Icarus: Uprising was first announced as a 3DS launch title back at E3 2010, we haven't
seen much of the Pit's long-awaited, slightly delayed adventure. Until now,
that is – we recently got a chance to sit down with Uprising for a good two
hours and check out several chapters of the game in their entirety.
Much ado has
been made about Uprising's potentially awkward controls, but they're actually
quite simple. To recap the basics: you control Pit's movement with the analog
slider, aim your weapon with the stylus, and attack/fire with the left bumper. The
tricky part is figuring out how to keep your thumb on the analog pad and your
stylus poised on the lower screen in a way that's comfortable for you. It took
a few small adjustments, but we quickly figured out how to make it work.
Say what you
will about the new stand peripheral, but it actually works great with Kid
Icarus. With the 3DS resting firmly on its shelf, the stand feels totally solid
and stable, and the angle is just right for playing at a desk or table. Left-handed
players should definitely consider investing in a Circle Pad Pro to avoid the
awkwardness of using the stylus in the right hand though, but based on how the
Circle Pad Pro attaches to the 3DS, it looks like the two peripherals aren't
compatible. So even though lefties will have to choose between the comfort of
the stand and the comfort of using the right slider pad, it's still nice that
Nintendo is actually thinking of us by including the support for both control
we played began with a short-ish aerial segment followed by a longer on-foot
segment, so that seems to be the typical formula for each level. The aerial
parts are like an on-rails shooter where you can move Pit around the frame
using the slider but can't control the camera or Pit's speed through the air.
Constant movement is key to dodge enemy attacks too, since they'll target Pit
quickly if he stays in one place too long.
part of each level is a little more complex. With Pit grounded, you now have
full control of the camera, and you can swing it around quickly by flicking the
stylus and then tapping to stop, which comes in handy when multiple enemies are
flanking you. Pit also has dodging/strafing move and a forward charge attack
that some enemies are particularly vulnerable to, and we learned quickly that
not all enemies can be taken down with long-range attacks (metroids in particular
need to be taken out with melee attacks).
we played had an initial encounter with a boss during the flying portion of the
level that culminated in a final showdown at the end of the ground section. Out
of the three bosses we saw, the three-headed dragon Hewdraw was our favorite,
whose primary head sassily thanked us for dispatching of his two other heads
before we put him down for good. In a particularly cool aerial moment, we
swooped down from the air to run across his scaly back for a sneak attack. RIP
eight weapon categories – blade, bow, cannon, claws and so on – and each has
its pros and cons. Each weapon has both a melee and a ranged attack (the left
bumper triggers one or the other depending on your proximity to the enemy), and
some weapons are better at close quarters combat while others excel at long
range attacks. Pit can also equip a variety of special abilities at the start
of each chapter, like limited-use weapons (mega laser, angelic missile) or
emergency health recovery. It takes some experimentation to see which loadouts
are most effective in each chapter, so it's worth replaying with different
equipment to see what works best.
of replayability, you can set the difficulty level on a long sliding scale at
the beginning of each chapter, which strongly affects how each level plays. The
harder the difficulty you select, the better weapon drops you'll get, so
there's an incentive to push yourself as much as possible.
just select any difficulty with no penalty though – adjusting the difficulty up
or down from the standard setting will cost you some hearts, which are the universal
in-game currency. Decreasing the difficulty will cost you a few hearts
depending on how far down you go, but increasing the difficulty is more like a
bet – wager some hearts, and if you complete the chapter sucessfully you get
your hearts back and then some, but if you die you lose them. During our demo
we replayed one of the earlier stages with the difficulty ramped up
substantially, and we definitely noticed a huge difference.
To top it off,
Kid Icarus: Uprising looks absolutely gorgeous too. Some of the aerial
landscape shots as Pit soars over each level are rather breathtaking, and
easily some of the prettiest stuff we've seen on 3DS. Look for more info on
Uprising as we get closer to its March 23 release.