Electronic Theatre In-depth Review: Kid Icarus: Uprising

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Originally unveiled alongside the Nintendo 3DS system itself, Kid Icarus: Uprising has been a long time coming. The rebirth of a long dormant series is not something which a publisher like Nintendo takes lightly, even more so when it’s one of the most prominent titles in the line-up for a new piece of hardware. But with Masahiro Sakurai, the designer responsible for the Super Smash Bros. series, at the helm, Nintendo were right to allow the team to achieve their goals.

Kid Icarus: Uprising is a 3D rendition of the franchise as perhaps only it could be nineteen years after the last instalment, with the gameplay honouring that of the original releases but almost entirely removed in terms of genre. Electronic Theatre ImageJust as with Team NINJA’s revision of the Ninja Gaiden series between 8-bit and Xbox, or even the leap into 3D presented by Super Mario 64 way back in 1996, Kid Icarus: Uprising is a wholly modern title built for new hardware which reflects on it’s subject matter, as opposed to being confined to it.

Games will once again take-up the reins of young Pit as he battles against the forces of a reborn Medusa, who now seeks to destroy mankind. With Palutena’s aid, Pit gains the power of flight to travel the skies and fight the Underworld Army. However, whilst dealing with Medusa’s forces and a doppelganger of himself called Dark Pit, our hero finds that not all is quite what it seems, with even greater powers yet to reveal themselves.

Kid Icarus: Uprising plays very similarly to Yar’s Revenge. In fact, was it not for the fact that Kid Icarus: Uprising was announced prior to the release of the digitally distributed revamp. Yar’s Revenge, you’d wonder if Atari’s own franchise rebirth wasn’t a direct influence on the approach taken for Nintendo’s angelic revival. The Electronic Theatre Imagedifference between the two titles is in the quality of the design, with Kid Icarus: Uprising undoubtedly blessed with a bigger budget, bigger team, and better chance of getting it right.

The player controls their movement around the 2D plane in front of the camera with the analogue slider, and the targeting reticule on the top screen via the touchscreen below. There is no depth control on the flying stages; instead Kid Icarus: Uprising performs just as you would expect a modern Space Harrier to do so, very similarly to such sequences in Bayonetta. Accompanying these air combat sequences are some more traditional ground based stages. The control scheme remains largely the same here, aside from a small compensation made in the fact that reticule control is substituted for the camera, though the player is now in command of the angle at which Pit travels as opposed to simply the position on the screen as he travels automatically.

While clearly built for anyone to learn the basics swiftly, Kid Icarus: Uprising does develop its own style of challenging gameplay fairly quickly. What’s more, those wanting a specific challenge can increase the difficultyElectronic Theatre Image by offering up more of their collected hearts before entering a stage, subsequently increasing the availability of awards. Adding to the level of customisation available, players can unlock new weapons in one of nine new categories, each with unique statistical bonuses. Kid Icarus: Uprising also features a Powers system, which is very interesting in its delivery. A grid like mechanic allows players to equip as many powers as they can fit within limitation like a jigsaw, with more useful powers taking up a greater amount of space on the grid. Comparable to the inventory in Resident Evil 4, it challenges players to mix-up their powers, equipping what is necessary for the task at hand before those which will patch over their tactical weaknesses.

From a technical standpoint Kid Icarus: Uprising clearly isn’t pushing the Nintendo 3DS hardware to its limit, but it is one of the finest arguments for the strengths of stereoscopic 3D gameplay that we have yet seen on the system. It’s arguably those titles in which perspective plays a large part in the gameplay that stereoscopic 3D design makes all the difference – the likes of Mario Kart 7 and here inElectronic Theatre Image Kid Icarus: Uprising proving to have greater use of the technology than the likes of Rabbids 3D or Shinobi, where it is merely windows dressing – and of course, when enemies line-up in the distance for a sudden assault, the less time it takes to analyse the most immediate threat the better your chances of survival.

After what appears to be the most lengthy development cycle of any Nintendo 3DS title to date, Kid Icarus: Uprising has come to market in top form. It’s the Metroid Prime: Hunters of the Nintendo 3DS system, showcasing just how the new technology can be used to benefit existing videogame genres, and that despite the lesser horsepower than it’s competitors Nintendo’s handheld system can compete on an equal footing when it comes to inventive design. Kid Icarus: Uprising is one of the main reasons Nintendo fans flocked to pick-up the Nintendo 3DS system at launch, and now it’s finally here it offers proof that their purchase was not in vain.

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