While Kid Icarus fans are no doubt salivating about Kid Icarus: Uprising for the Nintendo 3DS and its awesome looking storymode, it is perhaps the previously teased multiplayer mode that may in fact give players the most reason to play over and over again.
Earlier this week, we had the opportunity to meet with Nintendo to check out the latest build of Kid Icarus: Uprising and take the multiplayer portion of the game for a little spin.
Before we loaded up our weapons however, there were some interesting aspects that were explained to us in detail.
For starters, players will be rewarded during the single-player campaign with weapons, depending on the level of difficulty played. In other words, if you play the campaign in an easy mode, then go back and replay it at a much higher level, you’ll be able to find and unlock different and more powerful weapons. In addition, there are a few other ways in which to garner new weaponry. In a very RPG-ish manner, players can take two existing weapons and fuse them together in the Arms Altar to create a much more powerful weapon. The only caveat is that you would of had to have seen that weapon previously to be able to make it. Of course you can always use hearts (the game’s currency) to buy stuff outright, but it’s cheaper to fuse them, which also allows players to retain some of the key benefits of the individual weapons. Not feeling like hanging on to a weapon, then you can just as easily sell them and take some hearts. Fused weapons can be used in multiplayer matches and players will also get them as special rewards after battles, dependent on how well they did.
Nintendo also shared some details regarding the game’s StreetPass feature. When the feature has been turned on, players will be able to share a weapon of their choice that can be collected by other players. The selected weapon will be turned into a weapon gem, which luckily doesn’t remove it from your current inventory. These gems can then be converted into the actual weapon by using hearts, or can even be fused with other gems (again, by using hearts) to create stronger weapons. Keep in mind that it’s really up to the player to decide which weapon he or she wants to share; perhaps an average weapon is in order, or maybe a powerful one can be used as a trading incentive with friends who may have something of value to exchange.
Now onto the multiplayer matches themselves.
As players prepare for battle, they will have the ability to really get down and dirty with a brevvy of customization options. For starters, there are nine different weapon categories: Blade, Bow, Cannon, Arm, Claws, Palm, Orbitars, Staff and Clubs. Each weapon has its own stats and abilities, ranging from being more affective at long range, to having more of a benefit at closer range (as a melee weapon). Every weapon carries with it a particular value, that paired with a set of powers, creates an overall level of effectiveness, or power if you will. Some of our favorite weapons were the Babel Club, which reminds us of Halo 3’s Gravity Hammer; a swing at someone’s head from close range does massive amounts of damage, while it’s long ranged attack literally throws buildings at opponents. It was a pretty awesome weapon, though the downside was that its weight slowed our player’s speed down. The Paw Pad Orbitars, easily the funniest weapon of the lot, featured a pair of cutesy paws that floated around our heads, that when fired off, bounced along before slapping an opponent in the face. It was funny to watch and just as irritating to get hit by – seriously, who wants to be slapped by cute paws? There are of course more balanced weapons such as the Samurai Blade or Angel Bow that will likely be popular to use. On a side note, the Drill Arm, which unloads a Drill Dozer-style drill is another painful and powerful weapon to use.
Aside from choosing weapons, players can select a handful of powers to take into battle and they can be mixed and matched to suit players’ needs. Some may use something like the Sky Jump, which lets players jump high into the air, or something like the Mega Laser (fire a massive laser) for either offensive or defensive maneuvers. There’s also Health Recovery, which obviously recovers health and the ability to play dead (Playing Dead), that fools enemies into thinking you’re done, only to turn yourself invisible and unleash hell.
During our time with the game, we spent about an hour and a half playing Free-for-All and Light vs. Dark multiplayer modes. In Free-for-All, six players can enter battle in one of five stages with the goal of earning the highest score – based on kills and deaths. There was plenty of mayhem in this mode, as players needed to watch their back at all times for opponents to avoid surprises or even getting surrounded. Hitting the left shoulder button unleashed our main attack, while holding it allowed us to use continuous fire (albeit not as strong as our main attack). Using the various directions on the analog stick, players could use up to 8 ranged attacks (think Super Smash Bros.). Of course it’s not all offense as defense plays a big part as well. Players can dodge by using a quick flick of the analog stick to either the left or right sides. And while players can conceivably sit there and dodge attacks non-stop, the more consecutive dodges you pull off, the more difficult the next one will be to make. Truth be told, there is quite an amount of depth in maneuvers and and abilities but after playing a handful of matches, that overwhelming feeling turns into something much more natural. You just figure out what to do.
Our final few multiplayer matches had us trying out Light vs. Dark. In this mode, two teams of three will battle each other with the goal of trying to deplete the opposing team’s health meter. The last defeated team member then turns into either a light or dark angel and their team members will need to work together to try and protect him from being killed. This mode proved to be quite entertaining and different enough to feel fresh. Throw in the fact that you can also pick up items, such as bombs, turrets and shields (in both modes), and you have a ton of action with some solid replayability.
Sure, the story is what’s driving longtime fans to check out the game upon its March 23 release, but multiplayer may give the game some long and lengthy legs to stand on. We certainly can’t wait to play more in just a few more weeks.
Gamers who decide to pre-order the game, will also get a download code for the 3D Classics remake of the original Kid Icarus game, that will be available upon Uprising’s launch. A double dose of Pit!