To The Stars & Beyond With StarFox Zero
Before we begin I would like to say, I have never been much of a StarFox fan, nor have I had much experience with other StarFox games. The slight benefit I have is that I can give a relatively unbiased review of this game based solely on its own merits without comparing its predecessors. So without further ado, let’s get to it.
StarFox Zero is the game fans have been waiting for for a long time. With no predecessor on the Wii console, it has had a long hiatus from the world of Nintendo. I am not counting StarFox 64 3D as it is a remake of StarFox 64 on the N64. Development of this game actually begun in 2008 which was long before the Wii U even came out, so it could have well been a Wii title at one point but that was not the case and 8 years on, here we are. As we all know, it was meant to launch on November 20th but it was delayed until march to make further improvements to the game and again until April because of tweaking to Gameplay Controls.
The Game itself is actually very enjoyable to play and some can consider it a bit easy. The Gameplay controls can be quite tricky to master as you have to use both TV & Gamepad screen to co-ordinate your Arwing over the tricky terrain or obstacles whilst blowing merry hell out of every enemy you see, whilst performing intricate dogfighting maneuvers like Somersaults, U-turns and of course, Barrel Rolls. Each level has its own theme, like City, Space, Wild Rainforest or Ice covered and each can possess different routes to tackle the level so that gameplay is not quite the same every time you play. Some of these routes however, are only unlockable after progressing so far in the main story.
If you have ever played a Starfox game before, you already know what the Story is, for those that have never played the game or have been living under a rock for the past 2o or so years. StarFox is about a team of mercenaries who are recruited by a General to stop a mad scientist who has been exiled (by the very same General) from dominating the Galaxy, also known as the Lylat System and everyone is an animal of some kind, be it a fox, rabbit, toad, dog, monkey, etc. You get the general idea. The story doesn’t really extend from that other than gives you a general back story to the characters. Fox McCloud is the leader of the team of mercenaries, Falco Lombardi is a hot headed Wingman, Slippy Toad is the mechanic and went to college with Fox and Peppy Hare was friends with Fox’s dad James, that’s about it.
The game is a third-person (and first person if you count the gamepad angle) shooter/flying simulator action game. You must get from the starting point to the end, complete objectives, mow down enemies and kill the occasional boss. The actual gameplan is simple and easy to understand but mastering the controls to this can be an absolute task. The reticle which is controlled with motion controls can sometime come out of sync but can easily be put back into center position with a mere press of a button. Shooting can sometimes be a little off but once you learn the little tricks of the game, it soon becomes a lot more manageable.
Well after months of delay, I would have to say it was worth it to have graphics as crisp as we do in this game. It is absolutely beautiful to look at and if it wasn’t for the constant barrage of laser blasts coming my way, I would stop and just take it all in for a wonderful sightseeing tour. It is vibrant, colourful and sharp. I would go as far to say that the graphics of this game is its best selling point.
The audio to this game is fantastic and really does help set the scene of the game. All the original soundtracks have been rebooted for this game and makes it even better than ever. The Original Voice Actors from the N64 game also reprise their roles so the game maintains the Nostalgia on all Audio fronts. The sound effects themselves are also very nice to listen to and as an added extra, when using the Fox amiibo to unlock the Retro Arwing, it will also comes with the original sound effects as well!
Well, in keeping with our other reviews which are normally penned by Jack Longman, It is time for the Pros & Cons:
- The Graphics are great to look at and the sound really does set the scene throughout the game.
- It has a lot of replayability as each level has multiple routes to discover that can also open up to new levels.
- It has several different vehicles including the Arwing and Landmaster but also new vehicles to ride around in like the Walker and Roadmaster.
- The Co-op can be fun to play as one player pilots the Arwing while the other blows merry hell out of everything.
- It’s friggin’ StarFox! It is a new game in the franchise that fans have been waiting years for.
- The Main Story Mode can be completed in a matter of hours and the challenge modes leave little to be desired except to get a better score to brag about on Miiverse.
- The Motion Controls can be aggravating at times, I never had too much trouble whilst in Arwing mode, but when playing as the Walker, I was constantly resynching the Reticle.
- No multiplayer mode, Co-op is fun and all when simultaneously manning an Arwing but StarFox Zero has a great line-up for a proper “Wingman Co-op” in which, each player pilots their own Arwing to really bring Andross’s Army to it’s knees.
Closing Thoughts And Final Score
For StarFox Fans, This Game will most likely be the “Legend Of Zelda: Skyward Sword” to the series that will divide fans due to the motion controls. I personally found them simple to understand but a little tricky to master but then 1. I was not a fan of StarFox before so I have no previous experience with the series to compare against or to criticize gameplay controls and 2. I actually liked the motion controls in Skyward Sword.
So I shall give this game a generous yet deserving…
If you would like to see some gameplay of the game, be sure to check out our featured episode in the Wii U Lv1 Playthrough Series.