It has been over two years since Kid Icarus: Uprising was released, a game which managed to stun and amaze gamers across the globe. Although not without a faults, the game was received well beyond what others could imagine, but it could stand the test of time and still carry that impact years later?
For many years I contemplated buying Kid Icarus; I heard it was amazing, but I couldn’t quite justify buying a game that was still the same price as it was two years ago – typical Nintendo. But then a code for the game crossed my path and I so I decided to strike while I had the chance.
The story of Kid Icarus is as colourful as its presentation, sporting a variety of creative characters and witty dialogue that adds fuel to the pyre of enjoyment. Pit, an angel who cannot fly, is tasked with saving the human world from the destructive and vindictive Medusa. Lady Palutena, the Goddess of Light and Pit’s patron deity, aids him in his journey by giving him the power of flight. The story quickly changes and morphs into a gigantic struggle between Gods, with some light-hearted and humorous moments to balance it out. Along the way, Pit encounters various characters from Greek Mythology, such Hades, Cerberus, the Kraken and Pandora. As a massive fan of the mythology myself, I was happy to see certain aspects of it moulded into a unique, funny and tightly focused story.
Many of the characters aren’t from the mythology, but you can identify their roots. Each character, even the bosses, are unique and very entertaining. What’s even more entertaining is how the story blends in with the action. The game has a massive script and plenty of dialogue, but instead of leaving the chatty bits to cut scenes, it’s intertwined while you’re fighting. I usually find this to be quite distracting in most games but it works so beautifully in this one. The game reminds you of what to do and where to go in such a subtle way, by using the dialogue as its medium. It also helps that the voice acting is top notch and that not one character is an ear sore. There’s also plenty of genuine comedic relief in this game, particularly between the Gods and Pit. The dialogue regarding other characters, like the bickering three-headed Hewdraw, Thanatos and Pitoo (a clone of Pit) will also put a smile on your face.
As much as I enjoyed listening to the Gods crack jokes and squabble amongst each other, what struck out at me the most was how beautiful the game looked. Even with today’s standard – though the game isn’t that old – it can hold its own among many new 3DS titles. And what’s even more striking is how great the game looks when playing it in 3D, especially during the flight sections. For the most part, each level in the game is divided into three segments: A flying section, a land section and a boss section. The flying section is by far my favourite. While the controls aren’t a lot better (more on that in a bit), there’s no camera to contend with. When you’re on the ground you have to move, shoot, aim and control the camera which makes land battles a lot more frustrating. Fortunately, the bosses are fun to fight and they look great as well. A few of the enemy character models are a bit dated, but nothing that you can’t overlook, especially when you’re shooting them in 3D mode.
The one part of the game I did not enjoy was the control system. It’s dreadfully uncomfortable and makes playing the game a bit of a chore at times. While the moving and shooting is fine (L shoulder button to shoot and circle pad to move), it’s the aiming, or moving the camera, that’s an absolute nightmare. Since my game was a download I didn’t have any additional equipment (that comes with the physical retail version) to make aiming in this game easier, so I had to rough it out – and my left palm paid the price. You aim by moving the stylus across the touchpad. This wouldn’t be bad if you could leave the 3DS on the table, but since you need to press the L shoulder button, you have to pick it up. This forces you to put your left hand into an uncomfortable position which allows you to hold the 3DS, shoot with the L button and move with the circle pad. Trust me when I say this: you do not want to lose your stylus, the game gets even harder if you have to use your fingers.
Though there is the one hiccup, Kid Icarus Uprising is definitely a game that every 3DS owner should own and play. Although I still find it hard to justify the price tag, knowing what I know now, I wouldn’t feel short-changed if I bought it at full price instead of a buying a brand new game.