Kid Icarus: Uprising's glaring fault isn't its controls, but the terrible default settings you're initially going to try and deal with (and most definitely fail miserably in doing so). Learning to adjust to a brand-new control method is cumbersome enough, but learning it before realising you can fix it will mess with your preconceptions. As a gamer, think about all the times you've gone to an options screen before playing any game that doesn't force you to do so, and you'll see what I mean. The best advice I can give anyone with this review, one that cements my hefty recommendation of this heroic return of an age-old Nintendo classic after a quarter-century in wait, is to go to the options screen, select 'Reticule/Camera' and take the time to find out what works for you - Increasing the speed at which the camera rotation stops is a given in any circumstance. This advice out of the way, let's move onto the good stuff, and boy oh boy, I've got a lot of positive things to say about this long awaited return from here on out. As a matter of fact, the three-dimensional restoration of Kid Icarus has not only cemented itself as my personal favourite game of the year thus far, it also happens to have neatly fitted into the rarely growing pantheon of my favourite handheld games of all-time. If the 3DS needed a system seller, this was it, never mind Super Mario 3D Land and Mario Kart 7.
|While not the most technically impressive game around, from an artistic standpoint Kid Icarus: Uprising is absolutely flippin' gorgeous.|
The most evidently stellar feature on Kid Icarus: Uprising's deep and detailed visage is the vast amount of content found within its pores. If you read my Super Smash Bros. Brawl review and noticed it was missing a few things in an analytical sense, you'll probably know the reason for that: Sakurai's famed fighting release packed so much content that it was virtually impossible to fit everything into a review without turning it into an analytical essay, and this retro reboot is very much the same. A solo campaign spanning a wide range of locales across 25 varied chapters, featuring 99 difficulty levels and an outrageous amount of replay value; A frantically fun multiplayer mode that you can launch online or locally; Over 400 Idols similar to Smash Bros.' Trophies; Numerous extra unlockable features; 90 weapon designs contained within 9 sub-categories; A vivid cast of characters tending to a fantastically composed script; Three whole panels of achievements... All of these things only make up a fraction of what you get when you purchase Kid Icarus: Uprising, and unlike Smash Bros., it's all from one game (with a few sparks of inspiration from other releases here and there). So, I'll not waste any time waffling: Allow me to dig in, starting with the story...
|In Air Battles, Pit engages in increasingly phantasmagorical metaphorical rollercoaster rides. Due to spoilers, I can't include screens of later stages, but trust me in saying they're mental as mental can be.|
This initial story arc of Pit's lengthy tale, one that every trailer leading up to the game's release exclusively showed footage of, is undoubtedly a semi-impersonation of the original release on the Famicom (or NES if you're not cool enough) over two decades previous. While times have most certainly changed since then for the Kid Icarus branding (after all, this release takes the form of an unconventional third-person/on-rails shooter as opposed to the series' 2D semi-Metroidvania roots), this arc is absolutely a re-telling of the original game's story, only in a more complex and advanced form with a few new branches growing from its stalk. When you're done with this part of the plot, however, the game truly reveals itself and it appears that the first few chapters were merely an introduction to the experience, which is fitting considering that you get no real introduction when you first start up the story as I mentioned previously. The return of Kid Icarus feels much like an arc-based anime or a Saturday morning cartoon in the way its world opens up, introducing you to so many new, diverse concepts after your initial introduction through what you thought was the whole deal, and while it's not ingeniously complex, it works incredibly well. Oh, and speaking of certain forms of televisual media, I can't help but see this as a segue towards another aspect of Uprising's plot: The ground-breaking script.
|In land battles, Pit can mount vehicles to make things a little less tiring.|
|Learning attack patterns is key to defeating the many bosses of Uprising's solo quest. Several zaps from that death-beam and Pit's a deep-fried chicken wing.|
|It's the Nega-Pit!!!|
Following some free-form exploration, typically involving the destruction of anything that gets in your way and the looting of any chests or Hearts salvaged from enemies, Pit reaches a boss, opening the final segment of a typical Uprising chapter. I do have a slight problem with this stage, as bosses are more often that not beaten in a flash, not giving the player the opportunity to hear all of the dialogue exchanges that take place throughout the battle. Naturally, things can be made more difficult with the aforementioned Intensity slider, but I still had something of a time issue with many of the game's heavy hitters, even on more challenging settings. Thankfully, it doesn't affect the final boss or some of the more important clashes, but regardless, it's frustrating to miss out on potentially hilarious dialogue simply because, however difficult they are to beat, your enemies don't have enough health. It's a minor niggle, but its occurrence throughout the adventure is just a bit too regular.
|Bonkers, frantic and packed with seizure-inducing colour, you can tell from the multiplayer mode that this is absolutely the spawn of Smash Bros.' creator.|
The very first thing we saw on 3DS, not too long after the vein-burstingly exciting reveal of the system itself back at E3 2010, was in fact Kid Icarus: Uprising. Back then, the sky-bound protagonist we know as Pit informed us that he was sorry to keep us waiting, but little did we know that we'd have to be waiting almost two more years to see the dinky hero shine his light on the 3DS. Was it worth the wait? Absolutely with a capital A and an added asterisk. Blessed with Sakurai's brilliance and the charm of Nintendo's legacy, Uprising feels much like part of something we've actively followed for decades, a-la Zelda, Mario, Metroid and what have you. But that's the thing, we haven't seen a feather from Pit's wings in over 20 years, and to have an effectively brand-new game feel like part of something that has been built-up over many years is an absolutely astonishing achievement, especially on such a dinky handheld. Heck, I haven't even had the chance to mention the beautiful visuals, absolutely phenomenal (not to mention perfectly choreographed with Air Battles) soundtrack and the intricate weapon management system the game has to offer. I have no doubt in my mind when I state that Kid Icarus: Uprising is not only the best game on the 3DS thus far, but also the greatest game to be released in 2012, at least judging from what I've played. And if that doesn't reinforce the fact that you pretty much need to purchase this game if you own Nintendo's latest handheld, I don't know what does. A masterful system-seller of uplifting proportions, the return of Kid Icarus makes the prospect of another quarter-century wait for the next installment as bearable as can be, to the point where good ol' Pit needn't have apologised on the day of the game's announcement in the first place.