Saturday, April 7, 2012

Kid Icarus: Uprising Review

Ah, yes. I stated in my Sonic 06 review that this would be coming soon, and, well, here it is. Anyway, Kid Icarus Uprising was one of the first games announced for the 3DS at E3 2010. It quickly became one of the most highly anticipated games of the 3DS’ line-up, partially because it was the first Kid Icarus game in around twenty years and partially because it actually looked really good. I, myself, had never played either of the two Kid Icarus games beforehand, but that doesn’t really matter considering Uprising is probably almost nothing like them. Of course, that’s not necessarily a bad thing. In fact, Kid Icarus: Uprising is not only the best game to come out on 3DS thus far, but probably even…one of my favorite games in general, at least at the moment. Let us not dawdle any longer; this is the masterpiece known as Kid Icarus Uprising.


Kid Icarus: Uprising stars Pit, the right-hand man of the Goddess of Light Palutena. The evil Medusa has returned after her defeat in the original game, and with a whole slew of Underworld forces at her command. As such, Pit and Palutena once again find themselves in a gigantic war between light and dark. Proving a bit of a hindrance is the fact that Pit actually can’t fly on his own and must rely on the Goddess Palutena to do so, and even then the Power of Flight only lasts five minutes. Also, further complicating things is that a dark doppelganger of Pit known as Dark Pit is running amok after Pit accidentally created him in the process of destroying the Mirror of Truth, a mirror that was being used to create more and more Underworld forces. And as Pit and Palutena will soon find out, there’s more to Medusa’s return than they may be taking for granted.

The storyline of Uprising is actually really good. It will come off as simple at first, but as the game goes on it becomes really interesting and even surprisingly complex. The game doesn’t take itself too seriously, either. While the plot has its more serious elements and moments, the tone of the game remains very lighthearted and fun. Also, the writing of this game is actually really funny. Not only is it just generally humorous, but it’s incredibly self-aware to the point that there is no fourth wall whatsoever and there are also a lot of great references to other Nintendo games and franchises. The voice acting is really good, too, and characterization is very strong. The main cast is very likable and even the one-off villains are very well-written and enjoyable. In addition, most of the dialogue and story will actually take place during the gameplay, a choice which suits the game very well, as you will see when you play the game.

Uprising is also great in the aesthetics department. The orchestral soundtrack is simply fantastic and as one of the first games announced for the 3DS at E3, it did a great job of showing off what the handheld could do visually and still does and the 3-D effect, while not as good as, say, Super Mario 3D Land, is pretty nice. The wow factor of this game’s visuals actually comes less from the environments and more from the setpieces. The on-rails sections, in particular, have a great deal of amazing setpieces that really do a fantastic job of keeping things exciting and interesting.

Which brings me to the gameplay, and essentially, Kid Icarus Uprising can be thought of as Star Fox Assault if it was actually really amazing. The game features both rail-shooting sequences and ground combat sequences and while both play styles are pretty different from each other, the controls remain similar enough that switching between them isn’t jarring at all. The default control scheme has you using the Circle Pad to move, the stylus to aim the reticle and the “L” button to fire your weapon or perform a melee attack if you’re close to an enemy. During ground combat, you also slide the stylus along the screen to change the camera angle and you can tap the Circle Pad twice in any direction to dash, much like in Super Smash Bros., as is pointed out in the tutorial. If you tap the Circle Pad twice just as an enemy attack is about to hit you, you will do a dodge. There’s a slight learning curve, but once you get used to the controls, they work great, being very precise and responsive and allowing you to keep up with the game’s fast-paced action.

And there will be a crapload of that, rest assured. The fast-paced, over-the-top action of Uprising on top of the solid mechanics and controls are really what make it an amazingly fun experience. The rail-shooting sections are absolute mindless fun and, as I said before, the setpieces are amazing. This game seriously makes Star Fox 64 look dull. I'm not even exaggerating. Just try to go back to Star Fox 64 after playing this game; it will feel dated by light years. The ground combat sections aren’t quite as fast-paced, but are just as much fun because they have more to offer. The areas feature a great deal of variety in the challenges they pose and vehicle and rail-grinding segments do a very good job of changing things up when they appear. Boss battles are also superbly designed and feature a lot of variety. In short, really, really amazing stuff.

One really interesting thing about Uprising is the fully controllable difficulty level. It’s actually sort of a high risk, high reward type deal. As you defeat enemies, you gain Hearts, which are basically money. You use these Hearts to buy weapons and such, and unwanted weapons can even be converted to Hearts. So, how does this apply to the game’s difficulty level? Well, every time you start a chapter, you’re allowed to adjust the Intensity, or difficulty level. Raising it and even lowering it beyond a certain point is going to require more and more Hearts. Playing chapters on higher Intensities will get you better treasures and rewards and there also Intensity Gates in the levels, which you can only open if you’re playing on a certain Intensity or higher. Behind these gates are usually really good treasures. Difficulty still does curve naturally, but what will ultimately affect your experience the most is the Intensity you’re playing on. If you die, however, you will not only lose some of the Hearts that you bet, but the difficulty will also be knocked down a bit. It is a really nice idea that adds a great deal of replay value to the game and gives you a lot of incentive to improve your skills.

Oh yes! There is one more thing that needs to be covered! With Kid Icarus: Uprising, Nintendo decided to not be lazy and gave the game online multiplayer! And the online multiplayer is not only un-sucky, but it's really fun and addictive! There are two modes – free-for-all and Light vs. Dark. Free-for-all is just what you would expect: a gigantic brawl between several players. In Light vs. Dark, players are organized into a light team and a dark team and have to duke it out. Every time a player is killed, that player’s team’s gauge decreases. When said gauge is decreased all the way, a team angel will appear, and the first team to kill a team angel is the winner. You can use the weapons and upgrades you get in the single player mode in the multiplayer mode and vice versa. Overall, it’s a very fun multiplayer mode that almost makes me not care that Star Fox 64 3D didn’t have online multiplayer. Almost.

Still not letting it go.


Kid Icarus: Uprising is…wow. I didn’t actually expect this much from it, but it thoroughly blew me away. Even the story was really good, and it’s surprisingly long, too. It’s surpassed Super Mario 3D Land as the best 3DS game, and I would honestly put it up there with my favorite games of all time. It is a legitimately amazing game and I can’t really think of any real complaints I had with it. If you own a 3DS, you have no excuse not to get this game.

*sigh* Well, I guess it's time to stop being lazy and get to work on 358/2 Days.

Grade: A+

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