Star Fox Zero – Initial Thoughts

I’ve been playing Star Fox Zero just  as much as I can be. Now I have had time to reflect and defeat Andross for the first time I’ve decided to put my thoughts down.

To begin with I’m finding it hard to understand why Zero is a re-imaging of Lylat Wars. Storyline wise the game is largely the same as the original in terms of both structure and depth. The anime short feels like Zero has a deeper and bigger storyline. In the game story structure is basically something happens and you react to it. However it works. You might not remember much storyline wise save a few memorable lines though.

The main reason I am having trouble understanding why this is another version of Lylat Wars is the mission structure. Missions are a mixture of on rails, all range mode and a form of on foot. Most missions are in two gameplay parts with the later part switching to a different mode. Some missions have you switch vehicles as well. If you are mainly a fan of Lylat Wars you probably not quite sure what I am getting at. As a series fan this structure reminds me more of Star Fox Assault. This is further aided by a number of missions and in particular certain objectives being oddly similar to those in Assault. I find myself wondering why Krystal isn’t in the Star Fox team and the name isn’t Assault 2.

Now moving onto the hotly debated topic of controls. I can understand why so much attention is given to the odd controls. These aren’t standard controls and the oddity of having two view points adds to this confusion. To make matters worse is that the default settings for the controls are the most difficult ones to learn. You are told when you first load the game up about the pause menu allowing you to change the settings. This is easily forgotten and ignored. There are no controller settings option in the main menu and it’s unlikely many will have a good look at the pause menu during game. This leaves a number of people having a really difficult time of it. However the controls themselves are actually not that bad. Definitely in the style of another Platinum game I played.

I find the biggest issue with controls is actually the third person camera. The game is designed and geared up for motion controlled aim and first person view. It means the third person camera is largely for cinematic reasons. Which is great when friends are watching but it can give you bad information. Most of the game this isn’t major issue as the third person camera is behind the arwing. However in parts of the game and in some boss battles and in particular Andross the third person camera shifts to focus on the enemy entirely. Suddenly the arwing is no longer being viewed from behind all the time but the controls remain the same as the first person camera hasn’t changed. This makes it very difficult and nearly impossible to complete the mission. For that reason you will and have to use the first person camera as your primary view.

I will end this on a happier note. Zero isn’t amazing or a proper new Star Fox game and it will take time to learn the controls. However the game is still and can be fun.