E3 2015: Star Fox Zero Hands On Impressions

Nintendo finally revealed more information about Star Fox Zero and gave us a new trailer, along with a nice little E3 demo.

The tl;dr of my thoughts are that the graphics, gameplay and feeling you get in Star Fox Zero are all spectacular, but the controls really take some getting used to.

To elaborate a bit:
Playing Star Fox Zero felt like playing some of the older, more classic Star Fox titles (I am most excited for its similarity to Star Fox 64)! I was thrusting under falling platforms, charge-shotting enemies, and I even did a barrel roll! Falco was cocky, Peppy was wise and insightful, Slippy was.. Slippy (okay, he wasn’t that bad), and it was really great to visit that nostalgic play-style in a new, transformed way.

In the Star Fox Zero demo at E3, players pilot the Arwing in the traditional style of previous games — But in a new twist, players will look to the GamePad to aim and shoot enemies using its motion/gyro controls. These two separate views allow a more cinematic experience on your TV screen, and a first-person cockpit view on the GamePad. Here is where I feel the game’s demo falters a bit: The motion controlled aiming is pretty jerky, and I found myself constantly needing to re-adjust and really be conscious of every movement my arms and hands were doing. At one point, I unconsciously had moved my arms down to give them a star_fox_zer0_screen_gameparest, and when I was quickly surprised by an enemy, I imagined myself being able to easily target and destroy it, but that resting movement I inadvertently did (shouldn’t I be allowed to rest my arms?!) had me way off target.

The game also had many button commands that I’m sure will become old hat after you play a few missions, but for a first attempt at the game, I felt like I was being thrown in the beautiful 60fps glimmering waters to swim for myself. But hey, maybe other people like that exhilaration! I just felt like the controls were a bit too wonky. And when the full game launches, I honestly think this will be rectified by starting the player out just a bit more slowly and really teaching all of the controls, allowing for more time to get used to them.

Other than the control blunder, I would say Star Fox Zero‘s E3 demo was a very fun experience that will satisfy fans of the franchise, old and new alike. The addition of the Arwing being able to transform into a starfox2_3343595b“Walker” (raptor-like mech stance) was also a fresh way to keep that same gameplay we all love, but transform the experience into something fresh. Although, back on the topic of controls that take getting used to, the Walker can hover, but the player has to press the right control stick down, which seems to me like it would go against a player’s typical inclination to press up… inverted-control players might like it though!
Set to also feature the Landmaster Tank transformation, along with the new Walker and traditional Arwing gameplay, Star Fox Zero is currently scheduled to launch in Holiday 2015.


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