|Nintendo Reviews Rating:
|Posted: March 15th, 2005
|Another collaboration with Namco and Nintendo turns out to be the new Star Fox game. This finally gets down to what fans
have been waiting for-a Star Fox sky-shooting game. Was it worth the wait?
Star Fox: Assault would seem like a game that should be sound-friendly. Well, it's not quite that. First off, there is no
Dolby Pro Logic here, so that hurts. The voices are somewhat compressed, but it's actually not too bad in quality. The
music is orchestrated, which I'll get to in a minute, but without Dolby, it gets lost in the mix sometimes. The sound effects
seem to dominate here, and that's okay, except the sound effects really aren't that good. We hear simple sound effects,
different lasers, and sometimes nothing at all. It works, but it's a little too basic for this type of game.
The voices aren't very clear. The voice acting may shock some people, however. Fox's voice is pretty good, and so is
Krystal's. You can also get used to Peppy, Falco and Slippy after a while. They are a couple voices that are horrendous. The
worst one is Andrew (Oikonny). He has one of the worst voices I have ever heard in my life. Seriously, it is that bad. It is
so squeaky that it is almost unbearable. If you think Slippy's voice is bad, and it isn't, you'll definitely have some earplugs
for this guy. Leon is also pretty bad. Fortunately, you won't hear too much of them. The rest of the voices are tolerable.
The music is very short, but that's the way it is with video game music. It is also orchestrated, and it sounds awesome.
Unfortunately, it suffers from redundancy. Some tunes are very good, while some are bad. One of the boss themes gets
annoying, and the menu theme is one of the worst I have ever heard. I actually try to speed through menus just to avoid
that song. However, there are a couple tunes that are amazing, and those may be short-lived, but it's still good to hear. I
respect the move of recording it with an orchestra, but it just doesn't hold up as it should. Overall, the sound in this game
is hardly average, and that is disappointing to hear from a Star Fox game.
The control in the Arwing is important this time. The control isn't all that great. A is shoot, and B is bomb. Y is boost, but
you have to press it again to stop boosting. R is brake, and L is barrel roll. The brake is almost useless, as turning
becomes slow. Barrel Roll is not important until you get to the harder difficulties. The C Stick is used for flip maneuvers.
After a while, you will come accustomed to the controls. The thing is, the game wants you to just learn it by yourself.
There is no training mode, and that hurts. There are also three control styles, but that is only for ground missions.
When you are a pilot, the controls aren't good, even with three options. The regular option is probably best. The dual stick
option should work, but it just doesn't feel right in this game. The R button run option is terrible. Assuming you play the
game with the regular controls, you will have some frustrations. Dodging enemy fire becomes tricky as turning is slow,
and you hardly have any time to recover from hits. When you get hit, the game reverts your angle back to normal
position, which means if you get hit while looking up, your view will tilt down. You also can't switch weapons, which is
performed using C Stick. This is really the only major problem. The camera's usually fine. All other controls are good,
sometimes imitating off of Metroid Prime, but that's okay.
The Landmaster is probably the easiest to maneuver, and that's pretty pathetic. L is for barrel roll, which is also used for
pilot. Y is hover in Landmaster, and jump in pilot. The hover is very slow, and hardly gains any height. It's too frustrating
to rely on in multiplayer mode. B is boost in Landmaster mode. The Landmaster also seems kind of slow at times, and as
all other modes, it turns slowly. In any mode, you can press the Control Pad to bring up a map. Since you have a radar, it
is usually without use. Overall, the controls just aren't polished. Even the menu screens are a little slow, and a bit
unorganized. Yet another disappointment for a Star Fox game.
Star Fox Adventures had the best graphics I had ever seen in
any video game, period. That's a lot to live up to, so I wasn't
expecting anything big here. The graphics are probably the best
part of the game. Most of the models are high-polygon, and
everything seems realistic. Framerate was very good, and only
slows in multiplayer games.
There seems to be a sometimes cartoonish look to some
objects. The cartoonish look is overlooked by the realism in
some areas. There is however, nothing excellent to report. The
graphics are great, but there's no real lighting effects, or extra
stuff to spruce it up. That's still okay by today's standards, and
it was good enough to get scored in the 8's range.
The number of levels being 10 is already a letdown. The levels average to be about 30 minutes long including cutscenes.
Sometimes, though, it feels dragged. The ninth level, Aparoid Homeworld, is tedious. There are three barriers to destory
before you can shoot down the shields. This takes forever. Some other levels get long, when on a harder difficulty, like
Sauria. This only seems to be true for the pilot levels, which makes it even more annoying. Why couldn't there be longer
Arwing levels? The level length can become unbearable, as you may spend half an hour without any breaks.
When you think back to Star Fox 64, you could beat the game in one hour. It takes about 5 hours for this one. However,
Star Fox 64 really adjusted to difficulty and had 15 levels with lots of combinations for missions. This aspect is lost, and
instead we get 10 long levels. It's stupid, considering what they could have done. Why couldn't they split Fortuna up into
two missions, one where we fight Oikonny, and another where we fight the Aparoid bug-fly thing. That would have been
cool and less overwhelming.
The difficulty levels hardly add to the replay, as the curve is only on defense instead of offense. It takes two big hits to die
on Gold, while it takes about 8 on Bronze. That certainly makes it harder, but also somewhat unfair. There are 5 flags in
each level, which is the only real incentive to keep playing. The multiplayer mode also sports many unlockables for those
who play long. I'm not sure who will play the multiplayer that long, though. You can unlock Xevious as a playable game,
but it is not much fun to keep interest for long.
Overall, it seems like the game tries to be long when it is really kind of short. The amount of multiplayer levels is big, but
you have to play to unlock stuff, including multiplayer modes. Better games have all this stuff already unlocked. The
replay isn't terrible, but it may not be enough to keep your interest. There are enough records to keep you busy, if that
suits you. It just doesn't feel very big as a whole.
Okay, Star Fox was great with just the Arwing. When will they figure this out? They say that this is the next true Star Fox
game, but it's only half closer than Star Fox Adventures was. And Star Fox Adventures was great as an adventure game.
I'm not sure what this game is trying to be, a rail shooter or just shooter. The game is fine with just the Arwing, but it
loses focus when you add the pilot and Landmaster levels. Star Fox 64 fans will remember the Landmaster levels being
fun. That's because it used the rail method. Why couldn't we have more of rail levels?
In case you don't know, 'rail' means levels where you can only move forward, and not backward. That's what the Star Fox
series is famous for, or 'was' famous for. If the pilot levels were only more fun, and the same goes with Landmaster, I
would not be complaining. They are just plagued by indecent controls. The Landmaster becomes too easy, as you can just
run over enemies. It's a guilty pleasure, but I think shooting in the Arwing would be twice as much fun. Arwing levels are
good, but not near what we had years ago.
Star Fox 64 had wall obstacles, cool bosses and different enemies. The game even leaves out some of that. No more sidling
through cracks in walls, and no more secret warps. The Arwing levels just don't feel the same without those features. The
pacing is usually okay, though, and you never get annoyed with the length. There's only one Star Wolf encounter, and that
level is not rail, which makes it feel weird. The lock on feature is probably the only aspect that has held up.
The game is pretty bad through the first half, but it gets much better the second half. That's a shame that it takes 4 levels
to really pick up in the fun, and somebody who only plays the first 4 levels may be disappointed. I just felt throughout
most of this game that it wasn't much fun. The game started to dwell on me after I played it a few times, but Star Fox fans
won't be pleased with the numerous changes. Even the multiplayer loses its appeal after a while. Overall, this game
doesn't hit any expectations, but is somewhat decent.
I never thought that years in waiting for another Star Fox would result in only a good game; not amazing in any way. The
game does sport great graphics, although not excellent, and will appeal long enough for a rental. This is actually a great
rental game, and if you truly like it, there is enough replay to last for a good while. It's just disappointing to have waited
this long. I was expected a high 8 out of this, but a middle 7 is just bad. This game has potential, though, and I will be
waiting for the day a great Star Fox game is released. This game is good enough to hold you off, though.