THE FLASH

Hands-On: ‘Star Fox Zero’

We head back to the Lylat system and see if Nintendo’s latest holds up.

Nintendo

Heading to All-Range Mode

The reveal of Star Fox Zero at Nintendo’s E3 Digital Event was one of the highlights of the show, showcasing some snazzy visuals and intriguing gameplay mechanics. And on the show floor, the Big N wasn’t messing around with it either, with an entire Star Fox section of their booth decked out with overhead Arwings and reps dressed like fighter pilots. However, Star Fox is a series that has reinvented itself several times over the years, and the results aren’t always great (see Star Fox Assault). Is Star Fox Zero going to buck the trend?

Judging by the game’s E3 build, the answer is kind of. Things started out well enough, as I flew the Arwing over water and through a canyon full of waterfalls. It took a moment to get used to the series’ infamous inverted controls again, but once muscle memory kicked in, I was destroying enemy ships and robots like nobody’s business. And then when I began to fly over land, the Nintendo Rep informed me that the mech transformation wasn’t just for certain missions, I could activate it anytime I was on land. Switching back and forth between the Arwing and the two-legged mech (aka the Walker) was a joy too, as I soared into what appeared to be Corneria City—that’s when things got a bit dicey.

Nintendo

Nintendo

The original Star Fox games were rail shooters, making you fly on a set path and relying on your accuracy and reflexes. Star Fox 64 introduced “All-Range Mode,” which took you off rails and let you fly anywhere, but only in certain sections of the game. Star Fox Zero seems to take place mostly in All-Range Mode, and while it was fine when there was a direct path to follow, once you got into the city, it became annoying. The demo tasked me with protecting a tower in the city from robots that could only be destroyed by hitting a weak point on their sides, and it quickly became a chore to have to circle around or do U-turns if I missed my shot. Being able to use the GamePad to fire more precisely was useful, but the GamePad’s gyroscope wasn’t helping, and resulted in some wobbly aiming. (I hope this can be switched off a la Splatoon.)

Things did improve from there, though, as a huge boss appeared after the robots, and it was great fun weaving around and attacking it strategically. And then, instead of outright beating the boss, I blew a hole in the hull and had to sprint around inside it as a mech to destroy the power core. Looking back on it, I did have fun with Star Fox Zero, and the game has a few promising elements, but I was also reminded that Star Fox can occasionally mix fun with frustration.

Do you think ‘Star Fox Zero’ will be a return to form for the series? Tweet me @MaxMielecki. And be sure to follow us @YouNerded.

About Max Mielecki (157 Articles)
Max Mielecki is a TV writer at YouNerded and does comedy for the interwebs. He knows Han shot first. For further ramblings follow him on Twitter @Maxmielecki.

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