REVIEW: Kid Icarus Uprising

31 Mar

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You’re going to want to play this game several times through. This is not the kind of game you set to Easy and speedrun. This game is about challenging yourself, with addictive gameplay and an awesome risk-and-reward system. Each level should be played at least twice to get the most out of this game. Actually, make that three times.

The Fiend’s Cauldron allows you to adjust the Intensity level of a stage. The higher you put it, the more rewards you will get, but the risk of dying and losing loot becomes much greater. On my first attempt at Chapter One, I set Intensity to 4 (You are able to choose anywhere between 0.0 and 9.0).

The first moment that you burst out into the sky the chatter begins between Pit (your character, an angel) and Palutena, the Goddess of Light. It continues throughout the entire game, with more characters coming in and adding their own individual styles of humour. The voice acting is fantastic (Much better than Thanatos Rising’s)! The way each level is presented as a chapter from a book is interesting too. It’s like one of those books that continues to switch between seemingly unrelated storylines, each containing its own mysteries, which are then all joined and answered in a stunning conclusion.

Anyway, back to the gameplay. Blasting the Monoeyes with your blade as you swoop through the air is satisfying. You move Pit with the Control Pad, aim with the touch screen and fire with L. It’s disorientating at first, but you adapt quickly, and develop your own playing style. If I’m not using the 3DS stand bundled with the game, I rest the system on my knee. After soaring through the clouds, diving downwards, and zooming through a mountain range littered with monsters (all in exactly five minutes), you continue on the ground.

The controls become a bit odd here, using the touch screen to aim and to turn around. But just like in the sky, you adapt to them quickly. You need to devise strategies for the different monsters on the ground, with dashes, dodges, dynamite and, uh, more “hand-to-hand combat”, as your melee attacks get much more use. You’ll also come across treasure chests all over the place, but the ones containing valuable weapons or grant you powers and achievements are usually squirreled away, sometimes behind Intensity gates.

You never know what Intensity you need to be playing at to open these until you see them. After the completing the chapter but not being able to get to the special loot hidden behind these doors, it’s hard not to want to repeat the stage, upping the risk, to get your hands on it. And there is risk. If you set the Intensity high, you’ll need to wager Hearts (your currency in this game). If you die, you lose those hearts, and are knocked down 1.0 Intensity levels. This means if there is a gate labelled 7, and you set the Intensity to 7 at the beginning, you must reach that gate without dying, or the Intensity will have dropped. Thank you for this awesome system Sakurai and co! I’ve played the first chapter 5 or 6 times now, sometimes just to see what Intensity I can handle. (It’s about 7.0!)

After roughly seven minutes of the ground battle, you come to the boss. I found these rather easy. On Intensity 6.0, most of them are pummelled beyond belief in less than two minutes. In other words, dead. But still, they’re fun, and some take multiple attempts. (Mostly because of the damage you’ve already taken that chapter. Looking at YOU, Heads of the Hewdraw!) But if you make it through the rest on a high difficulty level, the bosses are all a challenge. I recommend deliberately drawing them out as you will hear the characters tell a lot more of the backstory. It’s heart wrenching to defeat a boss just as Palutena’s telling you some captivating secret that you were busting to hear all along, just to hear it cut short by Pit’s cry of “Victory!”.

Outside of the Solo adventure (and niggles), there are a lot of modes to choose from. On the cool menu, which you can muck up by dragging the options around, a variety of sub-menus, and sub-sub-menus, and even more can be accessed. StreetPass allows you to swap weapons with fellow Uprising players. The Vault lets you view your “stuff”, like music, idols and records. The idols are pretty cool, viewable in the AR viewer, or just as animated 3D model you can fully explore. (Although it stops you from doing anything NAUGHTY. The game stops you from angling the camera from underneath certain idols. Like Palutena.) The AR cards take a bit of loading time, but they are really entertaining, and battling various characters to see who will win is fun. By the way, a Monoeye beats basic Pit, so it’s a little odd. (You still can’t angle the camera underneath people. Bad person.)

One mode is Together, which lets you play online. It’s frantic, frenetic action, with everyone whacking anything that moves. But if you calm down, there is some strategy that can be employed. You can gain items and powers here, and take them into Solo, and vice versa. Balance your powers to have the best chance of winning a battle. In Free-for-All, you only gain points for striking the finishing blow when battling somebody. In Light Vs Dark, every bit counts. I won’t explain it all here, but go to the official website to discover more.

The music. It’s grand and orchestral, although some is 8-bit, echoing the original. Some has a very Greek ring to it, like Dark Pit’s theme. I love the inbuilt music player, too. You’re able to listen to any (unlocked) track whenever you like.

Now I’m able to do things I never thought I’d be able to at the start. The Intensity level just goes up and up, and the loot pile follows suit. But you’ll never finish this game. It just keeps on giving, even after the 100% completion mark.



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