Wednesday, 15 January 2014

Star Fox 64 3D Review (sort of)

In which Eye Moustaches writes a glowing Kid Icarus: Uprising review as he tries to write a Star Fox review
*You don't have to read the footnotes, they're mostly throwaway jokes*

Nostalgia is an odd thing. When others play (deep breath) Star Fox 64 3D I suspect it fills them with fond memories of Lylat Wars1. However when I play Star Fox 3D 64, I feel nostalgic for a game that at the time of this game's release hadn't even come out yet; Kid Icarus Uprising. This is not a comparison that works well for Star Fox 34 6D2. Put simply, Pit knocks Fox's biscuits out, and no doubt yells "yayayaya" annoyingly as he does it.

But before we go into the negative, there is one key area in which Kid Icarus Uprising could learn a thing or two from Star Fox 63 4D: storytelling and voice acting. When Jaz Adams set about recording the now immortal line "Can't let you do that Star Fox" delivered by Wolf O'Donnell (the sort of multi-layered villain Shakespeare wishes he could create3) the preparation he had done was evident in his performance. What couldn't Wolf let Star Fox do? What were his reasons? These were clearly questions he'd grappled with extensively. Equally, his delivery of the under-rated line "what the heck" was so real, one might almost believe that Mr. Adams himself had witnessed his adversary figure out how to do a somersault and deploy it at a randomly timed moment on the battlefield. When Edge magazine writes an article about video games as a storytelling medium, again, they would be remiss if they did not mention this game. The game's story of a talking Fox's battle against his father's killer 4is truly a classic5.
Every morning, when Nolan North wakes up, the realisation that he is not this man causes him to tear up

In addition, Star Fox 46 D3's levels are quite short, making them better suited to handheld gaming. The game is pleasant to look at, although when Slippy says "I don't see the enemy fleet" that may have less to do with the enemy's deployment of genius tactic of "sneaking up behind them" and more do with a draw distance the length of Fox's nose. And with that I'm clearly through being positive.
It's difficult to convey the way that enemy ships suddenly pop up into view when you get into range with only one picture, so instead here's a picture of Magnitude

The difference that stands out clearest to me is the difference in responsiveness. Kid Icarus throws lasers, eggplants and more lasers at you at a hectic pace, but provides you with the tools you need to respond promptly to these threats. In the aerial sections in particular, Pit instantly goes where you need him to go. Stax For 3D 64 feels slow and sluggish, almost as if Fox is slightly drunk as he pilots the Arwing. Given how psychologically damaged most of the team are this wouldn't be all that surprising.
Some people will tell you that you need photoshop to do this kind of work but they're just shysters looking for a quick buck

Having aiming and movement mapped to the same analogue stick seems like a bad choice. The barrel role move in particular seems to require too much time to be of any use in combat. Whether or not you'll hit objects seems hard to determine, this is especially noticeable in the sun level, where giant waves of... sun... stuff rise up and block out the way forward, leaving you no choice but to brake and just hope. 
This sense of disconnect is most noticeable during the all-range mode battles against Star Wolf. Whether or not you can find them, let alone hit them seems to be based on luck, so most of your time in these sections is spent drifting through the sky or making painfully slow 90 degree turns. I realise that making such turns is difficult with real aircraft, but we're talking about ships that have brakes so realism is clearly not the order of the day. Also: TALKING ANIMALS.

Having to rapidly press A to fire, while it may be the only way, is frustrating.

 Finally, the Landmaster sections are a frustrating experience that really take the fun out of repeat playthroughs. All the complaints about sluggishness are amplified ten-fold when Fox inexplicably decides that in this mission, he won't use his Arwing. The ghost of Kid Icarus yet to come, with its enjoyable ground sections, is especially hard on the Landmaster.

In conclusion, Kid Icarus Uprising is an excellent game, Star Fox D3 46 is enjoyable, but not in the same league.

Score: 7/10

1: Or Star Fox 64 for those of you who aren't required by law to carry a supply of helium on your person. Third ever blog post and I'm already making in-jokes. This bodes well...
2: The sixth dimension denotes the variable insincerity. It describes the insincerity of an inanimate object and is conveyed by mathematicians by piling their pencils and other materials on top of their graph of computer screen.
3: That should probably say wished...
4: The Star Fox wiki describes Andross as a scientist who specialises in bio-technology and space warps, showing a poor understanding of the word specialise. Even from my limited knowledge of biotechnology, it's pretty clear that plasmids and lac operons have very little to do with "space warps". There's no way someone could specialise in these two completely unrelated fields unless "space warp" technology is powered by ethanol and recombinant insulin
5: Incidentally, that paragraph would have an insincerity value of 9, denoted by arranging three biros in a triangle.Cheap jokes aside, the story of Stad Fox 64 3r doesn't take it self too seriously and the actor's performances have a fun, cheesy appeal.

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