The Star Fox series has seen quite a few developers over the course of its history. Nintendo developed the most well known and loved installment Star Fox 64, Rare made the unique Star Fox Adventures that mainly took place on the ground, and now 11 years since the last console Star Fox game PlatinumGames has stepped up to create Star Fox Zero and Star Fox Guard.
So how well did PlatinumGames do with the newest iteration of the franchise? Unfortunately, I have a bit of a mixed feeling about this game. The graphics, voice actors, sound, and most of the gameplay is amazing. All of the characters’ voices sound almost exactly like they did in Star Fox 64 and some sound effects also sounded like updated versions from the N64 classic.
However, the controls during boss fights and when using the walker are very difficult to get used to. During the off rail segments or “all-range mode” areas, the player has to lock on to certain enemies or bosses. While locked on, the game forces the player to aim by looking at the gamepad while also keeping track of where they are flying on the TV screen. These segments were frustrating even after I got used to the controls. PlatinumGames needed to put in an option that allowed for the players to choose whether or not they wanted to use the motion controls like Nintendo did in Splatoon.
I had a rush of nostalgia the first time I entered Corneria and glided my Arwing along the top of the water in the reimagined first level from Starfox 64. Now this isn’t a remake but is instead a reimagining of the N64 game. This means there are a few levels that have been remade and changed, and there are also quite a few new levels as well. Thankfully almost all of the new levels are just as fun as the remade versions of classic levels! This game reminded me of why Starfox 64 was such a great game and mostly did a great job of bringing the series to modern consoles.
Some of the levels were frustrating though due to controls or because of how many things you had to keep track of. Another thing that surprised me was just how short the game was. If you go through the main story missions without taking any other paths, the game is only 4 hours long. This is extremely short especially for how long it’s been since the last Star Fox game was released.
The game also lacks multiplayer which is almost unbelievable for a game like this. Co-op has one player as the pilot and the other as the gunner which isn’t nearly as fun as it would be if we both had our own Arwings. There is also no online multiplayer which is ridiculous. This game practically begs for there to be an online dogfight mode like in Star Fox 64 3D. It was so much fun to fight my friends and see their reactions as I blew them up. Starfox has so many opportunities for online play such as a mode that would allow people to form squads and fight each other, team deathmatch, or free for all. They could have even had different modes for the different vehicles but instead there is nothing.
If you purchase the physical version of Star Fox Zero, it comes with another game called Star Fox Guard. This is a tower defense game in which the player has to switch between different cameras in order to blast robots that are trying to destroy your mining base. It’s definitely a fun and frantic game that has 100 levels to keep players entertained. The game gets a little repetitive due to the gameplay consisting of just destroying robots but in short bursts it’s very enjoyable. There is also an online mode that allows for players to create their own robot waves and fight other people’s organized waves as well. This has a ranking system and unlocks of its own. The online addition adds quite a bit of replay value to what could have been another 4 hour or less game.
I give Starfox Zero a 7 out of ten, but I give the retail package of Star Fox Zero and Star Fox Guard an 8 out of ten.
Starfox Zero could have easily been the best entry in the series if it were not for its forced use of motion controls and lack of multiplayer. I really did have a fun time playing this game for the most part, but it’s disappointing to see the developers make such illogical decisions.