Do A Barrel Roll!

Star Fox Zero hopefully marks a new start for Star Fox as a series. The last Star Fox game we got, was a 3DS remake of the fantastic Star Fox 64. Star Fox Zero is the latest outing for the Ace Squadron, which comes exclusively to the Wii U. So after almost 5 years, does Star Fox Zero deliver the console experience Star Fox has been needing?

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From left to right: Falco, Slippy, Fox and Peppy.

Feels Familiar

Star Fox Zero’s story, to no surprise is minimal. This is by no means a bad thing, it is a Star Fox game after all. The Lylat system is under attack again and it’s up to the Ace Squadron Star Fox to save it once again. You play as Fox McCloud, the son of James McCloud who was killed by Andross. It’s Fox’s job as the new leader of Star Fox to identify the threat to the Lylat system, and stop it with the help of his co-pilots. The story doesn’t evolve much from the introduction, but story isn’t what we worry about when we can pilot an Arwing.

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The Arwing looks fantastic in Star Fox Zero

A Return to Form

Star Fox Zero manages to make game play a strong stand out amongst the story and production values, and for good reason too. It feels incredibly familiar if you’ve played Star Fox before. You’ll shoot lasers, fire off bombs, and take control of various vehicles in a wide array of environments. The big feature of Star Fox Zero is that the Arwing is controlled with the Wii U’s gyroscope, making for a very engaging and interactive experience. Some people are going to absolutely hate this, and for good reason. At first, it feels awkward, slow and clunky. It might seem easy to put down at first, but if you stick with it and grow used to the way Star Fox Zero controls, it becomes highly rewarding, skilful and enjoyable. The learning curve here is harsh, but well worth it. These gyro controls aren’t just used for the Arwing though. Much like Star Fox 64, the Arwing can transform into other vehicles such as the Landmaster, the Gyrocopter and the Walker. The Landmaster and Walker are a good break from the usual flying, and work well in the stages they’re placed in. The Gyrocopter on the other hand feels out of place, slow, and monotonous. The stages are all well designed for each vehicle, and they’re all unique. Star Fox Zero’s boss fights are almost like mini puzzles. Each is different, refreshing and some of them were quite challenging. Star Fox Zero has branching paths to different planets you could’ve missed on your first play through and once you finish the game once, an arcade mode is unlocked, allowing for lots of replayability.

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The Landmaster returns, and it’s the best it’s ever been.

A Smooth but Unattractive Flight

Star Fox Zero unfortunately looks very average for a Wii U game. While environments are expansive, and there can be a lot on the screen at any given time, Star Fox Zero could still be improved. Thankfully Star Fox Zero runs at a solid, consistent 60FPS, which is very much needed for a game like Star Fox. I still can’t help but feel that the game can look better, but at least it’s in HD.

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The water textures look decent, but the rest are iffy.

Verdict: 7/10

Star Fox Zero barely hits the mark for the Ace Squadron’s latest outing and first outing for the Wii U. It plays well, has some really intense boss fights and most of the Arwing transformations are varied enough to keep it from getting repetitive. Star Fox Zero definitely struggles where it doesn’t shine, but thankfully, gameplay isn’t the department where Star Fox Zero struggles. I’m interested to see what happens with Star Fox now, but I have a feeling it won’t be too long until we see a new game for the NX or 3DS.

Positives

-Landmaster and Walker

-Unique environments

-Challenging and interesting boss fights

-Runs incredibly smoothly

-Replayability

Negatives

-Harsh learning curve

-Looks average

Thanks for reading guys, next up is the third and final episode of the Michonne mini series followed by Uncharted 4.

 

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