Star Fox Zero Review

        Friends, Star Fox Zero is everything I wanted. It was one of my most anticipated games on 2016, and with the control layout, it could’ve easily been the biggest disappointment of the year. Happily, I exclaim that it is a smashing success! I might even go so far as to say that the game is as good if not better than Star Fox 64.
        To recap the aiming method, the TV screen shows a third-person, more cinematic view of the action. It allows you to see more of what’s around your local space and avoid objects, enemies, or projectiles. The Gamepad is the cockpit view, and can help you aim your lasers more accurately. You can also you the motion controls in the Gamepad to look around and shoot a wide array of targets in front of you and to the sides. Using the controls in conjunction with one another is difficult, but by no means bad. Take the time to learn the control scheme and you be flying like an ace in no time.
        The story is a retelling of the Star Fox 64 plot with a few significant changes and a little more depth. It’s not downright incredible, but it’s fine. The real draws of this game are both the gameplay and the aesthetic, not so much the plot.
        Speaking of the aesthetic, the art style is fantastic! Star Fox Adventures, Star Fox: Assault, and Star Fox Command all missed the mark, either by flirting with too much realism without having the graphical capabilities to do so, or by going a more cartoony way. Either way, after Star Fox 64, the best interpretation of Fox and the team has been in the Super Smash Bros. series. Or, at least, until now. Star Fox Zero has totally hit the nail on the head with their design of the characters, locations, vehicles, and effects. It’s so much fun even just watching the action, let alone playing and being immersed in it. (As a side note, the sound effects are just as awesome. So much nostalgia from the 64 days, but new and improved so it feels modern!)
        The co-op mode is no joke, either. In fact, I would say that it is as much fun as playing single-player! Having one person play the ace pilot, and the other person play the crack shot, it really feels like a truly cooperative experience. If you own the game, make SURE you give the co-op a go.
        Overall, Star Fox Zero is really a masterpiece of a game which faithfully carries the torch of a great, yet often let-down, series. If you’re a fan of the older games, be sure to check this one out. Keep an open mind about the controller setup, however, as many reviewers might try to sway you against the controls. It is a new experience, and it will take a bit of work to understand and become fluent with. Be sure to take your time and be the gamers I know you are! Let’s rock and roll!

No Man’s Sky – My Day One Review

“As strange, hectic, and confusing as the beginning was, I started having a blast once I got the hang of things.”
        Well, my copy of No Man’s Sky finally showed up yesterday evening at around 9:30, so I was able to start playing at 9:45. The few hours I had with it were rough; I had started out on a planet with highly toxic rain, so the tutorial and the first few minutes felt rushed and skimmed-over because I had to keep my eye on this toxicity timer that was rapidly draining whenever I wasn’t sitting in my defunct ship. The game never made it clear that I could recharge my suit, what the difference between life support and health is, and never gave me any hint as to what this basic loot I was getting was or what it might be used for. The only direction it did give me was the objective tracker in the bottom right that would only appear at seemingly random times and barely gave me enough information to know what I was looking for. The only way I managed to progress in as timely a manner as I did was due to my experience playing games (the “Gamer’s Intuition”) and, more specifically, the survival games I’ve been playing of late.
        Shortly after I got my ship off the ground and into orbit, it was easier to see my means and my ends. I was better understanding how the game communicates with me and what the flow of the game might look like. The aliens were great to speak with and I loved whenever a word that you know flits past and you get to guess its context. The bits of text scattered throughout were intriguing, well-written and a lot of fun to read, but the story itself seemed… broken? I’m worried that I missed some text somewhere, because my character’s inner monologue started talking about all the options ahead of him and he mentioned that he could explore randomly, go follow Atlus, or go try and find these two characters whose names I hadn’t head yet before. The whole thing made it seem like I was supposed to understand who these two were and have some sort of reason to try to find them. I can’t decide on if I hope I missed anything or not; if I did, then I’m lacking an important element of the story, and if I didn’t, then the game is woefully vague and confusing. I certainly hope that changes.
        Really though, as strange, hectic, and confusing as the beginning was, I started having a blast once I got the hang of things. I am entirely open to the possibility that my bad experience was a rare and unfortunate product of such a unique and proceedurally generated world, and as such I don’t want to judge the game too harshly. Discovering all these different species of flora and fauna, all these minerals, biomes, and planets… it really is an adventure, and it’s rewarding in and of itself. It feels great when I come across a new upgrade for my suit or discover a new Korvax word, and the sense of exploring the galaxy is magnificent! The game is honestly a ton of fun, even if I’m only starting to experience that, and I’m excited to play some more tonight!
     See you out there, astronauts!