Kid Icarus: Uprising - Review

The Rebirth of Kid Icarus

Over 20 years ago Kid Icarus: Of Myths and Monsters was released on the original Game Boy, many fans were excited to finally play another Kid Icarus game, but little did they know, this would be the last Kid Icarus game for quite awhile.

Many years later the Nintendo fighting game Super Smash Bros Brawl was finally released in 2008. Just like the past two games, Smash Bros Brawl featured well known Nintendo characters from many different game series, but one character alone ended up sparking a lot of interest. Who was this character? Well, none other than Pit of course! Pit hadn't been seen in a for quite a few years, but after Pit won second place in the Super Smash Bros Melee "NES Character Poll," Nintendo decided to go ahead and include him in their newest fighting game. Although old school fans already knew who Pit was, Smash Bros stiill introduced Pit to a completely new set of fans as well. Kid Icarus was no longer an old NES game from over four generations ago, but it was now a game even young gamers knew about, and many became interested in the series.
In the end, after seeing the fan's reaction to Pit, Nintendo decided to finally move forward and make the third game in the series.

Welcome back Pit!

Kid Icarus Uprising is the third game in the Kid Icarus series, and was released on the Nintendo 3DS. Although the original Kid Icarus games were more along the lines of a 2D side scrolling Adventure Game, very much like Metroid, Kid Icarus Uprising goes in a completely different direction. Although the game does feature some game play elements introduced in the original games, just like Mario, Zelda, and Samus' jump from 2D to 3D, Kid Icarus Uprising features its own unique style of game play, and makes its self stand out from the originals by going down the path of being a rail shooter/action adventure game/third person shooter.

Pit's New Adventure

Kid Icarus Uprising is a fast moving game, and it throws players right in as soon as they hit start. "Sorry to keep you waiting!" And with that, Pit jumps through a door and is flying through the sky. Very much like the Star Fox games, the story in Uprising is almost completely told during actual game play. As soon as Pit enters the first level the Goddess Palutena tells Pit that the Underworld Army, that's being lead by Medusa, is attacking, and it's now up to Pit to protect everyone.

Unlike most Nintendo games, Kid Icarus Uprising has full voice acting, and the game makes use of it. Every single level is packed full of dialog, and it really helps the story come together. In the beginning of the game Pit and Palutena will mostly talk about what's going on around them; Palutena will give Pit hints, which serves as a type of tutorial, Pit will comment back, or the two will simply talk about their overall goal, but as time goes on more characters are brought into the mix and the story evolves.

Although some may enjoy the story and the way it's told, some may actually be turned off by it and they may just turn of the dialog completely. The characters do in fact talk non stop, many jokes are told, and the 4th wall is broken quite a few times as well; some players might find this to be a bit annoying, but others may find themselves laughing all the time. Either way most people will find that the game has a pretty good story, and it's filled with twists and turns. When Pit jumps through that door at the start of each chapter, you just never know what's going to happen.

Take Flight once again!

The game play in Kid Icarus changes quite a bit throughout the adventure; however the core game play will mostly stay the same. Back when Uprising's engine was being created, it was originally being created for a brand new Star Fox game, however as time went on Nintendo decided to create something new. Although the game is now a Kid Icarus game, it's pretty clear what Nintendo originally intended for it to be. At the start of each level you'll find yourself flying high in the skies on a set path that's being controlled by Palutena.
As you soar through the sky enemies will fly around and shoot at you as you do the very same back. Just like in old arcade games, or in Nintendo's Sin and Punishment, the player to dodge everything that comes at them, as they try to kill as many enemies as possible to shoot for the highest score. Many of the areas Pit flies through are creative, they look amazing, and they'll please most old school rail shooter fans. Although these levels do start out very easy, Kid Icarus Uprising has 99 difficulty settings ranging from 0.0 to 9.0. Since the game's "normal mode" is set to "2.0," there's plenty of room to increase the difficulty if you feel thing's are a bit too easy. Since the "Power of Flight" only lasts for 5 minutes at a time, Palutena will send Pit to the ground after awhile, and the second part of the level will begin.

Once on the ground players are free to move Pit around in a completely 3D world. Near the start of the game each ground level is normally a pretty straight forward path, but as the game goes on levels begin to become a bit more complex with different paths to explore. Sometimes there will be doors that require a set difficulty to pass through, other times there will be areas you need power ups to access, and sometimes you'll be required to search for a key. Since the game's weapon system runs on a loot drop based system, there's always a reward for exploring each level, but it's completely up to the player if they want to or not.
Other than exploring large maps, ground combat features most of what you would expect from this type of game. Pit can shoot from long range, preform charge shots, and shoot special dash shots, but he can also get in close to to unleash a combo of melee attacks. By mixing up long range, and melee it's once again up to players to decide just how to take down each enemy. Sometimes you'll come across an enemy with armor which will require you to hit a weak spot on the back, other times enemies will be strong against melee attacks which will require you to shoot them, and sometimes you'll even have to use power ups or items. Although the basic combat is simple, it can also be very deep.

Throughout the levels Pit will also be able to use power up items, such as bombs, he can get into vehicles, and he can also use special jump pads and grind rails to get around. Most of the time these items are only useful in the room they appear in, but sometimes you'll come across the rare levels that actually require you to bring them with you if you want to move on; levels with race tracks for the "bike" for example.
Each level normally ends with a boss fight, which is normally the enemy that you have been talking to throughout the entire level. Although each boss is normally a flat out fight to the death using a mix of long range and melee attacks, sometimes the game does change it up by throwing in what one might call a "gimmick" as well. Sometimes you'll be required to use jump pads to dodge attacks, other times you'll be using grind rails to get in closer, but either way boss battles are fun and creative; sadly they only last around 30-40 seconds when playing on easier settings... That can be a problem if you want to hear all of the dialog...

The Controls

Kid Icarus Uprising is one of the few 3DS games out with what you might call controversial controls. The game is controlled completely by using the slider, the touch pad, and the L button by default, but the controls can be changed in the options. While in the air the slider is used to move around, the touch screen is used to aim, and the L button is used to shoot, but on the ground things get a little bit complicated.

While on the ground the slider is still used to move around, but it's not as simple as it was in the air. By simply pushing the slider in any direction Pit will dash or dodge, however since Pit can get tired easily dashing around is not always the best option and can sometimes get you into a lot of trouble. Pit can walk slowly which will not use up any of his energy, but due to the circle pad being so touchy, it can be a bit tricky to simply start out walking instead of running. Even so, if Pit starts out running, you can simply let back on the slider to slow down and switch over to a normal walk.

Just like in the air the touch screen is used for aiming and the L button is used for shooting, but the touch screen also controls the camera angle as well. By swiping the screen the camera will slowly turn, and this can really be a pain/make it hard to see; however the good news is that you CAN change the speed of the camera, and it's something I STRONGLY RECOMMEND doing. Many people have a problem with the camera angle, but by setting the rotation speed to max the game's camera angle will rotate along with your aim which makes the controls a lot easier in the end.

Camera and aim control can also be set to the four buttons (XYBA) just like in Metroid Prime Hunters, but this is a lot slower and can make the game a lot harder than it needs to be. Still if you're the type of player who would rather avoid the touch screen at all costs, you may want to check out these options.
Sadly as of right now there is no right slider controls, but the Circle Pad Pro can be used for lefties, and due to the fact that Kid Icarus Uprising is set up to allow patches, it's always possible that we'll see it in the future. Either way the game allows you to finely tune the controls so almost everyone should be able to find the controls that work best for them.

Pit the Weapon Master!

As I stated before, Kid Icarus Uprising uses an item loot system which is a very important part of the game play. Before setting out and playing the next level, players are able to select which weapon they want to bring with them. At first glance it seems like a pretty simple system, but with 9 different classes of weapons, and many different types of weapons for each class, it actually has a lot of depth. For example a First Blade is well balanced between long range and close range, but a Samurai Blade has stronger melee attacks with a shorter shooting range, Brawler's Claws has a rapid punching "range" attack, while Stealth Claws shoots a long stream of invisible shots. Every single weapon has its own advantages and disadvantage, and each class plays completely different; once again it's up to players to decide which weapons to use, and it's also up to them to learn how to use them.

Besides having different types of weapons, each weapon has many versions as well. Each weapon has a star rating for it's ranged and melee attacks to show you how strong it is in them stats. If one weapon has 4 stars in melee and two stars in ranged, while another version of the very same weapon has three stars in melee and no stars in ranged, the former would be the stronger weapon. Weapons also have 6 ability slots as well, which are normally chosen at random, but by fusing two weapons together to make a new one, you can somewhat chose which abilities to pass on.

For example: if you have a First Blade with three stars in it's ranged stat, and it has the abilities of "Health +2," "Shot Range +1," and "Dash cont. fire +4," and you fuse that with a First Blade with four stars in ranged and the "Overall defense +1," "Shot range +1," "Melee dash attack +3," and "Item attack +2" abilities, you'll create Wolf Claws with a 4.5 stars in ranged attack, and it'll have the abilities of "Shot range +1," "Overall defense +1," and "Item attack +2." In other words by fusing items with the abilities you want, you can create a weapon that has a few of the very same abilities. It may sound a little bit confusing, but there is an in game chart that shows you what you'll create, and just how you created it. Of coarse if you want to take the easy way out, you could just buy weapons from the shop using hearts you get from killing enemies, but they ARE completely random.

Pit's new Powers

Kid Icarus Uprising also features a "power" system which allows you to customize Pit to your liking. As you play through the game you'll find different powers which you can equip. Each power comes in different shapes and sizes, and in order to equip them you must drop them in your 6x6 ability box. If you have ever played a game such as Megaman Battle Network, or Valkyria Chronicles, you'll be very familiar with this type of set up.

Powers come in all shapes and sizes, some buff you for a short amount of time and make you stronger, some create shields, others allow you to poison or stun your enemies, some heal you, and there are even ones that allow you to jump or glide! There are MANY different types of abilities, and all of them have their very own uses.

Player vs Player

With all the different weapon classes and weapons, and with the whole skill set up, Kid Icarus Uprising is the perfect type of game to feature an online mode, and Nintendo took advantage of that. Kid Icarus Uprising features two online game play modes, Light vs Dark, and Free for All. In free for all players simply are thrown into a battle field where they try to rack up as many kills as possible within the time limit. It's a fast and easy game mode to play, but it just isn't as deep as the other mode, Light vs Dark.

In Light vs Dark you're put on a team of three on either the Light or Dark side, and you're given the goal of taking down the other teams angel. As team members are defeated their team's health bar will slowly decrease, how much health that is lost depends on how strong the weapon of the defeated player was, until it finally hits 0. Once this happens the last player to get killed will be transformed into the team's angel and given a completely random weapon. This is when the real battle starts.

Each team MUST protect their angel while the other team tries to take it down. Teams must be able to work together to both protect their own angel as they attack the other teams angel as well. If an angel is defeated, the other team wins and the game ends.

Both online modes are fun to play, and you can even play against bots, however the online mode is still a bit flawed. Unlike past Nintendo games such as Metroid Prime Hunters, Kid Icarus uprising does NOT feature any type of ranking system, you cannot play with both friends and strangers, and there is no way to talk with your team. Although the ranking system isn't that big of a deal, it's a bit sad that you and your friends can only play together/with bots, and not being able to at least send some type of message can really hurt the game as well. If you're the angel and you're being attacked, good luck calling to your team for help...

The Unlockables and Extras of Uprising
Just as you might expect from a game that was created by the same developer who brought us Smash Bros, Uprising features many unlockable features and extras to play around with.

Just like in Kirby's Air Ride and in Smash Bros Brawl, Uprising features an achievement system called "Treasure Hunt." As you play through the game and complete different achievements, boxes in treasure hunt will be opened, you'll earn rewards, and the boxes around the box will be become lighter to show you what else you can unlock. For example, if you play "Far Away" online mode you'll unlock the "Effect Recovery Lv. 1" power, and the boxes around it will turn light which will allow you to see what you have to do to open them. In this case the boxes around it which we can now see are "Clear chapter 1 within 7 minutes," "collect over 10,000 hearts," and "clear chapter 7 in crisis mode." In other words, if a box is still dark, you cannot see how you open it, and if it's light you can.

There are 360 achievements to unlock in game, and as each box is removed a piece of a large picture can be seen in the background. You can also use features to auto unlock a single box, but sometimes it's just better to save them.

Idol Toss is another extra feature that's included in the game which is Uprising's version of the coin mini game in Smash Bros. As you play the game you'll unlock eggs which you'll be able to launch into the air and turn into Idols. Idols serve as Uprising's version of trophies and they allow you to view a 3D model as well as read information about whatever the idol is of. Idol Toss isn't as "fun" as the coin launcher in Brawl, but it's still fun collecting idols either way.

Under the "Vault" option in the main menu you can check to see just about everything you have unlocked. Here you can view your Idols that you've collected, listen to music in the Music Gallery, check your achievements, access the Idol Toss (which can also be accessed in Story Mode), check your records (which record every bit of detail about the game), and you can offer Hearts to the Goddess. Offerings "do nothing" but with each offering the Goddess gets closer. What offerings truly do is a secret, and something that might be worth your time.

So, is it worth it?

Kid Icarus Uprising is a great rail shooter and action adventure 3rd person shooter. The story is nice, the game play is solid, the game is very nice looking, there's a lot of extras, a crazy deep weapon and crafting system, it has 90 difficulty settings, and a fun online mode; however the game still may not be for everyone. Dialog can be annoying, controls may be hard to get used to, and the online mode is missing some features that have became "standards" for online PvP.

Kid Icarus Uprising is NOT the Kid Icarus we used to know, but it is still a great game. If you're the type of person who likes rail shooters/3rd person shooters/action adventure games, and loves having 100s of weapons to play around with, then this is the game for you.
I give it a rare rating of 9.5/10


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