Star Fox is my favourite Nintendo series but for the past decade it has not seen any love from the company. Star Fox 64 3D, a remake of Lylat Wars on the 3DS with updated graphics and audio shouldn't have left me with such a bitter taste. It's my 2nd favourite game in the series and I've bought it 3 times over for N64, Wii VC and now on the 3DS. This version leaves too much to be desired.
The graphical upgrade is nice in a lot of ways I must admit, especially the solid framerate over the N64 version which averaged at about 28fps and could chug down to 20. However the lighting is somewhat off, the skyboxes are a lot less moody and some of the remodelled enemy designs seem a little too cartoon-ish. I can forgive the final point in that it's very hard to update the early 3D without upsetting older fans. The original N64 graphics provided ample opportunity for players to subconsciously fill in imagery with their imagination. However the new lighting and sky-boxes totally hurt the mood of the game.
What absolutely killed it for me was the re-recorded voice acting and changed dialogue. Rehiring the original voice actors only for them to horribly phone it in, collect their paycheck and go probably hurt poor old Miyamoto and Dylan Cuthbert once they listened in to the final product. Certainly hurt me right in the childhood. Only good voice acting was from R.O.B. and that Bear in the training mode, you know, the bear that never had voice acting back in the original? It's very sad, although Star Fox series is clearly dead it at least lived on in a generation of gamers hearts thanks to the memorable quotes of the N64 classic. All that fun has been killed for the next generation whom likely only experience of Star Fox will be a lackluster 3DS version and tourney favourite tryhard McCloud in the SSB series. Speaking of which I heard the blue skank, Krystal, is going to be in the new SSB. I'm surprised Nintendo didn't shoe-horn her somewhere into this remake.
One thing that remains untarnished is the timeless shmup gameplay of SF64. Mechanically this is the best playing version of the game as the framerate remains rock solid throughout, at least in 2D mode. It is arcade perfection in the on-rails Arwing sections. Controls are perfect thanks to the circle-pad and 2DS bumpers, I was easily racking up points and achieving Mission Accomplished so I could run my desired route. Considering the leak of a certain beta ROM the All-range mode of SF64 is the weakest element of the gameplay although back in the early 3D era it was very novel and exciting. A highlight of SF64 are the many different boss encounters. I would consider each one a little puzzle how to beat them and they all have memorable designs. Of course once you know how to defeat a boss it becomes ridiculously easy to chew them up with rapid lazer fire, some can be destroyed in less than a half-minute.
I wouldn't recommend this version of SF64 to anyone. While the soul is there in terms of gameplay it all lacks heart. Get the Virtual Console version instead for an experience truer to the original.