Kid Icarus: Uprising - 3DS

Hands-On With Kid Icarus: Uprising
by Matt Helgeson on Jun 07, 2011 at 02:00 PM
Platform DS
Publisher Nintendo
Developer Project Sora
Rating Everyone 10+

Kid Icarus: Uprising became one of the most anticipated games for the 3DS thanks to its ambitious graphics and surprise reveal at last year's E3. Nintendo fans have been calling for the return of the Icarus franchise for years, and by year's end they'll have their chance to once more step into the role of Pit in a sprawling adventure that features combat in the air and on land.

The E3 demo that's playable at Nintendo's booth features three levels: "The Return of Palutena," "Magnus and the Dark Lord," and "Heads of the Hewdraw." I had the chance to play two levels before a Nintendo rep tapped me on the shoulder and said my appointment was over. A little disappointing, but I still got a good bit of playtime in with the game.

At outset of the demo, you pick one of the levels and then proceed to a weapon select screen. I'm pretty sure these aren't the final menus of the game; this demo seemed made to get E3 attendees into the action as fast as possible. There were a few weapons to choose from, ranging from traditional melee weapons like the Blade to ranged projectiles like the Orbitars, which fire two separate energy blasts. Others include Bow, Cannon, Arm (creative name!), Claws, and Palm (which allows you to shoot energy shots directly from your hand).

The control scheme is definitely different, and I'm not sure I love it. Basic movement is governed by the analog stick. You can also flick the analog quickly to dash during on-land battles. Shooting is done through the left trigger, and aiming and (on land) camera control is done with the stylus and touch screen. In the air, it plays a bit like a Space Harrier style shooter. Pit moves around in the foreground as you aim the reticule with the touch pad. The aerial levels are basically on rails, so your only movement is to dodge oncoming attacks or obstacles. In these sections, I thought the control scheme worked fairly well. Having the touch screen aiming lets you quickly pinpoint targets, almost like playing an FPS with a keyboard and mouse. The flying sequences also dazzle the eye. While the 3DS definitely isn't pushing HD visuals, the 3D effects are very striking while in flight. This is the first time I really felt like the 3D effects in a 3DS game were adding something to the experience for me.

On land, things get a bit dicier. The basic control scheme remains the same -- movement with the analog, aiming with the stylus. However, the camera control is problematic. You swipe the stylus left or right to move the camera, swinging the angle of view somewhat haphazardly. It's definitely not exact, and can be frustrating if you're used to the one-to-one camera controls common in most games. Overall, the on land combat was similar to in the air, but not as exciting. The one boss battle I had on land, against a two headed flaming dog called the Twin Bellows, was a fairly standard arena battle, with the boss going through all the standard charge/attack/run around cycles common in gaming.

While I can't judge the game based on this small slice, I do hope the team manages to figure out some of the control problems and creates some land-based levels that match aerial combat.

Products In This Article

Kid Icarus: Uprising - 3DScover

Kid Icarus: Uprising - 3DS

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