I picked up Star Fox Zero on Wii U Friday. While I haven’t had a chance to just sit down and play all of it, I have played it enough to play all of the different vehicles and modes. So, that’s why I’m calling this a first impressions, and not a review. You’ll likely never see a full video game review, just because I never play through games that quickly.
Anyways, if you’ve read anything about Star Fox Zero, odds are it was about the controls. Depending on the source, they either worked well with the game, or made the game unplayable. After spending some time with the game, I lean towards the former. Basically, the gamepad is showing you a cockpit view, and moving the game pad adjusts where exactly you’re aiming. During this time, the TV will show you where you’re flying. Your aiming boxes (whatever they’re actually called) do appear on the TV as well, so you can get a sense of where you are actually aiming.
I found that when I was going through a normal level in the Arwing, I didn’t really use the gamepad targeting all that much. It was more important to see the TV, and know what was around me. Now, when playing with the Arwing in all-range mode, usually for boss fights and dogfights, I found myself mainly using the gamepad. In these instances, targeting was more important than just flying through, taking out what I could, and staying alive. I didn’t really find it difficult or disorienting to switch my eyes from the TV to the gamepad.
Most importantly to me, the controls seemed fair. By fair, I mean that it hasn’t felt like the game is asking me to do something that is nearly impossible. So far, my deaths have come from me just not being good enough, yet. I’ve been able to come back with a different strategy, and improve upon previous performances. It doesn’t seem like it all will come down to luck on whether or not I’ll be able to complete an area. And that’s all I really ask for with controls. I don’t mind if they may be complicated, or take some time to get used to, just so long as they make sense and actually do what they set out to do.
The story has been your basic Star Fox story. I’ve read that it borrows heavily from Star Fox 64, which is fine to me. I don’t really ask for much with this type of game. I’m a good guy, bad guys are attacking, and you need to stop them. That’s all you really need. The levels are what you’ve come to know in the series, with the exception of one level. There is one where you’re flying the Gyrowing, and it’s largely a stealth mission. I thought this was an interesting change of pace to put into the game, to vary up the gameplay.
I also don’t think the graphics are as bad as some would lead you to believe. Yes, some enemy ships are a bit simplistic looking, but I think that is more of a style choice. Frankly, the Wii U isn’t able to have the ultra detailed, realistic graphics of the PS4 or XBox One, but it doesn’t need to. You get around that by going with stylistic approaches that don’t require the ultra graphic capability.
So far, I am enjoying this game, but it is something where I’ll play for a short bit and put it down. I have not played Star Fox Guard, yet. It was included for free in the retail copies of Star Fox Zero.