Wii U Review: Star Fox Zero

It’s been 10 years since the last Star Fox game, but can Fox McCloud still deliver?

With the exception of the 3DS remake of Star Fox 64, the last main game in the series was Star Fox Command for the Nintendo DS in 2006. That’s one hell of a break for the Star Fox crew, but after 10 years…we get not one, but two games at once. The puzzle game Star Fox Guard will be reviewed shortly after this, but for now…let’s take a look at Star Fox Zero…
Star Fox Zero is a reboot of sorts. It retells the story of Star Fox 64 where Andross tries to take over the Lylat System, but there are some noticeable differences in the story. We do visit familiar planets like Corneria, but also some new ones to mix things up. The main difference you will notice while playing is the controls, which are somewhat of a mixed bag…the Wii U gamepad acts as a cockpit view with optional motion controls to aim, while the TV screen can also be the same…or the traditional third-person view.

This works well for the most part, the only issue is that sometimes the motion controls are forced on you…especially when you transform your Arwing into the Walker that is awkward to control. There’s a few other vehicles you get to try, including one that allows you to lower down a robot to disable/enable monitors, which is also difficult to manoeuvre. The worst example of this is when the Walker gets the same ability and has to land directly above and behind an enemy boss while in combat…
It can be incredibly difficult to land both the Walker and the robot mid-flight, while the inevitable final boss against Andross is a real pain as you have to switch your view from the TV to the Gamepad a number of times to avoid his deadly attacks. I finally defeated him, but it took a good number of attempts and having to replay the Venom mission beforehand where you have to defeat Star Wolf once again.

Visually, Zero looks great. It runs at a solid framerate and the action is just great to watch…the only downside is the conversations you have with General Pepper before each mission look a little odd. Voice-acting is just as good and cheesy as it ever was before, while the music will fill you with nostalgia as well as new tunes that are pretty good too.

The Verdict

Star Fox Zero may not have been the game that we’ve been asking for over 10 years, but it does a good job in retelling the N64 classic. The controls are controversial, some love them while others loathe them…and I find myself torn somewhere in the middle, it’s far from perfect and it only lasts a few hours…but it’s still Star Fox and that’s what matters…despite it’s flaws. As probably one of the last Wii U games to make a unique use out of Gamepad, it’s well worth a look.

Score: 8.0