Star Fox Zero Review | May 5, 2016 Nintendo Exclusive Title
Star Fox Zero is a 3D shooter that you can play in either first or third person. You can play in single or multiplayer and Zero is the sixth game in the series. Star Fox 64 is the previous most recent game and it came out in 1997. That is a 19 year gap between Star Fox Zero and Star Fox 64. Zero is not a prequel to the series and it is not just a remake of Star Fox 64. It is also not a sequel either to any of the other games. It has been five years since James McCloud was betrayed and a huge army from the planet Venom started the Lylat Wars. Fox McCloud the son of James McCloud has taken leadership of the fighter squadron know as Star Fox is now on the tale of Andross leader of the Venom army.
Star Fox is so beloved by Nintendo gamers that we hated waiting 19 years for a new game in the series but we were still excited when we heard that finally a new game was coming. The only controller you can use is the gamepad and the whole game is all vehicles. Mainly you are in space but your space ship turns into a ground assault vehicle and your ground tank can turn into a hovering attack wing. Each vehicle has some strategy to them depending on the situation. This can also be said when switching from first person to third person viewing. Certain areas work better playing in a first person view and some areas almost require you to use one or the other. Mixing things up is necessary and the game itself does that too with level design. You are always doing something different and this translates to the over the top and outstanding boss battles. Most of the time the boss battles take more time to defeat than the level itself and we love that. We were never disappointed when taking on these challenges.
The biggest problem is the game mechanics like aiming, the camera and controls are a mess. The gamepad adds nothing to the experience, it just forces you to try to use the motion controls and the motion controls are a huge part of the problem. You are always fighting the game to either get into position to fire or struggling with the aiming to hit the target. Sometimes the aiming icon is blocked by your own ship when you are in close quarters. The game mechanics do have a learning curve to them with a little practice but it does not save the game. The controls are not good but you do get better at using them. We liked the boss battles a lot because they mostly take place in huge spaces and the control and camera issues are not as bad because you have room to move around. Also there are several missions where there is more than one phase. So, if you die on phase 3 then you have to restart on phase 1. It’s irritating because you will die because of controller and camera issues and at times this make you want to stop playing.
It took us around 8 hours to get through the main story. There are alternative routes to unlock side missions but for the most part the extra missions are only a couple of minutes long. They tend to be time trial challenge quests where you must defeat something before time runs out. At heart we wanted to give Star Fox Zero a higher score. We love the story and voice acting, we love playing a space ship and vehicles shooter again and we love how the game looks. But, the mechanics destroy how the game plays and that is the important part. The replay value is below average, even with multiplayer and extra challenges you will hate the controls for messing up your experience. Star Fox is worth paying under $30.00 for. We love what this game could have been but hate how bad the game mechanics are.