Kid Icarus: Uprising
System: Nintendo 3DS
Release date: JP 3/22/2012 – US 3/23/2012
I’m going to be completely honest. I didn’t know much about Kid Icarus or Pit before he was featured in Super Smash Bros. Brawl on the Wii. Perhaps at one point in my youth my brother and I might have rented the first game from the local video rental shop Megavideo. But there was nothing there that made the game memorable to me whatsoever. I had a chance to play a demo of Uprising at a Nintendo event over a year ago and it piqued my interest. As the game grew nearer to completion and more media was released, my interest had grown so much that it had become a “pick up on launch day” kind of game for me.
The Goddess of Light Palutina has brought back Pit to fight off Medusa, destroy the underworld, and battle a menagerie of other gods and creatures. You are tasked with flying and guiding Pit through an interesting take on an ancient war laden land inhabited by familiar and unfamiliar gods. This marks another beautifully designed and graphically amazing game on the 3DS. With some of the largest set pieces and level layouts I have seen yet. Even if you’ve had no interest in the Kid Icarus series before this point, you will definitely want to pick it up and give it try. I guarantee you have never played anything quite like it. Especially on a handheld system.
Uprising is essentially part rail shooter and part 3rd person action platformer. But it goes much deeper than that. Where some games work hard at separating the story and game modes. This game combines them. While you fly through the first part of each stage your characters will be conversing and essentially explaining the plot and things going on around you. It seems a little distracting at first but as you go on you realize it’s a truly genius way of doing it. It should also be noted that the dialogue is fantastic. At times I found myself even laughing out loud. Much to the dismay of fellow train riders who weren’t privy to the hilarity in front of mine eyes. The villains are great too. Each one has their own quirky personality. Sometimes you converse with them throughout the entire stage. You make fun of them and they make fun of you. You almost feel bad sometimes when you beat them because they were so gawsh-darn funny.
The flight sequences are controlled by steering Pit with the analog nub, aiming with the stylus, and firing with the L-trigger. After you land at your designated landing points in each stage you continue on foot. From here you will beat up badies by running, dashing, jumping, and shooting the holy thunder out of them. The controls changes slightly on foot with moving with the analog nub, aiming and camera movement with the stylus, and again firing with the L-trigger. It may seem a little difficult at first to fine tune both aiming and moving the camera with the same action. But as time goes on you will be surprised other games don’t play as fluidly as Uprising. Though I have heard that it can be challenging for lefties. But I think it is possible to play with the circle pad pro attachment and use your stylus with your left hand.
This is one of my favorite things about the game. Every single track of music in the game is fully orchestrated. From the menu music to the boss fights. It doesn’t matter. It’s all live instruments. (With the exception of sometimes pulling classic snippets of the original game music for when a certain enemy appears.) It really gives the game, which is on a handheld system, a big feeling. It’s the kind of quality you would expect from a larger scale system game on the PS3 or XBOX 360.
Of course the game can be played in either 3D of 2D. This option is always available. I recommend playing in 3D on the first play through at least. The sweeping landscapes for the flight sequences look great and play better in 3D. Though it can be a little tiring on the eyes for the on foot parts of the game. This is mainly because you are moving the camera a lot. It can also be tiring on your hands too. Luckily the game includes a free stand for you to rest the 3DS on to help alleviate any cramping or if you are playing at a table. I love it. I use it for any game now, if I am playing at my desk.
One great feature for the game is the multi-player which is called Together Mode. The Online and local play features exclusive maps where you can battle it out in Light VS. Dark Mode, where you play 3 on 3. Each team must defend it’s designated Pit or Dark Pit character. There is also Free-For-All, which is a 6 person melee. Players go nuts and beat the heavens out of fellow angels with the weapons of their choice. This is a great feature because you can use any weapons you acquire during the story mode and use them in online play. This works in reverse as well because you can use weapons you earn online in the story mode. I recommend taking breaks during story mode to earn yourself some higher level weapons to help you through some of the later stages.
Street pass this time around lets players create gems of a weapon of their choice. Every street pass shares your gem with passerby’s, and theirs with you. You can then either convert them to a useable weapon using your hearts (in game currency) of combine them to a different weapon using hearts as well. As mentioned before you can use any weapons you gather in both the single player campaign and the multi-player mode.
A truly unique feature with this game is the inclusion of a collectable card game to be used with the 3DS’s camera. Included with the game are a few AR cards featuring different characters from the game. These cards can be used to look at 3D models of the characters similar to the built in game on the 3DS. After scanning the cards it will unlock collectable idols within the game where you can view the character and look at a bio about them. The interesting part is the cards can only be obtained through special promotions. Whether it be through various magazines, the Nintendo online club store, or special Nintendo events.
It’s been a long time since I played a game that has been this refreshing. The story mode is a solid 24 chapters that you don’t want to end. Giving you plenty of hours of fun game play. There is so much content that even after beating it and playing the online multi-player mode, I feel like there is still so much to do. The game is constantly rewarding you for playing. With useful rewards too. Like more weapons to use in either game mode. The learning curve is hard at first. Taking a few rounds for you to really master the camera/aiming system (Especially for you lefties out there.). But in time it will feel as natural as writing or picking your nose. There is another game with this type of challenge as well. Nintendo has released a string of amazing games in the past few months and this is definitely one of them.
Thanks for reading!