You need only lay eyes on Star Fox Zero to know exactly what it is, but the second you pick up the controller, that sense of familiarity evaporates. While the TV screen shows the action from the traditional thirdperson perspective, the Wii U GamePad displays it from inside the Arwing’s cockpit. Aiming, meanwhile, uses the controller’s built-in gyroscopes. A year ago this month we made a bit of a mess of it while Shigeru Miyamoto looked on. Twelve months later, we’re still not much better at the game.
Yet while this new approach may befuddle at first, Star Fox Zero is, on the face of it, an excellent example of a reboot. It is a tricky business resurrecting a name no one has seen hide nor hair of in years, then making it feel fresh enough to justify its return but familiar enough to warrant its use of the name. Platinum has hit both targets, but is that enough in 2015?
Rainbow Six Siege, meanwhile, is a close spiritual cousin to the earlier games in Ubisoft’s series, tense and tactical, prizing communication and co-operation as much as a quick aim. It borrows many of its forebears’ most widely loved gametypes, too, offers up a selection of the series’ stock-intrade hi-tech gadgetry, then uses modern CPU power to procedurally generate levels that are fully destructible. Boxes duly ticked, then. But what separates Siege from Star Fox is that it is a reboot of a reboot: it began life with the subtitle Patriots, and was being made to a very different brief until it was cancelled and replaced with Siege. From our hands-on time with the game, it’s clear that it was a worthwhile decision.
Dark Souls III, however, is no reboot, but such is the frequency with which Hidetaka Miyazaki’s design ethos is being put into action that you can’t help but wonder whether he and From-Software might soon find themselves putting the series on a shelf to steep for a few years. As hard as it no doubt is making a reboot, it must be even harder admitting that you need one.