History Will Remember Star Fox 64 More Kindly Than the Present

User Rating: 6.5 | Star Fox 64 3D 3DS
Stay your finger on that thumbs-down button – please. At least afford me the time to explain my score. For starters, I was really, really looking forward to the 3DS version of this game. When the first games were shown off for 3DS, Star Fox 64 3D (SF64) was, to me, the best-looking game of the bunch. You could just tell from the screen shots, this was going to be one of the prettiest handheld games ever made.

Unfortunately, that's pretty much all it is. Don't get me wrong, SF64 is still a decent game, even thrilling in a few rare places. On the whole, however, the game just feels really dated. The controls translated okay to 3DS, but the aiming reticule is jittery and somewhat imprecise. Mainly, it's the pacing of SF64 that is showing its age.

To be clear, I have no problem with the game's arcadey mission structure. Resident Evil: The Mercenaries 3D is currently my top-played 3DS game, with over 70 hours logged in. I like arcade-style gameplay, and the length of a game has never been a deciding factor for me. But SF64 just isn't a game I'm interested in playing repeatedly. Heck, I was growing bored with the game before I completed the first playthrough. The Andross battle sealed the deal.

The Arwing feels lumbering and slow all these many years later, the enemies aren't a challenge any longer, and some of the boss battles – especially the final boss – drag on and on. I played the original SF64, so I'm familiar with its branching paths and whatnot. Though there are a few moments that still manage to bring a huge smile to my face, the game just can't hold my attention any longer.

Well, perhaps that isn't entirely true. I was pretty wowed by the visuals. The revamp is quite beautiful to look at, with all sorts of neat effects not even Wii can pull off. Don't expect a massive-polygon count, but the graphical sorcery is no doubt impressive. The music – though still electronic – is more convincing and outputs at a much higher fidelity than before. Voice work, however, is…well, it's Star Fox – you either love it or you don't (I love it, by the way).

Star Fox 64 will be remembered as a classic, but its gameplay doesn't necessarily hold up as well as some of its counterparts from the era. Case in point: whereas Ocarina of Time required little to no gameplay tweaking, Star Fox 64 could have used more than merely a cosmetic facelift. There's enough nostalgia and updated content to inspire a wink and a nod, but this latest offering from Nintendo doesn't come anywhere close to being worth its full asking price.