For a company that’s rarely shy of reusing and repurposing its characters, Nintendo has employed Fox McCloud relatively sparingly. There hasn't been what you’d think of as a true Star Fox game since the Nintendo 64. That’s nearly two decades since we strapped into an Arwing cockpit alongside our anthropomorphic squadron without having to worry that the next level would plonk us on a planet for an out-of-place on-foot mission.
Star Fox Zero, thankfully, returns us to the gameplay of the N64 era. The galaxy is threatened, Star Fox (plus gang) are called in, and a branching adventure plays out across asteroid fields and various planets. If this sounds, initially, like exactly what you’d been hoping for since 2002’s Star Fox Adventures decided (incorrectly) that McCloud was better off on foot in a Zelda clone, then there’s also some bad news. Star Fox Zero’s controls are needlessly complicated.
First off, there are two views — one displayed on your TV screen (as is traditional), which positions the camera behind your ship. The other, displayed on your controller’s screen, is a cockpit view, which is designed for more accurate targeting of enemies. This means you’re constantly expected to switch between the two, which is tricky in the heat of battle. But it doesn’t end there. There are also motion controls to contend with — you have to tilt the Wii U controller to assist your aiming, but it needs to be regularly recalibrated so it points where you think it should.
All of this makes the game much more frustrating than it should be — the toughest enemy you’ll face being your personal battles with the controls. It doesn't make the game unplayable, but you’ll certainly get the feeling that you’re not doing as well as you should be and that it’s not entirely your fault.