I hope you’re not sickarus of hearing about Kid Icarus
So like Ray, I’m going to weigh in on Pit’s big 3DS debut, even though I didn’t buy it. Unlike Ray though, I didn’t walk away from Kid Icarus Uprising because I don’t want it, but because I have to be “careful” with my money because I’m a stupid “adult.” Yeah, I’m sure paying my student loans will be a thousand times more fun than shooting hell-monsters out of the sky with the help of a wise-cracking, gun-slinging cherub. Though I agree with Ray that the controls sound rough, I’m still excited to rediscover Angel Land.
Just a couple months ago, I expressed my own doubts about Uprising. It was a really conflicting feeling, because one of the hottest game directors in the biz had picked one of my all-time favorite games out of obscurity and decided to finally give the world a sequel. But on the other hand, it seemed like so many changes had been made, that it was a sequel in name only.
But this is Pit, he’s my boy, and he’s being handled by the guy who created Kirby, Meteos and Super Smash Bros. It’s safe to say Pit’s in capable hands. I decided to be patient, keep an open mind, and just wait for the reviews to come in. Right now Kid Icarus Uprising has an 83 on Metacritic, and famed Japanese game magazine Famitsu gave Uprising a perfect score. Why is that a big deal? Because Famitsu has been around since 1986, and so far has only ever awarded 19 perfect scores. Sites like IGN and Edge aren’t quite as wildly jubilant, but they’re still thoroughly positive, awarding the game an 8.5 and an 8 respectively. Edge said: “Kid Icarus is back, then, and it turns out we did miss him. With Uprising, those Internet petitioners finally have something they can be proud of.”
But like Medusa in the original Kid Icarus there’s a big “but” that’s casting a shadow over Uprising’s launch. The controls. Which is the absolute heart of any video game experience. Graphics, sound, story, that stuff’s all nice, but if the controls are garbage, then the game is doomed. When I found out that I had to hit two buttons to pause Metal Gear Solid: The Twin Snakes I had to fight the urge to put the disc back in the case, take a dump in the case, and throw if off an overpass. I’ve also never given the series another chance. Sorry Snake… I always liked you better in Escape from New York anyway.
And every review I’ve browsed has said the same thing: the controls aren’t super intuitive, and will actually hurt your hand after a while. Nintendo themselves realized playing a 3DS one-handed is going to be a bitch, so they’re packing in a stand to ease the pain.
So your options are to make your portable system not portable, or deal with an uncomfortable control scheme? Apparently so. But the other thing the reviews all say is that it’s fucking worth it.
And even though most reviewers agree adjusting to the default controls is worth the effort, there are a bevvy of other control options available. Different combinations are available for movement and aiming, including the option to map aiming to the face buttons, and support for the circle pad pro for lefties. Sadly, dual analog with the circle pad pro is not an option, but with aiming on the face buttons, we’ve got the next best thing. If anything, face button aiming just reminds me of Jet Force Gemini, Goldeneye and Perfect Dark, and how they used the Nintendo 64 controller’s C-buttons for aiming and strafing… this is definitely a good thing in my book. Why yes, I WOULD like to play this game without a plastic stand or instant carpal tunnel syndrome.
So despite some funky controls, I’m definitely excited to take Uprising for a spin. This is the first I’ve heard about using face buttons to aim instead of the stylus, and that sounds like the next best thing to real circle pad pro support.
In my original Uprising preview back in December I voiced some other concerns. In particular, the characterization and dialog given to Pit. At the time, it seemed like Uprising was going to send Pit further down the obnoxious douche path he started on in Super Smash Bros. Brawl. Needless to say, I was pretty skeptical about Uprising’s focus on banter between characters. I was already annoyed with where they were taking Pit, but now he was going to run his jaw the whole game? Thankfully, I saw this video, which got me pretty damn pumped about Pit’s character, and really the entire game:
There’s some pretty corny dialog, but it’s all delivered earnestly--definite shades of Starfox 64. There’s some fun back-and-forth with Pit and Palutena around the 1:50 mark. The hydra boss Hewdraw now sounds like a New York stereotype for no reason at 2:30. Just a few seconds later we hear from Thanatos (the Greek mythological personification of DEATH ITSELF) who has changed from a flying serpent to a vase full of smoke and bats, who know sounds like Ed Wynn. Dark Pit gets a nice zinger around 3:20.
Does it make sense? Nope. But it’s fun and silly in all the right ways. The original Kid Icarus took place in a version of ancient Greece populated not just by hydras, multi-headed dogs and the Greek gods, but also Metroids, Eggplant Wizards and a living, flying version of this:
So a little insanity isn’t just acceptable, it’s a prerequisite.
And while I do still wish Uprising stayed true to the platforming/dungeon crawling/blasting gameplay threeway the original Kid Icarus pioneered, Uprising looks crazy fun. The fact that it regularly gets compared to a cross between The Legend of Zelda and Starfox makes Uprising sound even more appetizing. Positive comparisons to Sin and Punishment are floating all over the internet as well, and that’s just more good news in my book.
Following the proud tradition established in the last two Smash Bros. games, Uprising is jam packed with cool features and modes of play: there’s a Borderlands-esque number and variety of weapons to find and upgrade, using in-game currency you can pay to make the game easier or more difficult (on higher difficulties, you’re gambling on whether or not you can make it through the level without getting killed), a variety of multiplayer modes including a crazy-looking AR Card battle game (with new cards being released at different promotional events… I got one in my last issue of Game Informer), there are 90 different difficulty levels… there’s actually a ton of other modes and features, but it’s getting late, a lot of the features sound completely batshit bonkers (in a fun way) and I don’t even own this thing… yet. Kotaku has a good review that lays out a lot of the stranger, charming aspects of the game.
I think I’m ready to brave Uprising’s slightly-goofy control scheme to get at this game. Hopefully this isn’t the last we see of Pit… especially if we can get dual analog controls for the sequel.