This review is difficult for me to write. I am a die hard Star Fox fan and eagerly anticipated the release of Star Fox Zero. There were rumblings in the gaming community that this may not be an ideal Star Fox game, and I said “Who cares? It’s more Star Fox.” So how did it come out? Well….It’s complicated.
Let’s start with the good. When you boot up Star Fox Zero and dive into Corneria, it is beautiful. It’s an explosion of color and sound and the Arwings have never looked better. The geometry and textures of the enemies harkens back to Star Fox and Star Fox 64 and did not bother me, although it may bother some because they are simple. I had a giant smile on my face as I played through Corneria multiple times before moving onto another level. The story of the game is presented exactly like you’d expect. with General Pepper talking to the Fox team on communicators and I was thrilled to find the same galaxy structure as previous Star Fox games. Overall, the game looks nice and plays smoothly thanks to the 60 FPS graphics.
This is where it gets divisive. You control your ship with the joystick as usual, but this time around they decided to add the gamepad as a way to “fine tune” your aiming. In the Arwing, I found this to be a fairly simple transition in the first level. However, as the game wore on and the levels got more complex, I find myself having trouble switching from one perspective to another quickly enough to do what I need to do. The game will often have you hold the ZL trigger to lock the view on the TV on your target and then use the gamepad to aim. This works fine, but it’s not natural to me yet. That being said, if you have another person in the room and they’re watching you on the TV, it creates some truly spectacular dogfights for them to watch. Unfortunately, you’ll have your face buried in the gamepad and miss most of it.
The sections outside of the Arwing are a chicken walker and a drone that you may have seen in the previews. I have not gotten to the landmaster tank portion yet though. The chicken walker is fun and easy to control for the most part. The piece that I am struggling with my opinion on is the drone. You take control of the drone for 2 missions, one of which is reminiscent of the Zoness spotlight mission from Star Fox 64 only much slower. It was…fine? I guess. It’s tough to dock points from this review because I remember hating the underwater missions on Star Fox 64 for similar reasons. It’s not necessarily bad, but it does really slow the action down to a crawl.
Star Fox Zero is a fun game. If you are wanting more Star Fox and have patience to learn a new control scheme, give it a shot. Otherwise, I recommend you wait for a sale that will probably never come.