2011-09-19

Star Fox 64 3D – The Classic Looks Great, Plays The Same

by Yo Snyder

Let’s just get this out of the way; yes, Star Fox 64 3D is yet another port of a classic game that’s getting the 3D upgrade treatment for the 3DS. That means that we’re still
getting more remakes than originals, and most of those remakes are of
games that are well over a decade old. I’m with you on this one; stop
with the old-games-to-“new”-3D-games, Nintendo. I want some new new games that take full advantage of what the 3DS is capable of. But then again, Ocarina of Time
was a revelation on the 3DS; it was a gorgeous game on a system that
allowed the classic to live up to its full potential. And the truth is
the same is true with Star Fox 64 3D. Sure, many of you have
probably already played this classic, and you may be tired of the
constant 3D-enchanced retreads that Nintendo keeps trotting out, but
like Zelda, the 3DS gives Star Fox the ability to shine like it was
always meant to. In short, another good game gets even better with its
arrival on the 3DS.

The first improvement you’ll notice is the
graphics. Everything is sharp, colorful and detailed. Star Fox has never
looked this good. The game has some gorgeous lighting, some great
particle effects, and even some pretty impressive water effects. If you
still have it, go ahead and plug in that old N64 cartridge and take a
look, and then compare that with the new 3DS version. I think you’ll
notice a startling difference. The original pushed the old system to the
max, but with the power of the 3DS, the game finally lives up to more
of its potential visually, which greatly enhances the experience. Of
course a part of that is the 3D, which is put to nice effect in the
game. As with most flying games, the 3D effect helps with spatial
judgment. Granted, it doesn’t drastically alter the gameplay as I could
do just as well with the 3D off, but I was able to gauge distance more
effectively with the 3D on. Plus, the game just looked “better” in 3D,
although I’d be hard pressed to give you a definitive reason why. If
there’s a downside to the 3D, it’s that I naturally tend to move my head
and the system more as I fly, and that made it easy to get out of the
“sweet spot” for 3D viewing; a problem that’s made worse with the
gyro-controls turned on (which otherwise work pretty well).

Other
notable additions include a fun multiplayer. You can either take on up
to three other bots controlled by the A.I. or three of your friends. By
the way, the A.I. is no push-over either, even on normal difficulty (or
maybe I’m just that bad, either way, I had a tough time of it against
the A.I.). Each game gives you plenty of options to tweak to set up the
experience you want, and you have three different modes to choose from.
Of course any of these are more fun with friends, so the Download Play
feature is very much welcome. Best of all, you only need one copy of the
game and up to three of your friends can download it and join you. 

Still,
despite all the improvements, this is exactly the same game many of you
remember. For new players, the experience is sure to be a thrill, but
for veterans it may all seem a bit too familiar despite the new coat of
paint. Plus, the game is rather short. It takes about an hour to blast
your way (quite literally) through the campaign. Granted multiple play
throughs are needed to find all the alternate paths, but there’s just no
getting around the fact that Star Fox is a really short game, which
makes it hard to accept as a fully priced release. The fact is it’s yet
another old re-release and it’s a really short game; but I’m supposed to
pay full price for it? Granted it’s a lot of fun, and the graphical
over-haul is pretty impressive, but I still think it’s a bit of a
stretch for full price.

Like the Ocarina of Time, Star Fox 64
is definitely better on the 3DS. It looks better, it has some better
options (like the gryo-controls), and it’s still a lot of fun to play
even 14 years after its debut. Still, the fact remains that this is yet
another 3D converted classic re-tread, and while it may be a great game,
it’s not really a “new” one despite the fact that it looks new. Star Fox 64 3D
is a great game to show off what the 3DS can do and it’s fun to play
with your friends, but if you can find it for less than full-retail
price, or can rent it for a week from GameFly, I think that’s a better
value. However, if you’re a super-fan of this classic; then you have
plenty to be excited about with this edition.

Score out of 7:

Graphics:
6 – This is the best Star Fox has ever looked. It’s sharp, detailed,
colorful, and has some nice effects. Plus, the 3D enhances the
experience instead of just drawing attention to itself.

Sound: 5 –
The same music and sound effects you remember with warm nostalgia
improved thanks to digital technology. It’s all been redone, and even
the original voice actors came back to re-do some of the dialogue. 

Controls:
5- Lots of options to set the controls the way you like, and you can
even activate the gyro-controls so all you have to do is move the
system. It works pretty well, actually, but just don’t try it with the
3D turned on (nausea is guaranteed that way).

Gameplay: 5 – Star
Fox is as fun as ever, and just as short as ever. Fun multiplayer and
alternate routes help extend the gameplay, but there’s no getting around
the fact it’s a short game. But it’s a great ride while it lasts, and it’s not easy becoming a true Ace pilot in this game.

Story:
4 – Pretty straightforward stuff lacking much depth, but hey, it’s from
the N64 era. (I know, I know, so was Ocarina, but that was something
special).