Review by FlyinTonite
"Darkness, prepare to meet the light!"
Once in a generation, a game is born that really touches the hearts of millions of gamers worldwide, leading to many great sequels and spin-offs. Kid Icarus: Uprising is not this game, it isn't a franchise that will be as beloved as mario or sonic, despite past failings from the latter, but it is a solid game nonetheless. Throw out your preconceived notions if you played the original for the nes, or the gameboy game, this is not the same game, in name yes but gameplay wise it is far different.
Leave it to nintendo to create games for the 3ds that really showcase it's beauty. KIU is by far the best looking first party game out on the market currently for the 3ds. While it doesn't match the technical prowess of Resident Evil: Revelations, it does manage to look good. The characters look great, and one could argue that medusa has the best looking character model in a 3ds game to date. While some enemies and some of the items have a bit of a blocky texture too them, the graphics on the whole look great.
The environments look stunning. Ranging from the war torn cities of what appears to be a roman influenced nation, to undersea temples to factories in the sky, KIU delivers on the variety and the substance. There are times when the frenetic action gets in the way of the sheer beauty that one would wish to just sit back and enjoy the sights.
Simply stunning. There is nothing wrong with the soundtrack. Beautiful pieces really match the mood of the level you're playing on and the back and forth banter between characters, who are voiced by some well known voice actors, is fantastic. Everything in the soundtrack department is top notch. The only fault is that the banter is rather constant and takes away from the music a bit.
The meat of this review is the gameplay. The game is deep to be sure, from the 100+ weapons with different properties, tons of powers, idols, achievements, etc, but none of that would matter if the game was garbage. This is definitely not the case.
Controlling our winged hero is simple enough. Stylus to aim, circle pad to move and L to shoot. This works very well on the whole. Controlling the camera is a bit limited on the ground and using powers can be a bit awkward but these gripes aren't detrimental to the experience, although they do feel frustrating at times during single and multiplayer, but that's for a little later in this review.
Single player is simple enough in concept, fly from point A to kill boss B. However, it isn't so simple. The game is divided into two gameplay types, an on-the-rails shooter, like star fox, then it becomes a 3rd person beat-em-up, for lack of a better word. The flying sections are fantastic, the controls flow so well that one would be hard pressed to argue the 2nd circle pad is necessary. Shooting all the enemies on screen while dodging their fire is pretty satisfying, especially on harder difficulties as the pace can get quite hectic.
The on the ground segments are well done but suffer from some control issues. While it is very satisfying to dodge enemy fire while destroying all the various baddies the camera control can be a bit limiting, time and time again enemies will pop up and the stylus swipes won't quite turn the camera around fast enough and enemies will occasionally sneak up on you. In the heat of battle utilizing a power can be a bit troublesome as well, you can either scroll through the powers with the stylus or using the dpad. Both options are alright but both require you to either take your eyes off the screen or seize movement which can leave you vulnerable. With the myriad of extra space on the screen when characters are not speaking it seems the powers could easily just of fit on the bottom screen in an app like fashion.
Multiplayer, while straightforward, is a ton of fun. From the 6 man free-for-all or the 3 on 3 light v. dark, the multiplayer delivers. The action is fast paced and practically lag free, running at a silky smooth framerate throughout. Although a 4 on 4 and 8 man free-for-all would have been preferred in this reviewers opinion, a 6 man limit in both modes is hardly limiting. With all the action perhaps less is easier to handle with the framerate staying as is.
The free-for-all is a standard death and light v dark is your typical team deathmatch in that you try to kill the other team more than they kill you. After a certain number of deaths the last man to die is reincarnated as Pit or Dark Pit and it becomes a protect the base kind of mode, base being Pit or Dark Pit, should they die you lose the match. Deaths of teammates will still punish you but the angel character will have to die before victory can be declared. After the match, free-for-all or light v. dark you can occasionally get a new item or power, with the sheer magnitude of unlockables the bonus is nice.
While this review doesn't go in depth on several of the other options in game, weapon fusion, the grid like power selector, idol collecting etc, the game is fantastic. With so much to unlock and great single and multiplayer campaigns, nintendo has a game already in contention for game of the year, while not quite as grandiose as a mass effect, KIU manages to offer solid gameplay and a fantastic presentation making this uprising one you should meet.
Final Score (9/10)
Reviewer's Rating: 4.5 - Outstanding
Originally Posted: 03/27/12
Game Release: Kid Icarus: Uprising (US, 03/23/12)
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