With the opening Corneria stage being seen as the perfect “stress test” for the engine, they note that, while 60 frames-per-second was the target, it isn’t always consistent with such ambition. That sees it suffer “intermittent dips” to 50 frames-per-second blamed in part to the “deluge of water shaders and alpha effects.”
The Sector Alpha stage is more cause for concern, where heavy action between warring motherships can see it tumble to 40 frames-per-second. That being said, Digital Foundry were full of praise for the “brilliantly orchestrated levels,” although the frame rate inconsistency has an impact on how responsive the controls are.
They speculate as to whether the dual-screen gameplay is the reason behind the drops, which sees the native resolution on the TV screen at 1280×720 and the Wii U GamePad at 854×480. The pixel output for these two viewpoints combined is more than most Wii U games, which, seen as being “no small feat,” is seen as “a telltale sign that Wii U’s memory bandwidth is indeed a bottleneck in this instance – a resource also tapped into by the console’s chosen pixel output.”
As Digital Foundry conclude, choosing to dismiss the Wii U GamePad could have potentially seen the frame rate locked at a solid 60 frames-per-second, but, ultimately, it would have seen Star Fox Zero lose its innovative control scheme.
Star Fox Zero will launch exclusively for Wii U in Japan on April 21st, and worldwide on April 22nd.