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E3 2015: Star Fox Zero Hands-On Impressions
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E3 2015: Star Fox Zero Hands-On Impressions

After a prolonged absence on home consoles, Fox McCloud finally returns with some Wii U Gamepad tricks.

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Here’s a good idea: Let’s take Star Fox 64 and unabashedly remake it yet again, only this time for the Wii U Gamepad. It did seem like Nintendo was resting on their laurels for Star Fox Zero, the latest console entry that goes back to basics after that decent strategy game for the DS, and a not-quite-memorable GameCube title.

Admittedly, I’d probably take anything they’d give me for a traditional Star Fox game and wouldn’t deny the fact either – what more could a fan ask for? Our furry hero Fox McCloud is once more piloting an Arwing in rail-style shooter fashion. As even Miyamoto described it, this isn’t really a sequel but rather a reimagining of the Nintendo 64 game, only now featuring elements and ideas scrapped at the time due to technological or timing realities. No biggie, as there’s more than enough to differentiate the gameplay options to keep things fresh.


During my playtime in Nintendo’s press booth, the idea was that the action on screen is in third-person while the Wii U Gamepad acts as a cockpit view for variation and clearly intended for a more precise method of aiming. Mostly due to the changes in controls I found myself relying more on the TV display as the cockpit seemed to gravitate towards gyroscopic movements; you’ll probably play as I did considering you’ll need use both joysticks as the action becomes more demanding. That’s right, banking and barrel rolls are now done with the right joystick instead of the L/R shoulders for a dual approach.

There are also three alternative vehicle transformations for ground assaults that have their own purposes. With just the press of the ‘A’ button the Arwing can become a mostly-flightless bird (let’s all call it a robotic chicken and be happy with that), the Landmaster tank becomes…something, while a helicopter is used for drop missions, more or less.

It was a little unusual but feels close to the original games with nostalgia in tow, which is surprising because Nintendo has turned to PlatinumGames Inc. (Bayonetta, Vanquish) to help with development. The demo was more than promising but we’ll have to wait until winter in order to see how true-to-form Star Fox Zero really is.


About the Author: Herman Exum