In the distant past of two-thousand-and-five *whooshing sfx* I picked up my copy of Star Fox: Assault. This was my first game in the SF franchise and it become my favorite gamecube title for quite some time. I loved everything about it and, despite the negative everything that game received (especially being considered one of the worst Star Fox games) the topic of this post, it provided me many videogame teachings.
Just to fill in the unaware. Star Fox: Assault is the fourth installment of the Star Fox series. Up to that point the core style of Star Fox, the framework that everyone loved most and seemingly defined the series, was arcade style railshooting. After the second title, Star Fox 64, the Fox team (no that's not their actual name) changed it up to the dismay of many. First with Star Fox: Adventures and next with Star Fox: Assault. Both games got negative fan feedback. Though to insert my 2¢; if Assault and Command [Hell, even Star Fox 64 3D) are any indication, the Fox team/or Nintendo have regret with the shift away from traditional Star Fox gameplay because each subsequent game evidently wants to return to the old days, before Adventures was a thing...
But we're not here for that. So it's time to jump to the past aspect of this post. Prior to the my purchase and indulgence in Star Fox: Assault I was living in bliss. We can call these the "innocent" years of my gaming life. I was just playing games and minding my own business. So what happened you say? Well this was probably the first time that I ran into the red wall of negativity in videogames and -looks around- bad scores, gasp!
IGN Score - 4/10*
Yeah it was bad. And for the sake of this post, I had to go check IGN to see what the score is for the game, they have a 7/10*. Not saying they go back and change scores but that's not how I remember it, they tore into that game. Anyway, it had a pretty deep impact because there I was: a kid who just finished a videogame he adored for the tenth time, or what have you, and then he checked the internet only to find out the general consensus is that the game isn't good. Well I had to grow up some time, right?
Well I remember specifically on my birthday, let's say I was ten, a bunch of friends were over and when it was time to play videogames I got to pick the first game because birthdays. I went with Assault because it has multiplayer for up to four. Well it was great... for me. Slowly I realized that the only person enjoying playing the game was myself, no one else seemed into it and eventually the group grew tired so we switched the gamecube off. Nothing happened; fire didn't fall out of the sky; dogs didn't rise up to imprison earth; my birthday wasn't made any worse by the fact that only I liked the game. I just had to realize that I'm different. I had different tastes. We had different tastes. Big whoop.
This followed me into high school and even college too, but I always came back to what happened during my birthday as a guide for how to behave. I remember a few more recent occasions where people told me straight up "Star Fox: Assault is shit" Ok. I disagree and that's ok.
Another thing is that on the very same website (IGN) there was an equally brain scratching thing. Star Fox: Adventures, the game that has even more dismay, got a great score. I don't remember what the score was exactly, but at the moment IGN has it at a 9/10. Let's assume they didn't go back and change that one too (tee hee). I also didn't (and still don't) like that game. Much like everyone else, to me it felt like a painful step away from what the franchise was about, since you don't even get to do any awesome air combat/railshooting. And that's why I feel Assault is so good. In retrospect, the game does just enough new stuff - some open world missions and open world aspects, with the dreaded foot soldier gameplay comes the introduction of actual weapons giving you more of an idea of the world and how non-vehicular combat is in the Star Fox universe because, y'know, there is a war going on and stuff which means at some point someone must've held a gun - while still being close enough to tradition to be a perfect blend. So once again I had to realize that some people just see stuff different. As a Professor of English will tell you, we all wear different lenses. Yup.
Along with everything before, a few more lessons were squeezed out of this experience:
1. Stop going to IGN - not initially but over time this was accomplished, thank god.
2. Double check - I never go 100% with a game review anymore, I do second, third, fourth, even fifth opinions. I get all the accounts and do the research before committing.
3. There is never a reason to get butthurt over an opinion. We all have them and we have many of them, chances are you won't be agreeing.
4. There's only so much pizza friends will be bribed with to play games they don't like.
I hope you learned something from me or even enjoyed the story or writing. Thank you and thank videogames.