The lights are on
When Kid Icarus was first shown off for the 3DS in 2010, It showed me one of the great new games coming to the handheld. Finally after many years the Kid Icarus franchise was getting another sequel. Now fast forward to 2012 and Kid Icarus: Uprising is finally released. After playing the game for over 50 hours, I'm happy to say that Project Sora has crafted an amazing game.
The story begins with Pit and Palutena fighting against the underworld army to stop Medusa who is raging war and destroying cities on Earth. Along the way Pit meets new Gods, people, enemies and more. Combine this with a bunch of plot twists and character changes and you have your self a compelling story.
The story is told between 25 chapters which some can take from up to 20+ minutes. The adventure can be completed somewhat fast, but is extended by the Fiend's Cauldron, Multiplayer, and much more (more on this stuff later). In each chapter you have air battle, land battle and then the boss fight. Usually it goes in this order but some chapters mix it up. In air battles Palutena guides Pit to his destination (since the Power of Flight only last 5 minutes). These sections can be comparable to Sin & Punishment or Star Fox as you need to dodge and shoot while the level auto scrolls.
In Land Battles, Pit needs to head to the boss fight while defeating enemies that get in his way. These sections is usually the longest part of the chapter and contain some light platforming and maybe a vehicle. Land battles are less linear than air battles and boss fights. There's many secrets to find and many alternate paths that you can take. In Boss battles Pit faces of against the boss. Each of them is different than the last and has weak points and strategies that you can use against them.
The controls are very simple to understand, but can be difficult to adjust to at first. You control Pit with the Circle Pad, aim with the touch screen, and shoot with L button. Of course there is more advanced moves like melee attacks and charged shots, but the basics only consist of three buttons. The controls work very well with air battles as Palutena guides Pit towards the objective, but becomes more complicated on land battles as Pit has to guide himself. On land the controls remain the same, but to move the camera you have to flick the touch screen with the stylus. As Pit says "It's like spinning a globe" On land you have more options to take out your foes. Like in air battles you have charged shots, but these can be changed depending on how you're moving. A forward dash charge attack is usually more powerful than a standing charge shot. You also have multiple ways to get around enemies and powers, which is equippable on the solo menu that you can use on land.
The problems isn't the control scheme, which works very well with Uprising, but it's the learning curve that comes with it. Although it's simple to learn, mastering the controls will take time. You won't be able to jump into multiplayer or harder difficulty levels until you master dodging and dash arounds. At least the controls is customizable, meaning you change the controls as you see fit.
Now back onto the topic of gameplay, Kid Icarus has various ways to switch up how you play. One of the main things that determines how you play is weapons. Weapons decide rate of fire, the strength of melee attacks, the range of your shots, the speed at which you move, and much, much more. There's nine different types of weapons and each weapon category has different weapons in that type. In addition, each weapon can be different from each weapon, meaning no two weapons will be alike. Weapons will have stats boast like overall defense boast, status effects like poison, and other boasts. You can get weapons everywhere in the game. You can get them by finding them in solo mode, completing chapters, participating in together mode(multiplayer) and even in street and spotpass.
Other things that add onto the gameplay is the Fiend's Cauldron in solo mode, which allows you to adjust the difficulty in the chapters you play. It's more of a betting system on which you put your skills to the test to earn stronger weapons, hearts(game's currency), powers, idols(Trophy like system similar to Smash Bros. series), and more. If the game was too easy on the intensity 3.0 then try 4.0 or 5.0. The game goes up to 9.0(the highest intensity) to 0.0.(the lowest) so there's room to experiment on which intensity is best for you and your skill level. The treasure hunt is another aspect in solo mode which is more of like a set of challenges or achievements. Here you can earn new weapons, stages, hearts, idols, music and more. Many of the challenges is related to solo mode like completing chapter 1 in under 5 minutes or defeating a boss with certain weapon. And there's challenges for together mode, and other modes. You'll slowly earn feathers which allows you to unlock any challenge you haven't yet. The other modes of Kid Icarus include the Vault which you can view your idols, listen to music, make offerings to gods, view your records and more. Finally there's the options menu for adjusting the game, Together mode for multiplayer, and Streetpass menu, for veiwing weapon gems you sent or received via stretpass or spotpass.
Together mode is another one of the great things of Kid Icarus: Uprising. Here you can face off against your friends or strangers via online or local. There's two game modes Light v.s. Dark and Free-for all. In Light v.s. Dark you split up into two teams of three and battle each other. When you die some of the team's life bar is depleted and when it's depleted the team's angel appears. Once the team's angel is defeated the battle is over. The spin on this is that the stronger the weapon you're using, the more of the teams life bar is depleted. If your not really good yet, then you shouldn't use really strong weapons so you can preserve the team's life bar. In Free-for -all, it's a deathmatch between six people where you have to kill as many people as you can without dying to gain points. When it's time up, the scores is tallied and the top three is presented. In both of the game modes, you can earn, weapons, idols, and powers, along with a mystery bonus which is usually a very valuable weapon or power.
In the sound department, you'll find your self enjoying what you hear. The music in Kid Icarus is excellent, remixing of old Kid Icarus themes,and adding new themes. The voice acting in solo mode is also done well. The characters often crack jokes, and break the 4th wall going to things about video games. Everyone is personified well by their voice actor and it's all done very well. Among Nintendo's best in voice acting.
In the graphics department, you'll also find you won't be disappointed. The environments is beautiful, especially in air battles, and the character models is done well. The game might not look the best in screenshots or trailers, but it looks great on the 3DS screens. The artwork of characters while their talking is a nice bonus and always a pleasure to look at. Finally there's the 3D effect, which Kid Icarus does very well. Air battles shows off the 3D feature amazingly well. It's one of the best uses of 3D on the 3DS.
Conclusion: Kid Icarus: Uprising is an amazing game that does well in multiple areas. You'll find a very enjoyable story, amusing characters, great gameplay, and a lot of stuff to do. Sure the game may have controls that take a long time getting used to, but once you get the hang of them you'll have a hard time putting the game down. Uprising may not be an new IP, but it sure does seem like it. It's amazing new game that every 3DS owner needs to experience.
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