Nintendo came in force with quite a few games. Quite a few big name games. Big names come with big queues so I didn’t get to play the games till near the end of the event.
The first I played was the one I really wanted to get my hands on. Not because of it’s retro power but because it really was the only one I was interested in. “Star Fox Zero”.
If you are excited for Zero then you are mostly a person that played the original on the N64. If you are then I can say the game caters for you. And mostly only you. I have no history with “Star Fox 64”. I never owned an N64 and never played a Star Fox game before so I have no nostalgia for the series. Although I am someone who knows the memes generated by the series as I live on the internet. I had a bad feeling of who the game was catered for during the demo the game that plays on the start screen as the final words you hear at the end as the title shows is the frog saying “do a barrel roll”.
I got to play the tutorial level (as I never played a Star Fox before) and the first demo level. The game consists of three modes of play. The first is the mode old hands would be familiar with, flying down a liner track at a set speed with movement control, a boost and machine guns aimed via the pad. The guns are aimed with the gyroscope in the pad, so tilt up to aim up, tilt town sot aim down, etc. It talks some getting used to but once you wrap your head around using analogue stick to move the ship and moving the whole pad to aim you can be relatively accurate. Even if you don’t get used to it, you can just hold down the fire button and it charges a power-shot which is auto homing to targets. But the charge is slow so you can’t get through levels using with just homing shots which forces you to practice using the pad aim while giving you some breathing room. What I felt was the problem was that the cross-hair could of just been connected to the second joystick instead of the whole pad. It felt like they needed to come up with something for the pad to do so they just connected it to the guns. It doesn’t detract from the game but it felt like they were just coming up for an excuse to use the pad instead of a controller or wii-chuck.
The second mode is exactly the same at the first but you can move freely in a 3D open area. This is when the game goes ‘kill x amount of y to progress’. Again its ok but it feels like they had to come up with a reason to use the pad.
The third mode is when the pad aiming controls come into its own. You are automatically and permanently locked on to the boss and fly around it, dodging its attacks and shooting its weak points. This was when I did what the Nintendo rep wanted me to do and that was go from screen to screen, using the TV to plan my arcs around the boss and using the pad to shoot their weak points. If the game was much more of this than it would be a reason to have the duel screens and the pad controls but it isn’t. These boss stages are really, really fun and all the controls are organic but I can see that most of the time you are going to be in the second mode, flying around trying to find that one enemy that alludes you.
But, even though it’s laying on the nostalgia with a dump-truck and spends a lot of its time trying to find something for the pad to do, it still it very fun. So rest assured those that have long awaited a new Star Fox game. It’s not bad. It’s just not outstanding either. Although, if you have been waiting for a new Star Fox game, it is designed with you in mind. It’s wants to bring you back to those halcyon days of yore while showing some signs of modernisation.
Now on to the games that are already out. “Splatoon” is great. It is very, very fun. It is also the shooting game that the WiiU really needs. Every other platform has a plethora of shooters to choose from. “Call of Duty”, “Battlefield” and the soon released “Battlefront” are some of the bigger names with the likes of “Planetside 2” and “Tribes” for the connoisseur. The WiiU never had any of those but now it can step forward and say that it has a really competitive, really fun, online shooter.
“Super Mario Maker” is a game that does exactly what you expect. It lets you build your own Mario levels. You can use pretty much any block from any Mario game, place it with good building controls, play it and share it online. As bonuses you can switch from old 80’s Mario aesthetic to modern Mario aesthetic and back and use Amiibo’s for bonus blocks and characters. The only thing that annoyed me had nothing to do with the game. If you read my overview of the event and the games if didn’t play piece, you will know that I wasn’t allowed to record two games, one being “Super Mario Maker”. But while EA had a blanked ban, Nintendo was more wobbly and only one guy didn’t let me record. Everyone else didn’t care and let me stand next to the screen with camera at face. So this is just a reminder that Nintendo is really funny with the internet and in some cases it’s really stupid.