intense. The presentation looks clean from a fair distance, but I have noticed that in a few parts of the game in certain areas the textures just look washed out and blurry when viewed up close. Compared to the N64 version, this game is a huge step up in the graphics department. If I could find another complaint, it would be that the enemy ships look a bit simplistic but maybe that’s just me nit–picking. Lets be honest, nothing is more beautiful than watching shit blow up, and Star Fox Zero does it in style.
The sound is not as great as I hoped it would be. A lot of the music has been recycled from the Nintendo 64 version of the game which isn’t bad, but its so damn low you can barely hear any of it. I was left slightly disappointed with that choice especially since its all mostly been done before. Hey Nintendo, why not use the music for the Super Nintendo version of the game? In my opinion that music was so much better but that’s just a matter of taste.
- Graphical Quality
- Style and Appearance
- Content and Replayability
The Final Judgement
I came out of this game with a bitter sweet feeling which is kinda hard to explain but I hope the review did its best in doing so. On one hand, I love the dog fights and the sense of an epic space battles throughout the game. But on the other hand, the steep learning curve and the heavy use of nostalgia the game borrows leaves me with a the feeling that this game would not stand as well if it was an original IP from Nintendo. The learning curve was a huge risk one that may or may not pay off in the long run but given the time, you will adapt and fly your Arwing like the pilot you were meant to be (assuming you stick to it long enough). So I say purchase with extreme caution.
Bottom line: If you like Star Fox as you remembered it, the controls you've been accustomed to will NOT be present here.
It's a decent game but it's not destined to be the great revival the franchise deserves.