Ground Control to Major Fox
Take your protein pills and put your helmets on, Team Star Fox is back! But does their latest adventure make the grade or does it leave you wishing that they would return to there floating tin cans far above the world?
Fox McCloud, the famous intergalactic mercenary is back to kick some tail, dinosaur tail to be precise. His new adventure has him trotting through the lush vegetation of Dinosaur Planet, as he hones in on cogs and turnips, all the while shooting the breeze with the many prehistoric locals.... wait this is Star Fox's, Fox McCloud, right? The same intergalactic bad ass, gun-ho, mercenary from the Lylat system? That Fox McCloud....weird...
The story and presentation in Star Fox Adventures is more than a little....bizarre, for lack of a better word. On one hand you can't help but feel nostalgic seeing Peppy the Hare and Slippy the Toad help guide Fox through another adventure, on the other hand you can't get over the felling that they are just being crowbarred into this platformer to help elevate a less than stellar script and character roster. There is nothing overly charming or memorable about the characters other than there Star Fox characters. The supporting dinosaur cast, though colorful and well designed are all boring and uninteresting reptiles. Its not hard to see why McCloud and company where added to this game, without the nostalgic crutch of team Star Fox this fifteen hour quest would have been totally crippled.
The presentation isn't the only thing at odds with itself. The gameplay also feels strangely aimless. The game seems intent to have you just explore the world, instead of giving you interesting things to do while your globe trotting. The enemies you encounter are all easily defeated making them more of an annoyance than anything. More problematic however is how few puzzles and platforming sequences there are to do while exploring, making the overall game feel empty and hollow. Albeit the world is gorgeous, everything from fire and ice, to Fox McClouds furry coat of fur, all look splendid. A little more effort in designing challenging puzzles, or memorable platforming sequences would have gone a very long way in making the game feel more complete. At the end of the day the gameplay is just serviceable, more in line with a generic Tie Fighter instead of a Millennium Falcon that the Star Fox property deserves and the talented developers at Rare are more than capable of piloting.
The fact of the matter is no one would care about this game if Fox McCloud wasn’t here. This game isn't terrible, but it feels like it's only reaching for meritocracy instead of the stars, and only truly succeeds in cheapening the Star Fox brand. This is painfully punctuated by ill handled flight missions, and a dreadfully forced, obligatory final boss (do I really need to tell you who it is?) Yes it's true that Team Star Fox is back, but sadly they still feel galaxies away.