Friday, 30 March 2012

First Impressions: Kid Icarus Uprising

I'm going to skip any pointless retrospectives regarding the Kid Icarus series' past this time around and instead cut straight to what they call the chase: Kid Icarus Uprising is without a shadow of a doubt single greatest game to see release on 3DS in the system's current one-year . This retro revival is witty, sharp, fast-paced, and most of all an absolutely gorgeous spectacle to behold. Angelic protagonist Pit's not-so-humble apologies seem just about unnecessary after experiencing the first set of chapters as well as the expansive multiplayer modes and extra content found jammed within what is without a hitch the biggest release on 3DS thus far. Quite simply, if you own Nintendo's latest handheld then one truth is clear: You need this game. And even though I've praised it thoroughly in this opening, I'm going to go into even more detail as to why 3DS owners should definitely purchase Pit's cartridge-based return to glory. Before that, though, I'd just like to announce something: I'm sorry to keep you waiting. I had a preview of the Kid Icarus Uprising well underway and set to be posted the day before the game's release, but that didn't happen by the time I received my copy and became absorbed in the enthralling experience it offered. So, I've decided to write a short but sweet First Impressions post to warm up your cockles for the main event: the review. Before that, though, let's begin with a quick look at Uprising's solo modes...

The main menu found in Uprising's small but mighty cartridge is drastically similar to that of Super Smash Bros. Brawl, giving off a feeling of pure Sakurai charm, and it's on this menu that you'll find two distinct modes: Solo and Together. Both are self-explanatory, but each house a lot more than you'd bargain for. The main bulk of Solo is Pit's quest, which in layman's terms sees the angel returning after 25 years to take down the revived lord of the Underworld Medusa, but a dash of complexity here and a heap of amazing plot twists there the plotline becomes much more than that, without spoiling anything. Pit's not on his own, however, as the Goddess of Light, Palutena, acts as his guide throughout most of the game. Throughout every single chapter there's a large amount of dialogue that can't be described as anything other than absolutely hilarious, without being to cheesy or at all annoying. This bickering and other forms of vocal exchange (including sexual innuendo, bad jokes, jaw-dropping puns, references to other Nintendo titles and some incredible fourth-wall breaking) could've partially broken the game, because it's heard the majority of the time throughout the nine chapters I've played so far. Luckily, Sakurai's crew at Project Sora picked the perfect voice cast, with Pit himself being likeable but rather clueless with his voice reflecting that. Despite the humour, the game still continues to retain a sense of epic scale, marking a fitting return for the original NES game's heroes and villains alike. The visuals are also reflect this epic scale - I won't go into detail until the review, but I can say that while it may not be the most detailed graphically, Kid Icarus: Uprising might just be the most beautiful game to have ever sprouted from any of Nintendo's branches, especially when you flick that 3D slider up. Oh, and the music - Words can't even describe the catchyness of some of tunes I've heard so far, and this incredible tunage looks to sound even better from here onwards.

Of course, the immense production values and ridiculous amount of content found within Kid Icarus: Uprising is only the icing on a very delicious cake - the gameplay itself used to bake the main bulk of which. One big aspect of the game you lot who haven't yet played the game probably want to hear about is the controls, of which many reviewers have been doing anything other than praising. Despite all the effort put into the game, despite all the content, all the gorgeous art and tremendous production values, review scores as low as 4/10 have been 'awarded' to this release because of one reason - you guessed it: the controls. However, you've got to keep one thing in mind about so-called professional games journalists, and that happens to be the fact they're very busy people. They don't have time to go into options screens to adjust controls to their liking, and instead judge games based off the default settings, which even I will admit are fairly poor. However, with some adjustments (namely, an increase in horizontal reticule speed on both Land and Air Battles as well as an increase in stopping speed on the former) they worked perfectly. It is a fundamental flaw that they got the default settings wrong, at least from my and many others' perspectives, but with the adjustments I mentioned they work like an absolute charm, and many who own the game seem to agree with yours truly more than a lot of the press. Don't expect me to be giving this game anything less than a great score when it comes to the reviewing process. As for the gameplay of Pit's quest, I'll also leave that for the review. Got to have something to write when the time comes, right?

Finally, we're brought to the multiplayer aspect of Kid Icarus: Uprising. Of course, the development of this game has been lead by none other than a certain Mr. Sakurai, the same guy who created Super Smash Bros. That alone is enough to say that Uprising is great fun with your friends, or even with computer-controlled bots (all of which have randomised names based on characters and creations from Nintendo lore, which is pretty awesome to say the least). Action is fast-paced and frantic, packed with Dragonball-style action (that means enormous explosions and mega lasers all over the place, folks) that never holds up, while still being perfectly playable. The framerate does indeed play up on odd occassions while playing with other players across the world, but never enough to halt your experience. There's two game modes found in Uprising's multiplayer: Light vs. Dark and an every man for himself Free-for-All. The latter is self-explanatory but still extremely enjoyable, while the former is a lot more interesting. Two teams of three players are tasked with defeating the opposing team's angel, who appears when a team's life gauge is fully depleted through a number of defeats (the life gauge decreases more rapidly depending on the value of a defeated player's weapon, but more on that in the review). The team who defeats the opposing team's angel achieves victory - It couldn't be simpler, but it's still very fun. Overall, the multiplayer mode is even more icing on the aforementioned delectable cake that is Kid Icarus: Uprising. For now, you lot can look forward to my review of the game which will be posted here on the blog in the coming months, but for now please take my word that this is an absolutely amazing achievement in more ways than one for Sakurai, Sora and Nintendo. Next up on the blog is my oh-so special 100th post, so be sure to look forward to that, drop some comments here if you wish and stay tuned in for more on Kid Icarus: Uprising!


Conor said...

I enjoyed reading this. I soooo need to get a 3DS. Hope to have one at the end of the year, because all the stuff you're spouting about Uprising is making me incredibly jealous.

Good stuff, aniki.

ThePunnyGuy said...

Nice, haven't got around to getting this yet, but if it's as good as you're saying I may need to consider it.