Animated Movie Reviews, Animated Movies, Reviews

Star Fox Zero The Battle Begins Review

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It’s time to take a look at the little Star Fox special that Nintendo came out with to promote the new game. Unfortunately, the game was rather underwhelming, but the special is fairly good. It’s short so there is only time for one real battle, but this was more of a promo than anything else. It’s only around 15 minutes so there is naturally not much of an opportunity for it to drag on or have any real negatives while its potential is also limited as well. It’s a double edged blade in the end.

The Star Fox team must try to protect Corneria from the invaders or all hope will be lost. Luckily Fox is here and when he is around the group knows that everything will ultimately be okay. Unfortunately, the government is keeping secrets from Fox. Gee, what else is new right? He’s saving their lives on a daily basis and that’s how he is repaid. The secret is explained in the game and you have to wonder why it was kept a secret the whole time. Naturally, the special ends abruptly since you are meant to play the game to see how it all unfolds.

The animation looks fairly sharp, but unfortunately that only really applies to the backgrounds and lasers. The actual characters use very odd designs that really don’t work very well. They clash with the rest of the effects on screen. Maybe the animation company was experimenting with a new animation strategy, but I can safely say that it did not work. Sometimes going for something new and original is simply not the smartest strategy. Sometimes you just need to play it safe.

There’s not a whole lot more to discuss from this advertisement. There is a “This villain’s too cool!!!” moment that the special tries to sell you, but it will all depend on whether or not you can take the guy seriously. The villains are mostly comic relief so it’s safe to say that you won’t find them to be all that intimidating at this point. Slippy’s new voice actor isn’t quite as epic as the old one, but he still tries his best. At least he is likable unlike the old pal from Fox’s dad’s crew. Fox and Falco are easily the two best members of the crew even if there isn’t a whole lot of differences in their personalities. That will come with time I suppose. When you get down to the nitty gritty of it all, this special has all of the aspects that you want in a short. It has a nice battle scene and a decent background theme with no really bad characters. I definitely give it a pass and would recommend checking it out. After all, it’s not very often that Nintendo steps into the animated world. I still long await the day that we get a proper Super Smash Bros TV show or movie. That could have the potential to be one of the all time greats after all. Well, until then I suppose!

Overall 7/10

Game Records

Star Fox Guard Stats and Records

Stats time!

Play Time 3h 9m
Rank 22
Missions Cleared 50/100
1 Squad Battles
1 Squad Uploaded
51 Successful Defenses
6 Successful Defenses 6
1 Successful Attacks
16% Symbols
100/100 in End Credits
20354 Total Score

7 Star Games, Game Reviews, Games, Reviews

Star Fox Guard Review

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After the interesting Star Fox Zero experience, I walked into this game with slightly leveled expectations. Luckily, Guard accomplishes what it set out to do and plays out like a fun little minigame adventure. It is similar to the Captain Toad game in the way that it doesn’t feel like a full title, but is still fun. It even has a little plot which is always fun to have and there are actually some online features which add to the replay value. Need I also mention that the game’s main story is longer than Zero’s campaign? Zero took 2 hours and 52 minutes while this one took 3 hours and 9 minutes. Close of course, but Guard took the win here.

You play as an original character who has been hired to help defend some mines. Slippy and Grippy offer some “helpful” advice once in a while, but in the end your skills are the only thing keeping the alien robots from conquering your precious metals. Are you up to the task? There are 50 Story Mode missions with there being 10 per world. Each world has a cutscene for the very first level and for the last one, which is typically a big boss fight. There are actually one or two cinematic cutscenes as we see Team Star Fox arrive to lend a hand. It is always pretty hype to see the main characters. “Fox here” never gets old as Fox’s opening line to the other characters. I still don’t understand why he was so quiet in Zero for most of the game though. In most titles you would expect some banter, but Fox likes to just tune out the villains I suppose.

The gameplay is fairly original. You have the Gamepad for the aerial display of your cameras and the TV lets you actually see what is happening. Your 12 cameras all have laser guns inside of them and you have to blast away all of the enemy robots before they can reach your generator. If they hit it even once, then it is all over for you. Each stage is similar to a Pac Man maze and the generator is always in the center. You can choose to start the level with the default camera layout or move them around to your own preferences. Typically I recommend moving them a little since the A.I. intentionally leaves a blind spot or two, but you should be fine either way. The game isn’t all that hard, but does require a good amount of concentration.

As you progress through the game, you’ll get level ups, which unlock new cameras. For example, you’ll have a camera that can stop time and one that can lock onto a few opponents at once. These really come in handy and especially the time slow one. That one is almost overpowered against bosses if you ask me. The time slow lasts for so long and recharges so quickly! Level ups also allow you to access more bonus levels. There are 50 levels total and I made it to 20 by the end of the game. You’ll definitely need to grind a little to make it to 50, but it should be a fairly painless endeavor.

Surprisingly, the Gamepad is actually utilized rather well in this game. The rest of Nintendo’s titles should take some notes here. The Gamepad screen shows you the cameras as mentioned earlier, but you still need the TV screen to accurately shoot at the enemies. It’s not tedious and it doesn’t feel forced. This gimmick is something that the Gamepad can naturally make use of and while you can theoretically complete the levels with only one screen, using both of them helps a great deal.

I like the look of the graphics. They are at the same level as Star Fox Zero so even though Guard is really a minigame, it looks and feels like a big budget title. There aren’t a whole lot of character models and levels so the ones that are there can have quite a lot of detail. It’s all very flashy and the cinematics that show up from time to time look quite good as well. As far as the music goes, it is all decently catchy I guess. None of the themes will be all that memorable, but we have some good heroic themes and some tense ones as well. It helps complete the experience.

As for the villains, I enjoyed the boss designs. The first boss was a King and he fit into the lore pretty well as Mario 64 had quite a few of those as well. There was a giant bird that was intense and the final boss was a blast to fight as well. It is tough to design a boss like this, but there is nothing more thrilling than facing off against a boss and just barely managing to take the win. That’s how the final boss of Guard was as I just barely beat him, only to find that he had another form. I kept on clutching the win through his 4 forms and it always felt satisfying. The bosses weren’t “cheap” or artificially difficult. They were just right.

Guard also has a good amount of replay value at its disposal. Aside from the 50 main levels, there are an additional 50 bonus missions which are harder than the story based ones. They will test your mastery over the game. There is a level system as well with the highest level being 50. It’s always fun to get some level ups and I could see that being a good incentive to replay levels until you max out. There is even some online capabilities which always helps out a little. That’s because there is one aspect of the game that I haven’t even touched on yet.

You can build your own levels sort of like Mario Maker. You don’t touch the actual design or layout as far as I know…although it is certainly possible. I sorta skipped the tutorial for building a level and haven’t gotten around to making one yet. I uploaded a tutorial level which is actually doing well online, but I need to sit down and really try to make something glorious one of these days. You can also go online and play other people’s levels which is always fun and competitive. You even have a global rank sort of like Street Fighter which is awesome. The downside is that when someone defeats your level you end up losing points. I’m not crazy about that and would prefer if each side (Building and Playing) had different ranks. I suppose you could just decide to not make a stage if you’re worried about that, but it’s not really a big deal. Just a slight suggestion for Nintendo.

Overall, Star Fox Guard is a blast. It remembered the most important quality that all games have to possess in order to be successful. Guard has the fun factor. It’s the kind of game that you can easily just boot up and start playing at any time. There is a lot of replay value here so I would actually say that it’s worth more than Star Fox Zero although neither are worth the 60. Even with Zero as a combo pack, I don’t think this is all that worth your money for 60, but 40 would be another story. It is certainly a blast though so you don’t have to worry about completely regretting your purchase. If you get the game look up Terry20 and prepare yourself for a dangerous level!

Overall 7/10

Game Records

Star Fox Zero Stats and Records

Stats time!

Play Time 2h 52m
Total Score 1422
1422 Units Destroyed
Bill 910080
7/70 Medals

Stage Stats

Corneria 176 hits 1/5 Medals
Sector a 181 hits 0/5 Medals
Area 3 153 Hits 0/5 Medals
Zoness 8 Hits 1/5 Medals
Sector B 236 Hits 1/5 Medals
Titania 58 Hits 0/5 Medals
Sector Y 121 Hits 1/5 Medals
Fichina 81 Hits 1/5 Medals
Sector Omega 121 Hits 1/5 Medals
Corneria 2 147 Hits 0/5 Medals
Venom 140 Hits 1/5 Medals

5 Star Games, Game Reviews, Games, Reviews

Star Fox Zero Review

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Let’s just say that I’m glad that I basically got this game for free since I used a contest prize to pre order this title. This isn’t the Star Fox game that we deserve. Star Fox Zero was supposed to bring this franchise back to life after its sad demise at the hands of Command. Unfortunately, Nintendo dropped the ball on this game in a big way. It’s not even so much that the game is short because length isn’t all that important compared to other aspects…sometimes…but the controls are some of the worst that I’ve ever played. Aside from Wii shovelware titles, this may have the worst controls for any AAA title. It really drains away any enjoyment that you could have taken from this game.

As far as the story goes, the game is essentially a remake/reboot of Star Fox 64 or the original. I forgot which one had this plot actually. Andross wants to destroy Corneria so a galactic war begins. Both sides suffer heavy losses and Team Star Fox is called in. They get the job done and their small group is more powerful than any army. The leader is Fox McCloud, a man who must avenge his father’s death by saving the universe. No task is too much for this young hero and he eagerly rises to the occasion along with his tough crew. Falco is the resident hot head who talks a good game even though he always tends to lose. Slippy doesn’t talk tough and still manages to lose a lot. Finally we’ve also got Peppy, the tough veteran who always ends up losing. Thing is, Fox is the only one who tends to win since the A.I. isn’t good against a villain attack in the gameplay. It’s a shame for them.

All right, let’s start with the positives because there are quite a few negatives here. I did enjoy the visuals. The space fights looked visually appealing and the game certainly looks pretty polished. The character models are not quite as good though and the game is pretty lazy which may have given them more time for the visuals. For example, the game uses the same recycled footage before each level as a mini conversation is had and there is really nothing to be found beyond the levels. More on that later.

The soundtrack is pretty fun. We have some nice remixes from the older Star Fox games and the themes are all very heroic and inspiring. It’s not quite Mario, but the themes never get dull and you’ll appreciate them. This may be the game’s greatest positive now that I think about it. A more mild one would be the fact that the characters are pretty charismatic. It barely counts since they are relying on character development from older games though. Fox and the others don’t really have much of a personality beyond a one line description that can fit each character. You are really just supposed to know who they all are at this point. Still, Fox has always been a cool character and that doesn’t change here. I don’t like Peppy, but Slippy and Falco are cool.

Unfortunately, we get a new character for this game who adds nothing to the story. There used to be a character named Krystal back in the day, but fans were really divided on her and she was axed from the series in this reboot. Instead, we have a new female fox who is naturally pink. I forgot her name, but her only role is to appear for about 5 minutes and flirt with Fox for the entire duration. That’s it…her role is just to flirt with Fox. Nintendo couldn’t have made a more unlikable, 2 dimensional character if they had tried. You could say the same for Andross although for different reasons. He’s also 2 dimensional and unlikable. Partially because of his design and just the fact that he’s not interesting at all. I think Pigma or Wolf would have made for a better final boss. Wolf’s cool as always, a shame that he gets around 2-3 lines here.

All right, let’s tackle the big issue in the room. The motion controls! Why would Nintendo revert back to this tired gimmick that got old a day after the Wii came out? Motion controls never work and they never will work. Sensors will never be accurate enough and it’s a hassle to keep on spinning in your chair to lock on to enemies and fire. As a result, the levels simply aren’t fun to play whenever you have to fight someone. That’s why I avoided enemies whenever possible and just zoomed through them. It is very difficult to aim and boss fights become artificially difficult. With proper controls, I’d say that you could breeze through these guys. As it stands, you’ll have a tough time of it. You can turn it off to an extent, but a slight one. Instead of always being on when moving, it’ll just keep on affecting your aim…which is just as bad. You still have to move the Gamepad in order to hit anything so that’s not much of a help.

It goes without saying that because of this you have to use the Gamepad. It’s a mandatory part of playing Star Fox Zero which is really a shame. I never liked the Gamepad and things like this remind me why that is the case. The instant I played the first level or two and noticed how restrictive the controls were, I knew that the game was going to have it rough. From fairly early on I had a feeling that a 6 was the highest it could go and the rest of the negatives kept it from reaching that spot.

Let’s talk about the game length. The game was nice enough to keep track of how long it took to complete it and I beat the game in 2 hours and 52 minutes. That’s considering that I was stuck on the boss for almost an hour and the fact that I lost to another boss once and in another level once more. This game is incredibly short for 60 dollars to the point where you could and should call it a ripoff. This is not worth 60 dollars and should have only been 30 upon release. You simply can’t justify the price point.

Replay Value is what could save the game from this short length, but there’s not as much as there should be. For starters, there is no multiplayer mode. Yes, there seriously isn’t a multiplayer mode in this game even though it would make perfect sense. Star Fox Assault had a terrific multiplayer mode. So, the only replay value is going back to get all of the medals and I don’t even know what doing that does. Maybe it unlocks a new level or something. There are 70 medals scattered around the 14 levels so that should buy you some time I guess. I definitely wouldn’t want to go after those. Even beating Arcade Mode sounds like a bit of a drag and especially when the only thing you unlock is Sound Test. I can’t verify that Sound Test is the final mode since I’m not going to try and unlock it, but that’s what I’ve heard around the web.

Yes, this game really won’t last you very long and it is easy to see why a lot of people are upset. They should be upset. This game got a lot of hype from Nintendo and it was even delayed a bit to polish up the graphics since it got bashed so hard at E3. Well, the graphics are better, but the controls are downright terrible. There was no quality control in this title and it feels so empty. I don’t think the developers put a lot of heart into this title. Even little things like the fact that the voices come from the Gamepad is annoying. Why do you have to hear the music from the TV on your right and then the voices from the Gamepad speaker below you? It makes no sense and it is like the game is trying to force you to just play with the TV off. Good luck with that.

After you beat the game there is a quick scene, but you won’t really miss anything if you didn’t stick around. I was hoping for an actual cliffhanger or something instead of what we got. Fox’s Dad seems to possibly be alive since he interfered a whole lot for a ghost so maybe that will be a plot in the sequel if the sequel has anything resembling a plot and if one is actually made. I don’t see this game selling all that well at all.

I almost forgot to mention the various gadgets that you have. The Landmaster, The Gyrowing, and the creature form of the Arwing. They’re all pretty bad I’m afraid. The Gyrowing is very slow and it is just around so you can use a Clank ripoff to hack the villain controls. It buys time for the levels. The Landmaster and the robot just suffer from terrible controls. Turning around is a hassle when it shouldn’t be and everything is made much more difficult than it otherwise would be. I suppose that these things wouldn’t be negatives without the motion controls, but that’s simply how the cookie crumbled this time. The controls are simply terrible.

Overall, Star Fox Zero is pretty disappointing and a final reminder for fans around the globe that we don’t want anything even slightly related to motion controls for the upcoming NX. It should be really hard to mess up with this kind of game, but Nintendo went above and beyond expectations on how to destroy hype. Making the motion controls mandatory was the main mistake here. 60 dollars for under 3 hours of story content is also pretty suspect in and of itself. Zero is a cash grab, nothing more and nothing less. Nintendo is hoping that enough loyal fans will buy the game to make a profit instead of trying to make a good game that everyone can buy. I don’t recommend buying this title and if you want to have a good space epic with Fox and the gang, just buy Assault instead. It’s a much better game than Zero in every single way. As sad as it sounds, I played the game for under 3 hours and I’m not sure if I’ll ever have a need to play it again. There is no real reason to go back to it and I actually think Star Fox Guard has a decent chance of being a better game when all is said and done. That’s quite scary. Nintendo, give us a proper Star Fox game or a new F Zero title for the NX. If not, I fear these two franchises may be gone for good.

Overall 5/10