E3 2015: Star Fox Zero rolls into trouble (Wii U)

What was it?
A 15-minute playthrough of one stage and a boss fight.

What did we learn?

— Players are encouraged to use the GamePad for precision aiming….

— …Which can cause some issues.

— It’s somewhat unwieldy and slow.

How was it?
Initially, Starfox seems like a bust. It’s not a looker, by any means, and it controls awkwardly. The Nintendo rep at the demo station did a good job of explaining that the GamePad is to be used for precision aiming (it’s a view from the cockpit) and the TV for flying, but in practice this was a disorientating experience. Often, the aiming reticule would be way off to one side of the screen when you looked down, no matter what you did: other times the natural movement of the GamePad in player hands would mean you were facing the sky (or the canyon floor) when you returned to it.

It can be overcome, but there’s also a chronic lack of speed to your ship, perhaps in part to mitigate the GamePad issues. Transforming into a ground craft with a touch of A changes things up for a while, but controls aside Star Fox’s main issue is that it’s just a bit too dull at the moment, with the demo at least focusing on pitting the Arwing vs ground units or slow-moving bosses. Combat features little of the blazing dogfights we’re used to, feeling more like a gentle procession between two sides who don’t much like each other.

Anything Else?
The ground version of your craft runs like a chicken. Yes.

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