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Star Fox Zero hands-on preview – Not so sure about the GamePad play

I remember the first time I tried Splatoon with its odd motion control system. I didn’t know if I liked it. About 30 minutes later, I improved. An hour later, I was even better. A day in? I was way better with motion than analog sticks.

I’m really hoping that’s exactly how the GamePad play will turn out with Star Fox Zero on the Wii U.

I played the game for about 15 minutes at E3. I took on a single mission on Corneria. Fox and company flew through a city blasting enemies of all sorts, including skyscraper tossing robots. Then, we approached an All-Range area that let us move around at will. In this game, you can transform from a flying to a walking Arwing at the press of a button, complete with little chicken wing flutters as your craft floats to the ground.

That transformation was neat, I suppose, but it wasn’t quite as useful in most moments as I hoped it would be.

In All-Range Mode, I destroyed a bunch of enemies until a boss section opened up. Then, I flew to the top of a skyscraper, fired through some targets, flew into an exhaust vent and tangled with the main event. It was over pretty quickly, and that small boss space was perfect for the walking Arwing.

Star Fox is my jam, friends. I loved it on the SNES and N64, and I even had my fun with the GameCube game. This one? I’m really, really not so sure about the GamePad play.

You have two different screens at work here in Star Fox Zero. The main screen is your standard Arwing view complete with the reticule and a third person shot of the craft. The GamePad features a cockpit shot that can be moved by twisting and turning the GamePad.

I couldn’t get a feel for it at all. In fact, it felt so off that I was constantly clicking the left stick to reset it (much like Splatoon‘s Y button press) because I thought it was just misaligned. That didn’t really help.

It was weird. The demo host offered that she had the same issue, and several colleagues I spoke with over the course of the week here at E3 offered the same. It just doesn’t feel like it should, and it had me dying for analog sticks only.

I didn’t have the opportunity to try and change them in my demo, and the host wasn’t able to answer my question. I wanted to know if motion control could be disabled here, but it doesn’t seem like that’s possible. The second screen nature of the GamePad lends itself to being controlled with movement, but it just doesn’t work like I hoped.

At least not yet. That might be my problem, or it might be a case of problematic design. I’m not sure, though I’m not ready to write off the game just yet.

The Star Fox fan in me is excited to play Zero when it releases this holiday on the Wii U. However, the critic in me is hoping the controls can be learned with a little patience and time.


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Joey Davidson

Joey Davidson leads the gaming department here on TechnoBuffalo. He's been covering games online for more than 10 years, and he's a lover of all...Joey Davidson leads the gaming department here on TechnoBuffalo. He's been covering games online for more than 10 years, and he's a lover of all...


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