‘Star Fox Zero’ Arwing Controls Make New Wii U Title Frustrating To Use

Star Fox Zero made its gameplay debut at E3 2015 this past week to much fanfare. Most players were heralding the return to the original form of the Star Fox series, bringing the action back where it belongs: piloting your Arwing.

Star FoxZero looks much like its much-praised N64 counterpart, right down to the familiar look of the planet, Corneria. However, Nintendo is mixing it up by creating two views that are simultaneously running, thanks to the Wii U gamepad screen. On your television, Star Fox Zero is presented in the third-person, behind the ship format, while your first-person, in cockpit view, is presented on the gamepad screen. Simple, and actually pretty cool, when switching between the two. However, the control scheme isn’t as natural to use in the new Star Fox game.

Star Fox Zero Wii U
The two screen view of Star Fox Zero

Nintendo is bringing the gyroscope aiming found in Splatoon to Star Fox Zero. As a life-long Star Fox player, this format is incredibly difficult to use, expecially when you are holding the gamepad normally and not straight out in front of you. Oftentimes I found myself crashing into buildings, walls and enemies because I was used to the onscreen reticle to be lined up with my flight path and not tied to the angle I held my controller.

When I asked a Nintendo representative at their E3 2015 booth, all they could confirm at the time is that Gyro-only aiming was enabled for the show demo. This method of aiming is completely foreign to the Star Fox games. The idea is to give players more precision, but the idea falls flat especially when the Arwing switches to its iconic “all-range mode.”

Players had to take out spiders crawling up the side of a tower in the center of a Cornerian valley. However, I could never completely get a great shot because the reticle and the front of my ship were never aligned. I always felt as though I were blindfolded and trying to hit a penny across a massive room when trying to shoot down this monster. Ultimately, as a result I failed in my Star Fox Zero demo.

President of Nintendo, Satoru Iwata, has tweeted out that Star Fox Zero will have the same control ability as Splatoon before it, meaning that the gyro can be turned on/off. However, in my opinion, the gyro shouldn’t be an option. For players who jump into the game, this will likely be the default control setting. Newer fans will be frustrated by this scheme and may be inclined to set down the game before realizing there is even the ability to change Star Fox Zero’s abysmal aiming mechanics.

Hopefully Nintendo will do away with the gyro-functionality before the game hits retail this holiday season in North America. Star Fox Zero should be a good entry into the storied franchise, and bringing the action back into the skies, but its control scheme shows that Star Fox hasn’t completely found its identity yet.

[Images via Nintendo]