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Review | Kid Icarus: Uprising

by on April 13, 2012
 

It’s been a long, long time since gamers had the opportunity to join Pit on a new adventure, and while his appearance on Super Smash Bros. Brawl at least put him in the public’s conscious again, a full-on Kid Icarus game has been long overdue.Fortunately for gamers, Nintendo decided to bring back the long dormant franchise to the Nintendo 3DS in the form of Kid Icarus: Uprising, for what ultimately amounts to a deep game with plenty to things to like.

With Medusa being reborn and with the aid of Palutena, Pit must take to the air and ground to fight back the forces of evil. As players jump into the single-player campaign, they will encounter third person gameplay while Pit is on foot, while the game shifts into an on-rails shooter when Pit takes to the skies. The two modes feel completely different both in controls and in presentation, which keep the game feeling fresh. As Pit flies, the game will keep you moving forward, while you use the analog stick to move him around and avoid attacks. The stylus will then be used to aim and the left shoulder button will fire your weapon. You can keep your finger on the shoulder button to fire a constant shot, but if you wait a few seconds and aim at an enemy, you can unleash a more powerful blast. As you’re flying, you’ll certainly get a sense of speed, while the world is presented a little differently and quite beautifully. The 3D effect looks particularly good when flying as well.When things go on the ground, the control scheme changes up slightly, as you’ll now have control of the camera as well. You’ll still point your weapon with the stylus, but if you made a slow or fast slicing motion to the left or right, the camera will pan itself. When the action got hot and heavy, I did find it at times, a bit difficult to keep track of enemies but after a while, you can get used to it for the most part. If you happen to make a fast slicing motion to move the camera, a simple tap on the screen will stop it. Players who remember Metroid Prime Hunters, will understand the controls quickly, but like that game, it can get a little uncomfortable during long play sessions. Fortunately Nintendo has included a stand, which works well, but does require that you have a table or desk in front of you, and of course, at the appropriate height.

As you progress through the game, you can increase or decrease the difficulty after each level, with higher difficulty settings rewarding you with more loot and harder to get items and weapons. That in itself is the beauty of the campaign; that you are encouraged to play multiple times, even if its only certain levels, because of the items you can gain. Those power-ups and weapons (over 100) can then be brought over to the multiplayer game. Something I didn’t quite expect in the story was its light hearted approach. When I think Kid Icarus, I think of a difficult game with a-hole enemies. And while that’s still the case, the story had quite a bit of comedy to it as each character has some funny quips and their self awareness that they are a part of a video game were a pleasant surprise. Despite a few chuckles, I did at times find the characters to be a bit too chatty as conversations would sometimes pop up during battles which became a distraction. And because I liked the back and forth banter, I sometimes found myself focusing on the chatter while I was being attacked. Still, I credit Nintendo for their approach with the dialogue.

Then there’s that highly addicting multiplayer, which can be played locally or via Wi-FI. The game offers up two game modes: Free for All and Light vs. Dark. In Free for All, up to six players can jump into one of the game’s maps and go toe to toe to see who rules. Again, power-ups collected in single player can be used, such as getting more armor, the ability to jump high, or even unleash bombs. In Light vs. Dark, you’ll take part in 3 v 3 matches, with each team sharing a health meter. Upon a meter’s depletion, one teammate becomes either Light or Dark Pit, after which the team must then protect him from being killed. Before entering each game, players can look up to see which weapons they own and how they stack up. There are weapons that are better for long ranged use, while others give you stronger melee attacks. And with the ability to also mix and match power-ups, you end up with an almost endless array of combinations for each match.Though the game has its share of issues, mainly a tiring control scheme and distracting dialogue, Kid Icarus: Uprising is an engaging game with a lot of replayability. With over 300 in-game achievements, each with their own perks and unlocks, and the seamless tie-in between the single-player and multiplayer modes, the game begs you to play it over and over again.Truly Nintendo has crafted a gorgeous looking game with boatloads of depth that not only make this an excellent addition to the Nintendo 3DS library, but also marks a very welcomed return for one of Nintendo’s beloved franchises.

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