Genre: Action Developer: Project Sora Publisher: Nintendo Classification: PG Release Date: 29th Mar 2012 Platforms:
Average of 2 Ratings
Login to submit your review score
The inclusion of a stand says one thing loud and clear - the 3DS is the wrong console for this game. This is not an accessory which enables extra functionality, or an optional addition which some people might prefer - it exists only because the game is not playable for an entire mission without it. To play this game on your handheld gaming device, an additional plastic stand and a table is required. How did this get from conception to finished product?
Without a doubt, it's because the game itself is outstanding and massive. There are two different types of gameplay in Kid Icarus, separated into Air Battles and Land Battles. Air Battles feature fast paced Rail Shooter style gameplay, using the thumbstick to move Pit around the screen, the touch screen to aim and the Right shoulder button to fire (so think more Panzer Dragoon than Starfox.) Land Battles are slower paced, with the player controlling where Pit moves using the thumbstick, controlling the camera with the touch screen and firing once again with the Right shoulder button.
Each of the games stages is split between these two types of gameplay, with Pit generally flying to some location and battling enemies along the way, then landing and making his way through the map towards a Boss. Pit can attack with melee or ranged attacks depending on how far away from an enemy he is and while he can fire a continuous stream of bullets by holding down the Right shoulder button, he can also wait and charge up his attacks to do extra damage. The problem with the control scheme only really exists in Land Battles - and for one reason - in Air Battles, you have no control over your actual movement.
You see, Pit can't fly by himself and so the Goddess Palutena assists him with her power of flight. With this, Pit can fly - although Palutena controls where he goes. This allows him to focus on avoiding enemy attacks and taking out the large variety of enemies as Pit and Palutena banter back and forth. Pit's movement around the screen is fluid - excellent news considering the frenetic pace of everything. Monsters stream across the screen quickly and you get extra points for killing a set, adding to the tension.
Once you hit the ground however, everything changes. Unlike his wings, Pit's legs work just fine (although you wouldn't know it from the way he skips everywhere) and so it's up to you to move about with the thumbstick - dodging by flicking in any direction and running by holding the thumbstick after you dodge. It's as ridiculous as it sounds. And yes, the camera is controlled by the touch screen, making aiming at enemies incredibly difficult ordinarily until you've spent a significant time with it - and idiotic when they get behind you.
Still, with practice, you will get better. Without the stand, you will never get better at holding the 3DS with a single hand while you deliberately push against it with the other. If your hands are particularly big, you can rule out playing for more than a half hour without your hands cramping up - whether you have the stand or not.
Kid Icarus: Uprising supports the Cicle Pad Pro, but only for left handed use - so if you were hoping to ditch the stylus altogether and use a twin stick style control scheme you are out of luck. It does have a wealth of control customisation options available, but at all times you are forced to sacrifice something. Aiming with the face buttons is a joke and moving with them even more so.
And yet, I found myself enjoying the game in spite of these problems. To make an awful joke, Uprising has heart. Well, hearts. Hearts are your currency throughout the game, collected when you kill enemies. With hearts you can buy new weapons, but more importantly you can utilise the Intensity system.
The Intensity system lets you choose how difficult the chapter will be by spending an amount of your hard earned hearts - the more you spend the more difficult the chapter will be. You are paying for a more difficult run, but you will also be rewarded with better treasures - and most chapters feature certain areas which canít be accessed unless you are playing at a high enough intensity.
Better treasures come in the form of weapons and powers - and even if you find yourself getting the same weapon or power, at higher intensity it will be a stronger version. There is a gigantic array of weaponry available, with nine different types and scores of choices within each type - and each weapon has a unique look and feel.
My current favourite is the bowl arm, which lobs out multi-coloured balls in a short arc - trading accuracy for damage. It was one of the first items I fused, several chapters in - although I soon realised how much of a mistake it was not to have been fusing from the beginning.
Fusing weapons not only lets you create new weapons you might not have used before, you can also create stronger versions of weapons you already have. Along with increased ranged and melee power, you can transfer weapon modifiers - stat increases like added defense or longer better recovery - seemingly assigned at random to a weapon based on the Intensity you gained it at. Weapon modifiers add more depth to the already complex weapon management system - meaning you can really OCD on your min/maxing if you choose.
My first Bowl Arm was an average sort of thing, much better at melee (all Arms tend to have stronger melee) than ranged and imbued with a boost to recovery powers and better stamina. My second Bowl Arm however, is much better - with near equal ranged, better defense, stamina, recovery, health and longer continuous bursts of fire.
I hadnít used fusing because I didnít want to lose a weapon only to regret it later - it was only after I found out how weapons worked from the gameís video tutorials that I realised the potential. Uprising features tutorials covering all of the games features - exposing the elements hidden just below the surface. Like the rest of the game, the tutorials also feature Pit and Palutenaís cute back and forth, making them more enjoyable than a straight explanation. While I generally ignore tutorials for straight-forward looking features, in Uprising I watched all of them with a smile.
It isnít just Pit and Palutena who make the game as charming as it is - although Palutenaís brand of mixed benevolence and malevolence definitely makes her a favourite. Many of the bosses you fight talk throughout the preceding chapter and their boss fight, with almost everyone seeming kind of silly while maintaining an ironic awareness.
The graphics and music are also excellent throughout, significantly helping Uprising maintain its appeal, with bright colours and uplifting music adding to the atmosphere and a wide variety of different environments making each chapter uniquely entertaining.
Uprising also has multiplayer and while you can play locally with 5 friends, the internet based Far mode is really well done. Light vs Dark (the only mode I ever saw being played) is a variety on team deathmatch, with four players as regular combatants and two of the players gaining additional speed, power and health as Pit and Dark Pit. Throughout my many matches I only rarely had any connection issues - and this was before the game came out in Australia. In fact, the only issue I ever had with the multiplayer was the same issue Iíve had all along - the controls.
Kid Icarus is a really great game. Itís packed full of features, it has great characters and fun gameplay and surprisingly good multiplayer. You could play it for hours on end and still want to play - if it was on a different system. Unless you sit at a desk or a table, or modify and hamstring the controls the game is nigh on unplayable after a very short while - and if youíve ever thought the Nintendo DS and 3DSí controls were too cramped, youíll find it unplayable even when you sit at a desk or a table after long.
If it was a Wii game it would be one of the best on the console - hell if they stripped out the awkward, pain in the ass Land Battles it would be a much better game. Still, is it so much to ask that one 3DS game not be portable, one 3DS game not follow the format of Ďpick up and play anywhereí? With the 3DSí currently small catalogue, I think so - but maybe in the future, things will change. I really hope they do.