Star Fox Zero’s Review Embargo is Worrisome

Apr 19, 16  | posted by elheber (1180)

Reviews of Nintendo's newest Star Fox game are nowhere to be found.

Star Fox Zero is coming out in three days, but there are no reviews for it until tomorrow.

This is strange coming from Nintendo. They generally send review copies out to publications much earlier than other game publishers and lift the review embargoes about two weeks ahead of launch. Bayonetta 2 reviews, for example, were out for the public to read a full eleven days before the game released.

I don’t pre-order games. Never. Never ever, ever. EVER.

Except for Nintendo games. I pre-order those all the time.

In a world where games launch in a broken state waiting for a patch to fix them, while some never get fixed at all, it’s important to really trust the developer or publisher if you’re going to pre-order their games. Nintendo has for the most part been very good at not making crap games, which is why I personally carve an exception to my pre-order rule for them.

So when Nintendo doesn’t do this as well as they usually do, it’s cause for concern. For Devil’s Third, Nintendo didn’t even send out any review copies at all. Why not? We can assume by how poorly the game was received (43 on Metacritic) that Nintendo expected poor reviews and decided to avoid them altogether so they don’t lose out on sales. It’s a disgusting tactic used by many publishers but one that Nintendo rarely employs.

A wild Star Fox in its natural habitat: empty space.

Star Fox: Zero isn’t as bad in this regard. Critics got hands-on with the game at preview events, and review copies had been sent early.

But at the same time, Star Fox Zero is sitting at the top of the Amazon game sales charts right now. One has to wonder that if the game were to receive stellar reviews, it could have aided in sales. And that if reviews are being held back, it’s to prevent sales from dropping.

Or perhaps there’s some other reason for the embargo being so down-to-the-wire. Perhaps review copies came so very late and Nintendo still wanted to be sure each critic got enough time with it. We can’t know. I can only hope they don’t make it a habit.

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