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!