Tuesday, 10 April 2012

Kid Icarus: Uprising - 3DS Multiplayer Heaven

There are few things more satisfying than eliminating opponents that have an honest to god human being controlling them. This is partly due to the fact that human players are much less predictable, and therefore more challenging...and screams of frustration from your opponent are always a motivating reason to play as well. 

Many of the games we play cater to our increasing need to play video games against others. Nowadays, most titles on Xbox 360 and on Playstation 3 give us at least a small amount of multiplayer capabilities, and some of these games would barely leave the shelves if it wasn't for this portion of the game. (Call of Duty and Battlefield are probably the best examples here.)

Nintendo has always been one of those console companies that seemed to steer clear of any form of competitive multiplayer whatsoever...and to be honest, I have always found their consoles seriously lacking due to this.

I'm not the biggest fan of Kart racers, and I've never been as big on Pokemon as I was on Fast-paced First Person Shooters like Quake 3 and Unreal Tournament. I realize that the the "chalk and cheese" metaphor probably applies to my last statement, but the truth behind this is that Nintendo has never really had a title that appeals to a hardcore multiplayer fan like myself.

Until now!!! 

When I received my copy of Kid Icarus: Uprising on Nintendo 3DS, I had only one thing I was interested in - the multiplayer, and after watching the video clips available on the Nintendo E-shop previously, I began to get the feeling that Nintendo had something  a little more interesting in mind when they created this sequel to the original Kid Icarus. The original was a a typical side-scrolling platform shooter, whereas I could see immediately that this anything but.

Please note as well that I still have not touched on the single player aspects of the game. Once I popped the cartridge into the 3DS, I jumped into the multiplayer without a single glance at the single player campaign.

What brings me to the point of writing this article (and not necessarily giving a full review) is that this portion of the game makes it worthwhile to write about, and to be very honest...if that was all that was offered, it would make a superb game on its own. 

Firstly, the amount of weapons available are astounding. There are 8 different types of weapons in the game (Bows, Blades,Claws, Orbitars, Arms, Palms, Cannons, Staffs and Clubs) with several different versions of each (10 or 11 depending on which type), all providing their own unique attacks.  That makes a rough total of approximately 80 weapons to choose from.

Attacks are varied and vastly different to each other at times, with each weapon having Ranged and Melee capabilities. Each weapon on its own has several different attacks to play around with depending on whether you're stationary, Dashing in a specific direction, allowing the weapon to charge or auto-firing.

To make the selection even more varied, the weapons themselves often come with modifiers to add specific effects, such as poison, flame damage, added ranged or melee damage and an increase in health.

Weapons can be combined to create a different weapon (from the available set of 80+) which will then have a combination of the modifiers of those two weapons.

There are also two types of power-ups. Ones that are equipped before the start of the match, and match power-ups picked up for immediate use in the middle of battle. 

The Control system does take some getting used to, with the Circle Pad being used for movement, the touch screen for aiming and the L button for firing.

Uncomfortable at times, Nintendo has been kind enough to include a foldable stand for use with the game, but this only minimizes discomfort and doesn't really eliminate it entirely. Long periods of time playing the game will become slightly painful, and a purchase of the circle pad peripheral for you right hand will most probably save you a cramp here or there.

However, this is only really a problem due to the games highly addictive nature and difficulty in actually putting the game down.

There are only 2 modes in the multiplayer portion of the game, where up to 6 people can play Online or via Local play.

The first is "Free For All" and for those not familiar with this standardized mode of gameplay, it means that it's you versus every other player and vice versa. Loads of fun and can get a bit crazy.

The second mode of gameplay is "Light vs Dark", splitting the 6 players up into two teams. If a team member is unavailable, he's replaced by an AI opponent.

The mode consists of a 3 vs 3 match (similar to Team Deathmatch). A team life bar is shown at the bottom for each team, and when depleted will transform you or one of your team mates into "Pit" or "Dark Pit" (depending on which side you're on - Light or Dark). Pit / Dark Pit has a higher defence and more health, so can be formidable in battle.

However, the match is only won when one of the Angels is eliminated, which means that the best chance of winning is to protect your Angel whilst attacking theirs.

Both Game modes provide you with prizes at the end of the match, in the form of weapons and power-ups.

With 9 different maps to choose from, and several interesting features on each map (such as Rail-slides, Vehicles etc.) there is a large amount of variety within the games multiplayer mode.

While I must admit that I was originally skeptical of Nintendo following through with a game like this, I am definitely MORE than impressed, and even though it gives its own unique style and charm I'll go so far as to compare aspects of it with other games below.

The Weapon selection - Borderlands
Power-ups - Combination of Super Smash Bros and Halo
Arenas / Maps - Combination of Quake 3, Halo and Tribes
Intensity of Gameplay - Quake 3 / Unreal Tournament

For any 3DS owner who enjoys competitive multiplayer, this is definitely the game for you. What Nintendo has managed to do with this game is astounding and needs to be seen to be believed.

9.5 / 10

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