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Nintendo should have Treasure work on a Starfox (also S&P 2 freaking owns)
Editorial by 
Editor-in-chief
July 06, 2010, 07:35:00
 
Alright, those who know me know that I was a huge fan of Sin & Punishment on N64 (well, Virtual Console in my case) and would always be pestering people to buy it. When I first bought it I was like woah, this is kind of a unique take on the Starfox 64 formula! But admittedly, that game isn't really for everyone. For one, the controls have a huge learning curve. For two, it is very, very short. And uh, well, those are the only two things wrong with it so everyone should buy it anyway. But I guess I can see why it would turn some people off.

Both of those are fixed with the sequel, Sin & Punishment: Star Successor. Being able to use the Wii remote pointer gets rid of the awkward feeling of the controls of the N64/VC game. And the game is much longer this time around, I can't say for sure without sitting down and timing runs, but it seems at least twice as long to me. It's a pretty meaty game.



This isn't even close to the maximum amount of things to dodge on-screen at once in this game...

As to how it plays, whereas the first one felt very Starfox 64-ish to me, I think this one does as well, but also feels a lot more like a SHMUP at times. With a lot of bosses. And it is also way more intense, bordering on chaotic at times. Kind of like if Starfox 64 and Ikaruga had a baby together, but somehow Gradius boss rushes got thrown into the mix. Except it also throws a bunch of different changing perspectives at you, and I have no idea what game that would be pulled from.

SO GO BUY IT, IT IS FREAKING AWESOME.

But that wasn't really the point.

Starfox.

Honestly, what has been done with it since Starfox 64 that is worth speaking of? Probably the best Starfox game post-64 is the DS one, but eh. Nintendo doesn't quite seem to know what they want to do with it. What was (briefly) one of their greatest franchises has kind of turned into a second tier franchise at best, and it never really gets the full attention it deserves.

And the last few Starfox games have been outsourced anyway. Well, I am a bit unclear on this, but I think almost every Starfox game has been outsourced? Or at least co-developed? So why not hand the franchise to Treasure? They have already proven they can do a Starfox 64-like game very, very well. And Nintendo could do with building some closer ties to some of its 3rd party developers. Furthermore, Treasure is a developer whose business model isn't quite in line with the big budget, HD development, so the time is ripe for Nintendo to build closer ties.



One of my favorite games ever, and it deserves an excellent follow-up... someday.

Now, don't get me wrong. Starfox isn't Sin & Punishment. And it shouldn't be. It is a slower paced game, for one, and I am not sure I would want to see a Starfox game with the constant barrage that Sin & Punishment: Star Successor throws at you. I also think it would make sense to keep the shooting in front of the ship (as opposed to the pointer-based shooting in Sin & Punishment) although it could probably work either way. I'm not saying Treasure could simply copy the Sin & Punishment formula and throw a Starfox coat of paint on it. But they clearly have the core mechanics needed down, they have familiarity with the Wii (could go 3DS as well, but that is already getting Starfox), and the love and care they put into Star Successor shines beyond most 3rd party Wii games (though, of course, it was developed closely with Nintendo, but so would a Starfox game be.) At worst, I think a Treasure developed Starfox game could be the best Starfox since Starfox 64. Though it very well could surpass it.

And for that matter, Nintendo should probably just buy Treasure up. And set them to work on another Bangai-O game, in addition to Starfox. Then my life would be complete.

What do you think?

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Posted: 07/06/10, 07:35:00  - Edited by 
 on: 07/06/10, 07:40:44    
 
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Ughhh it's killing me not to get Sin and Punishment 2 right away. The first one did kick all kinds of ass and yes I do think Treasure should make the new Starfox.

What I would really like is if they put out Starfox 2 on VC. PLEASE PLEASE PLEASE PLEASE do it Nintendo. Come on!


Posted by 
 on: 07/06/10, 08:05:08
Nah, Treasure should work on Treasure stuff. Q-Games should handle StarFox. Command was really good. A nice blend of old and new.

Actually, they basically just released a StarFox game with X-Scape on DSiWare.

I really don't think the StarFox franchise is in as dire of a state as everyone else seems to. I haven't played StarFox 2, but the only released stinker was StarFox Adventures, which has nothing to do with the series.

I'd be in favor of Nintendo buying Treasure, regardless, although Wario World was pretty disappointing. (Would Treasure want to be bought, though?) Nintendo should also pick up Good Feel and Next Level. And Camelot.

And then never localize their games.

I am definitely going to get S&P 2. It looks awesome.


Are Fox McCloud, Samus Aran, and Captain Falcon all bounty hunters?


Posted by 
 on: 07/06/10, 16:25:58
@anandxxx

I have to agree with that. Q-Games makes a mean StarFox. I'm currently playing Command and it's pretty good, though I have a number of issues with it.

As for the makers of S&P being ideal for StarFox, I used to think it made sense but now I'm not so sure. Treasure can do a mean shmup, but can they nail the feeling of flight as well as Q-Games can? Maybe not. It's probably not as easy as it looks either, since Factor 5 never got it right even after 3 Star Wars games.


Posted by 
 on: 07/06/10, 16:47:58
I still have to buy Sin and Punishment 2 but I have to fork out the money for xbox live gold this month plus I am going on holiday soon so need all the money I can get. I have had my first taste of Panzar Dragoon Orta though and that should quell my appetite for a while.


Posted by 
 on: 07/06/10, 17:00:30
anandxxx said:
Are Fox McCloud, Samus Aran, and Captain Falcon all bounty hunters?

Samus and Falcon are. The Starfox team are mercenaries.


Posted by 
 on: 07/06/10, 17:42:44
@anandxxx I don't know if dire is quite the correct word, but there is no denying that both Starfox and Starfox 64 were some of the bigger/better titles on their respective consoles, and since then not so much. It's not that they necessarily got bad (though some would argue that), but that they're not really top of the line anymore.

And they should be? I remember getting Starfox 64 back in the days and playing the hell out of it and thinking like woah, such a huge step up from the already great Starfox! And Nintendo was making a huge deal out of it, they even sent out this awesome promo video! I would have never suspected back then that Nintendo would just kind of... stop caring about Starfox as much.

I should note that Starfox 64 is one of my favorite games of the ever. So I get a bit passionate about Nintendo bringing back the Starfox glory days. I don't want to settle for merely decent Starfox games, he needs to be back up with Mario / Metroid / Zelda / Smash / F-Zero / etc. where he belongs!

As an interesting aside, a Sin & Punishment: Star Successor review that appears to come from a huge SHMUP fan and one of his major complaints is... that the stages are too long to be enjoyable for high score replays? Interesting. I've heard that diehard fans like the stages short and tight to allow for "perfect" runs. I've even heard diehard fans say the short length of Ikaruga is preferable because there is no way they could try to master anything longer...


Posted by 
 on: 07/06/10, 18:43:50  - Edited by 
 on: 07/06/10, 18:52:50
Yeah, I dunno. StarFox always seemed like a fun, second-tier franchise to me (a la F-Zero), and it still does. I'm not sure it's place in the Nintendo pantheon has changed much, except that Rare screwed the pooch (furry reference intended!) and Namco didn't hit it out of the park on the Gamecube like Amusement Vision did.

@Pandareus
I'd be interested to hear your specific issues with Command. I definitely don't think the game is perfect, but I really liked the way that Q took the series in a new direction, while still retaining that fundamental StarFox feel.

I've always wanted a more varied, expanded take on Command for the Wii, with an emphasis on short, intense missions, online dogfights, a bit more meat to the strategic portions, and a few rail levels thrown in, for good measure. An infinitely replayable game. I like that goal.

3DS would be fine, too.


Posted by 
 on: 07/06/10, 20:28:38  - Edited by 
 on: 07/06/10, 20:33:24
@anandxxx

I got 5 or so of the 9 different endings so far, and the game is definitely getting repetitive. It's neat that each encounter isn't something "fixed" and that you might encounter certain types of enemies in one game and different enemies on the same mission the second time you go through the game, but it's not enough.

It's also been on the easy side for most of the game so far. Now, with each play through the game does seem to get slightly harder, but it seems to be more because you get less time to finish a mission, than through tougher and smarter enemies. The RTS-like maps are also changing and getting more intricate, but that's not exactly the aspect of the game that I wanted to see get harder.

Finally, I'm just not sure if the Starfox formula works all that well in arena settings, as opposed to forward-scrolling corridors. Your weapons and moves seem more adapted to me for a rail shooter than a dogfight game. In fact, maybe Q-Games kind of agree with this because the enemies in this game always seem to shoot at you only when you're facing them, never when they're off screen. Now that might be due to a lack of sufficient memory space or something, but I see it as an admission that the Starfox controls that the SNES game established don't really transpose perfectly well to dogfighting.


Posted by 
 on: 07/06/10, 20:53:54  - Edited by 
 on: 07/06/10, 21:01:42
I did enjoy Wario World, though it was definitely one of those games I played through, finished, and never had any desire to touch again. Not my favorite Treasure game, or even close. Actually, I think Sin & Punishment: Star Successor is my new favorite Treasure game, followed closely by the original S&P, Bangai-O Spirits (still want to get my hands on the original), Astro Boy: Omega Factor, Gradius V, and Mischief Makers. And then maybe Ikaruga even though I wasn't as into it as a lot of people.

Damn, what an awesome developer.

Pandareus said:
but I see it as an admission that the Starfox controls that the SNES game established don't really transpose perfectly well to dogfighting.

Hmm, but the N64 game had awesome all-range/dogfighting, albeit it also had the analog stick.


Posted by 
 on: 07/06/10, 21:08:39
I don't recall it being awesome.


Posted by 
 on: 07/06/10, 21:10:39
What? The Independence Day-like battle? The dogfights with Starwolf?! The Bolse core attack!?

Mind you, I do think the on-rails portions are kind of the meat of the game, but I loved the all-range mode as well.


Posted by 
 on: 07/06/10, 21:25:31
@Simbabbad
Yeah, I don't hate Wario World. I probably liked it better than Eternal Darkness and Starfox Adventures. It just wasn't up to Nintendo standards. Or even Treasure standards. There are three teams at Treasure, I think. The 'shooter' team, the 'Action/brawler' team, and... some other team? They probably have varying levels of quality. But my favorite Treasure game by far was Astro Boy: Omega Factor. Fantastic title. It actually made me more interested in the source material. I really like some Treasure games, but I feel they're pretty inconsistent. Silhouette Mirage kind of left me dry, as well. And Stretch Panic was... weird. Ikaruga's cool, but I prefer more power-uppy shooters (like Gradius V!).

Anyway, both Wario World and Luigi's Mansion were not unlikable, but too simplistic.

@Pandareus
Yeah, it definitely gets repetitive. Like Yoshi's Touch and Go, I think it's an interesting concept that would benefit from a lot more variety. I've always been in love with the idea of randomization and 'endless' modes, though. Even the X Cup in F-Zero X. I mean, half the time, all of the enemies would fly off of a tricky curve, but it was SO COOL (and a real bitch to unlock).

I guess Command was a bit on the easy side, but that was combined with really harsh penalties for failure in some cases (like the ONE chance you got to crash the UFO). A strange blend, I guess. But I liked the simple, effective balance of resources (time, lives, missiles, etc.).

I never thought about enemies behind you not shooting, but I guess that's true. I think many types of games have to keep those things in mind. It just isn't fun to get blindsided by the AI. Like getting blue-shelled to last place in Mario Kart. Or sniped in Modern Warfare 2. (I don't think that stuff is particularly fun in multiplayer, either, though. It seems like, with the advent of online, multiplayer has turned into a deadly game of hide-and-seek, rather than a tactical stand-off. Getting the drop is more important than any other strategic concerns.)

But I think All-Range works pretty well in Starfox. I like the rail missions, too, and would like to see them included, but I never had a real issue with All-Range. Except for the invisible walls, maybe. X-Scape offers an interesting solution to that, which is the same solution that Galaxy used for camera problems. Small, scrolling planetoids. But they don't look round.

The touch-screen controls in Command, I'm kind of here-and-there on. They are very precise at times, but a bit finicky at others, especially in the heat of the action. And a bit fatiguing, as well.


Posted by 
 on: 07/08/10, 18:18:58
Why isn't Mishief Makers on the VC yet? Wasn't it a launch game? I've never played it, heard good things though.


Posted by 
 on: 07/08/10, 18:26:49
I'd probably buy it, even though I did play it back in the days. Never owned it though, and kind of rushed through it.

That's one of those odd situations where my cousin stepped outside his predictable boundaries (sports, action, fighters, etc.) and bought a random, obscure, and very Japanese game. To this day I have no idea where he even heard of it from, he didn't really follow gaming closely. Actually though, come to think of it, he was a bit more experimental with his purchases back then. Now pretty much all he buys are yearly sports updates and shooters.


Posted by 
 on: 07/08/10, 18:38:26
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