"Pit Soars Again After Nearly 21 Years"
Before I get started, I'd like to announce something. If you've played Kid Icarus: Uprising's online multiplayer and have owned, or have been owned by, a player who goes by the name "Urelmar", then chances are that you have been met in battle with the one and only yours truly. Feel free to pat your back or shake your fist accordingly.
Now on to the review... As you may or may not know, it has been a long, long time since a game sporting the title Kid Icarus was released. In fact, the last game in the series, Of Myths & Monsters, was released in November 1991. That's enough time for gamers born since then to now be of drinking age in some countries.
It goes without saying that Nintendo has done poorly in keeping the series from gathering dust all these years, but now the wrongs have been righted. At long last, we have a new Kid Icarus title. The question is: was Kid Icarus: Uprising worth the wait? In my honest opinion, I say that it was. Read on to see why.
"Sorry to keep you waiting." So says the angel, Pit, as the first stage of Uprising's story mode begins. After many years away from the world of mortals, Pit, warrior of Palutena, goddess of light, takes flight once more. The reason for this is the return of Medusa, goddess of the underworld and main villain of the original Kid Icarus, who, along with her armies of underworld creatures, is hell-bent on wreaking havoc on the mortal world, something that Pit and Palutena are just as hell-bent on preventing.
Foregoing the platforming elements of its predecessors, Kid Icarus: Uprising is heavy on the shooter-based action. Each level in the story mode is split into two parts: a rail-shooting air segment reminiscent of Star Fox (except faster-paced and usually with more enemies), and a ground segment where players have full control of Pit. Both air and ground combat employ the same control scheme, with players using the touch screen to aim, and the L button to fire or use a melee attack. In ground combat, Pit can also dodge to avoid enemy attacks.
It might appear cumbersome, judging from the slightly awkward, one-handed way one has to hold the 3DS as a result, but in execution the controls actually work very well and do not strain the hand while holding the system, as one may think. The only difficulty, as far as controls go, come with the camera, which is controlled with swipes of the touch screen. There were times when the camera could end up pointing the wrong way in the heat of battle if one was not paying attention. However, the levels are designed to be somewhat straightforward, focusing more on action than exploration, which nullifies this to some extent.
At first, I feared that the story mode would end up being a short ride, and after a few levels, I was momentarily tricked into thinking the game had indeed ended. I won't spoil anything, but I'll say this much: when the credits roll the first time around, the story isn't even halfway through, yet. Many of Kid Icarus: Uprising's most dramatic, action-packed, and even humorous moments had yet to come at that point.
A crucial aspect of gameplay, in both single-player and multiplayer (which I shall get to shortly) is weaponry. There is a massive number of weapons in Uprising, spread throughout nine types, ranging from blades and bows, to claws and cannons, each with its own strengths and weaknesses. While there is plenty of variety just between the types, Uprising goes much deeper than that. Every single weapon comes with its own unique stats, such as effectiveness in ranged combat, effectiveness in melee combat, and special modifiers like speed enhancements or poison effects. Such is the variety of these stats that one can come across two extremely different versions of the same weapon. The stats cannot be changed, however, but that can be worked around by fusing two weapons together to create a brand new weapon. The finished product takes traits from the originals, usually resulting in a stronger weapon.
Sometimes one wants to take a break from flying solo. That's where Kid Icarus: Uprising's multiplayer mode comes in handy. Here you can create or join rooms where six players can gather in the two modes that the multiplayer has to offer.
The first of these two modes in Kid Icarus: Uprising is known as "Light vs. Dark", which is pretty much a fight to the death between two 3-man teams. Each team has a team health gauge, which depletes whenever any of them die. The interesting thing about this is that the amount of health removed from the gauge upon a player's death is dependant on how powerful their weapon is. The more powerful the weapon, the greater the health loss. Once the gauge is depleted completely, the next teammate to die returns as Pit, giving them enhanced skill and power. The flipside to this is that if Pit dies, the game ends with that team's defeat.
The second mode is "Free For All", which, as the name implies, throws all sense of solidarity out the door, as the objective is to score more kills than the other five guys as they try to do the same. As can be expected, things can get pretty chaotic, and they often do.
In my time with both of these modes, I found them to run pretty smoothly and with small wait times between matches. There was only one time when I was kicked out due to a communication error, and even that failed to keep me from getting back online for long, as I was enjoying myself too much.
To reiterate what I said near the beginning, I found Kid Icarus: Uprising to be worth the wait. The action is intense in both the air and on the ground; the dialog between characters is charming and humorous, and the online is delightfully fun and engaging. In short, the game is very much a worthy addition to Nintendo's lofty ranks, and it will hopefully show the company that Pit is a hero worth the time of day. With luck, they will prevent him from disappearing for another twenty years. For that, only time will tell.
GameDynamo's Score for Kid Icarus: Uprising (3DS)
A writer, journalist, and aspiring storyteller, Peter Grimm has been gaming since the days of the Nintendo 64, and reporting on the goings-on in the World of Gaming since late 2011. His base of writing operations is located within the void between Here and There, or so he would have you think.
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