This week has been an exciting time for fans of the long time Star Fox series. Star Fox Zero was released to the joy of longtime as it was the first semi-new game to be released and the first non Star Fox 64 game to be released since Star Fox Command on the DS. Many people knew it was going to be similar to Star Fox 64 with some new toys within the game. Some have made the argument Star Fox Zero is too similar to Star Fox 64 and is too safe. Does Star Fox Zero rely too much on Star Fox 64 Nostalgia for success?
The history of the series has been both interesting and fascinating. With only a few games, the series has stood to be one of the smaller favorites in Nintendo’s catalog. I am not making the argument Star Fox Zero should not have a story similar to Star Fox 64. This is a reboot of the series after all so I do expect some things to stay the same. There are some key differences in the gameplay and control department, no one would have an enjoyed a near one for one copy experience. I couldn’t notice the numerous times lines and certain sections of familiar planets and sectors used the exact material from Star Fox 64. Anyone who has never played Star Fox 64 will not notice this in the game; however, a game series should be able to make progress overtime, not regress or get stuck in a rut. In Star Fox’s case, the series just cannot get past Star Fox 64.
The series itself has tried to branch out before. Adventures was an adventure game in the style of Zelda, Star Fox Assault received mixed reception at best, and Star Fox Command was a strategy game with some elements from the cancelled Star Fox 2. While Adventures started out as a different project at the beginning and was only changed to a Star Fox game based on Miyamoto’s advice, The other two games attempted to move forward by including different gameplay elements, a continuation of the overall story, and progress the series. Somewhere along the line, the identity of the series was lost. I argue the lack of a central identity throughout the years led to the latest reboot of a game that was a reboot of the classic Star Fox on the Super Nintendo. No one knows what characteristics classify a game as a Star Fox game. Is it a rail-shooter? Is it an open world space combat shooter? or Is it something else? This has been the struggle both fans and Nintendo has gone through over the past 15 to 18 years.
Back to square one, Does Star Fox Zero rely heavily on our nostalgia for Star Fox 64? It depends on what you determine is Star Fox’s core identity. Someday, Nintendo and the fans will find an answer. It may be good or may be bad, but none of the less, the search will continue for a way to get the series past its roots.
As I played through Star Zero this week, only one question popped into my mind: will we see another reboot 5 to 10 years from now?