At PAX Prime 2015, I was given an opportunity to see Star Fox Zero up close and personal. Present were the usual suspects – Fox, Falco, Slippy, and, Peppy – naturally being given mission orders from trusty ol’ General Pepper. The gameplay is reminiscent of that from Star Fox (SNES) and Star Fox 64 sporting traditional arcade-y elements and classic perspectives including rail shooting in Corneria and all-range mode when encountering larger, more significant enemies. Star Fox Zero allows seamless transition between vehicles as was already indicated in the official E3 gameplay reveal by Nintendo. More of that was explained in the PAX build of Star Fox Zero. The difference vehicle types are relevant depending on what type of terrain you’re fighting on. Ground areas are great for walkers and air missions are obviously best for Fox’s arwing.
From what I gathered at PAX Prime, aside from textures needing a bit more time in the cooker, is that Star Fox Zero looks very clean assuming the developers wanted to stick with the iconic Star Fox feel. The game maintains the familiar HUD from past Star Fox entries showing the players how many items have been collected and hits dealt to enemies and obstacles. One thing that I was especially worried during the official E3 gameplay reveal were the game’s controls. While I don’t mind that Star Fox Zero uses the game pad as Fox’s cockpit view, I didn’t want the focus to be solely on the gamepad versus the larger, lovelier view on the big screen.
Witnessing gameplay first hand, the top screen gave an adequate viewpoint when in combat. This means that the gamepad is only an optional, admittedly more accurate, way to view what is being seen on screen. While what’s going on in the cockpit view appears to be slightly more accurate, it doesn’t appear to hinder your view on what is happening on the larger screen – at least not in the areas provided during the PAX build of the demo.
After a generation-long hiatus, Team Star Fox returns in Star Fox Zero. The Star Fox reimagining releases exclusively on Wii U on November 20th, 2015.