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Hey all.

On the eve of Star Fox Zero's release, I shall publish the final review in my retrospective review series.  Without further ado, this is: Star Fox Command for the Nintendo DS.

The Review

To be fair, I've only beat Command once.  It was probably the most mixed game I've played in the Star Fox series, and while it's features are in stark contrast to that of Adventures, I'd rate it similarly.


Gameplay/Mechanics

Like Adventures, I'm pretty mixed here, but on completely different aspects.   Command is the farthest you can get from Adventures.  Command is a turn based strategy game similar to the Galactic Conquest mode in Star Wars Battlefront II.

Similar in every way to the canceled Star Fox 2, Command pushes the limits of the DS to bring a rare look into a fully working 3D action game on the platform, this being said there are some drawbacks.  It's simplistic stylus control scheme definitely was one of my biggest problems with the game; it's terribly awkward.   While I admit I was playing it on my 3DS and not a DS, I think there's little difference in the ability to work the simple controls.  The entire game, from maneuvers to basic movement is all by using the stylus. Every other button fires your laser.  This wouldn't be bad if you could think of one button on the DS/3DS that you can rapidly press while using the stylus.

Given the sensitivity to movement in slower vehicles especially, it's incredibly difficult to maneuver around. Barrel Rolling gives wrist pain as you frantically try to make circles with the touchpad without flinging your ship all over the place.

Also let me re-state that.  Barrel rolling is achieved by drawing circles with the touchpad. While I admit using L or R like in Star Fox 64 3D would be awkward seeing as blasters are likely going to be used with them, but anything would've worked better than drawing circles with the gamepad.  That'd be like rotating the joystick 360 degrees a few times in Star Fox 64 to do a barrel roll.  It's clunky, unresponsive, doesn't work half the time and is downright frustrating.

Now you're probably saying to yourself: "1hs, you silly goon!  You're only talking about barrel rolling!"

I wouldn't be if barrel rolling wasn't the centerpiece of Star Fox Command's structure.  Barrel rolling is how you defeat bosses, deflect the oodles of lasers coming your way, and collect items.  Yeah.  Not to mention that to boost and brake you also utilize the touchpad by tapping the top or bottom of the screen twice.  Might as well be in morse code. Now I should probably say something about the branching plot here, but eh, I'll save it for the plot section.

Now, as the gameplay section is the definitive spine to any game, I must give credit where credit is due.  Star Fox Command takes gigantic ambition and throws it into a console barely able to handle it, and pulls it off.  I need to see the turn based strategy style in Command pop up in more able consoles today, as it is dripping with potential.


6/10
Star Fox Command bites off more than it can chew. It's a highly ambitious (if not one of the most ambitious) DS game with a lot of purpose for existing when it comes to its technical aspects. However, misguided, awkward and laughable controls make playing it a near nightmare, even for those good at its odd style

Multiplayer

I honestly would go into this if I have ever played Commands multiplayer. I can take a good guess at what it'd be, and you know, might be interesting. Once again, the fact that it had online multiplayer revolutionizes Command.


Graphics/Art Design

Ah, the recurring trend for these later Star Fox games. A good aesthetic value. Command has truly outdone the competition however, even if it's hindered by the technical limitations of the DS.

Firstly let me say, Command is easily the best looking game I've seen on the original Nintendo DS. While I definitely find myself enjoying other DS games more, no one can argue that it's one of the most jaw dropping things to play for the first 10 minutes. To think that a mere generation before on the Gameboy line, full 2D sidescrollers were the norm, and suddenly this appears! While Super Mario DS got the ball rolling for the DS's capabilities, Command hit the home run with its action intense themes.

In the same way Star Fox 2 tried to do the impossible, Command did the impossible graphic wise.

Minor detour, lets take a look at soundtracks. Command does some remixes here and there of classic Star Fox themes, but one thing in particular stands out the most... And that's the destroy the missile jingle.

Destroy The Missile! - Star Fox Command Music Extended

Destroy The Missile! - Star Fox Command Music Extended

 

Onwards, concept art design. Command is nothing special in this regard. The characters look like they're solid plastic. I get that this was to help with the overall tone of Command, but once again Star Fox is hit with another jarring change in pace (not yet plot, I'll get to you in a second!). We see it go from hyper realistic concept art, to that sweet iconic late 90's look, to the odd Adventures look, to the Mass Effect Star Fox: Assault style, to fisher price plastic toys. Make up your mind on tones, Star Fox.

9.5/10
Minus another change in artistic vision as Star Fox shifts from Rare to Namco to Q-Games, Star Fox Command highlights the raw capability for the Nintendo DS. Even without that good of controls, the game benefits immensely from its 3D appeal.

Storyline/Plot

Alright.

Now, I have always been mixed on Commands controversial branching plots, so let's get into it. Now, some of these are pretty valid endings. Especially "Lucy and Krystal" and "Fox and Krystal", as the rest either focus on small details like new character Dash Bowman or freaking Slippy Toad.

I don't want to get too into this, but seriously? The majority of the nine endings to Star Fox Command are laughably unsatisfying detours of the main storyline. After all, this game is supposed to conclude the entire series for ten years until Zero releases tomorrow to revive the series. From manga to comics to games, this is seemingly way too large of a series to be neglected to the point of a pathetic multiple ending end game.

You can clearly see that (while sometimes a bit much) Adventures and Assault set up a ton of character development for Command to just ruin and-

You know what?

Command itself has more character and storytelling than the entirety of all prior games combined. Who thought that such an unsatisfying set of endings could match the same mood they put in their own game?! This is madness.

I guess in the end, I'm just really mixed on Commands story. It's got a bunch of good development and character, if it didn't completely obliterate it with garbage endgames.
7/10
Yep, Star Fox Command tries to conclude an entire series for the time being. While I hate its shallow endings, I can't help but think about the character development they attempt to inject into the characters throughout the campaign.

Conclusion

Not only to conclude this, but to conclude the entire retrospective review series I've been working on for awhile now, I am ready to give my conclusive thoughts on Star Fox Command. It's a good game. While it's not the brightest Star Fox game I've played and is probably my least favorite, I can't help but like its simplistic nature and attempts at character development.

7.5/10
Thanks for being along for the ride everyone. I'm 1hs444, cheers.

 1hs444  ¯\_(ツ)_/¯   1hs444 sig


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