Real Talk By: KJ
Team Star Fox is back with a familar adventure. Zero borrows the plot piece-by-piece from 64. The team must take out the evil Andross and cleanse the galaxy. Good thing this story reload is coming from a classic source. Naturally this Fox Zero brings back fond memories. Reworked quotes, and locations galore. Some of the more famous sayings remain in-tact. The mission start “Good Luck” audio bite, and what would this series be without peppy telling you to “Do a Barrel Roll!”
Considering the hardware, graphics hold up fine. Gameplay generally maintains 60 fps. Much of the machinery and vehicles shine, with The Arwing looking great. Using a Fox McLeod amiibo will unlock the original SNES ship, while playing the original Corneria music on stage 1 as well. I will say some of the backgrounds look muddy on certain planets, but the focus has always been about the space combat. The team at Platinum Games did everything they could to make maneuverability awesome. Is this even possible with the controversial gyro controls in-place?
Many have complained. We hear you. To play this game properly, using the default configuration is a must. Move the ship with the left stick, aim with the right. The gyro controls make this even more precise. Essentially your using two aiming methods at the same time, since the gamepad is being tilt simultaneously. This took me a tad to get a good handle on it. Aiming ultimately felt like Splatoon for me. Like in that game, things started off clunky. Once I put the time in to figure it out, it was smooth-sailing. More control options would have been nice so players didn’t feel outlawed, but this isn’t a deal breaker by any stretch. Some will refuse to give it a chance Intimidated by the Gyromotion. I think diehard Fox fans with that mentality would be doing themselves a disservice. Is this pick up and play? Nope. Not by a longshot. However, Nintendo provided solutions within the set control scheme that answers many concerns.
Hitting the Y button will instantly recalibrate sighting if one loses gyro control. Also, gamers worrying about constant screen looking between the TV and Gamepad, don’t worry. Hitting the minus button will change your viewpoint on the fly. No forced head tilting at all, unless you’re about that life. A typical game with odd controls usually stays that way for me. Not here. After a while things felt natural in Zero.
The walker allows players to run onto ships quickly, getting even closer to the enemy. Unlock the ability to switch between it and the arwing whenever. This will help to find hidden goals. The Tank inspired Landmaster is back as well with a few new tricks. New Gyrowing is a hovering vehicle. Raise and lower while dropping a tiny bot from the ship. The little guy (Direct-i) can fit into small spaces, hacking computers. This process shuts down enemies, and security. A fun diversion when playing these sections, but certainly slower-paced than this series is known for.
Star Fox Zero is an incredibly challenging game in more ways than one. The boss fights are awesome, some with punishing difficulty. Figure out attack patterns, while laughing at the trash talk they spew. One of my favorite battles involves Star Wolf’s Gang. He’ll never learn. The location of the fight, and how it goes down, very well put together.
Like in Star Fox 64, there are extra levels with hidden routes all over. Sometimes there are other sub-objectives that are very easy to miss them. The game can be completed the first time in under 5 hours, but it is far from over. Secrets could be blatent, or require a bit of searching. Medals are strategically placed throughout, finding them unlocks challenge stages. One has a playee Destroy 50 spider bots while protecting homebase. Getting high scores on stages is its own monster. I’ll be honest there is only a few stages I grabbed a gold trophy in. You have to find and blast the right number of enemies. With many stages throwing a lot on-screen, this is no cake walk.
Coop sees one person steering while the other shoots. Again another innovative way of playing. There is small room for error playing this way. Sadly this is where the multiplayer ceases. Even in Star Fox 64, Four Player dogfighting was possible. I expected to at least have it back, or even higher ship counts (8 Players maybe?), with an online part. More could have been done in this area of the game.
Overall This is strictly for the hardcore gamer. Despite the recycled storyline, Star Fox has definitely evolved. While there’s plenty of reasons to play stages over again, the campaign is a bit short when you consider it’s asking price at launch. Nintendo inserted a separate mini game Star Fox Guard to help offset that. There arr plenty of thrilling/well designed stages that left an impression on me. Stages will want to be replayed, not only for the secrets, but also for the fun factor.
Star Fox Zero Gets
4 Out of 5
+Fun Boss Fights
-Lack of Versus Multiplayer