Kid Icarus: Uprising 3DS
Twenty years have passed since the last full Kid Icarus title (that’s a whole me!), and in that time plenty has changed. At the time of the last Kid Icarus, 8-bit consoles were the height of technology and “smart” phones were unheard of. My experience of the early games extends only to clumsy attempts at playing the 3D classics release of Kid Icarus, attempts that got me almost nowhere. Luckily for me, Pit has evolved along with the gaming industry.
The main plot of Kid Icarus: Uprising kicks off as a resurrected Medusa wreaks havoc on the people of Earth. Cue intervention from the Goddess of Light, Lady Palutena, and the captain of her guard, Pit. The campaign is made up of 25 stages, each one broken up into on-rails, hack’n’slash and boss sections. Throughout, Uprising has an endearing sense of humour. During levels, there is always some banter between Pit and the various characters he comes across. While I initially was deterred by our hero’s personality, I soon warmed to him and his hapless social skills.
Players immediately take charge of the angel Pit, using the circle pad to move him about the screen and the stylus on the touch screen to aim shots. Beyond this and the L button to fire weapons, there isn’t much more to the controls. In the flying sections of the levels, this system works reasonably well once the settling in period has passed. On the ground, it’s slightly harder to get a grasp of. Moving the camera around feels clunky and imprecise, and I often found it easier in the heat of online, frantic battles to just give up and attack in any direction I could. Not making use of the Circle Pad Pro feels like a missed trick here, as that would have undoubtedly been more comfortable even at the possible expense of accuracy.
This time around, Pit has a huge arsenal of armaments available. A grand total of 108 different bows, blades and beyond are waiting to be found, and two of the same kind of weapon could have completely different stats and abilities. Players also have the option of fusing two weapons to make a new one that retains some of the characteristics of it’s parents, meaning there is always potentially better equipment to be had. Alongside this, different abilities and items can be equipped for Pit to use by putting their corresponding stickers together. Getting the most out of your limited sticker space is key to maximising your in-battle prowess.
From the word go, it is clear that deep thought has gone into this title, and the game is all the better for it. Each feature has been carefully considered and implemented. One such detail is the difficulty slider. Instead of a tiered system, before starting each chapter an intensity meter is adjusted to precisely determine how hard the game will be. The payoff gained after and during the stage is based on this level, but so are the penalties. To attempt the harder stuff, you must bet more of your currency and risk losing more if you can’t handle it. Some areas are off-limits until you meet a certain intensity level, so replaying stages can be very rewarding.
Included alongside the extensive single-player campaign is a frantic multiplayer (or ‘Together’ as it is known in the game) mode. 6 players battle it out, either in teams or as a free-for-all, in large arenas, spiced up by all the power-ups dotted around. In Uprising, you’re not just playing for posterity. There are weapons and abilities doled out for taking part, as well as a randomly assigned mystery bonus item. In multiplayer, you use the same weapons as in single player. This may at first seem to give a big advantage to the more experienced players who have already acquired the best weapons. However, being defeated whilst using a powerful weapon drains a larger amount of health from the team’s health bar, meaning you have to be pretty confident to go out with the best weapons.
Visually, Uprising is superb. Both the design and graphics are fantastic. Every enemy looks menacing yet somewhat silly; the environments are pretty yet not distracting; and the 3D is used to great effect. Vibrant laser beams fly across the screen as Pit soars above some beautiful landscapes whilst slashing at an array of baddies.
Uprising is a rarity these days in that it goes above and beyond to provide a comprehensive video game. There are plenty of signs that it has been crafted by the same minds behind the Super Smash Bros series. From the heaps of collectible idols to be won in game, to the broad music selection and even including the menus themselves, everything is playful but professional. Project Sora have even incorporated an achievement style system that rewards players for a huge variety of tasks with new idols, weapons or powers. Included in the box is a set of AR cards (just some of many available to collect) that unlock idols in the game and trigger battles animated on screen.
From Kid Icarus’ old school roots back on the NES, a completely new experience has emerged that is as flashy and far-reaching as today’s top titles. A near flawless return for Pit has made Uprising a must-have for all 3DS owners.