Preview: Kid Icarus: Uprising

Dear Readers,

Cast your minds back to E3 2010, after a disappointing showing the year before, it’s safe to say Nintendo stole the show. We had new Kirby, new Donkey Kong and a brand new console, the Nintendo 3DS.

The unveiling of the 3DS wasn’t necessarily the thing that grabbed the headlines – rumours of a 3D enabled DS were rife, days, even weeks before Nintendo’s keynote at the event. But what did get the whole games industry talking was just how advanced and powerful the 3DS claimed to be. We were treated to stunning visuals, a ton of functions and, most importantly, NO FRIEND CODES!! Yay!

But what was perhaps even more impressive was the support the console had already received from developers and publishers. The list was simply a who’s who in the gaming industry, with likes of “Mr Metal Gear Solid”, Hideo Kojima and and “Mr Resident Evil”, Keiji Inafune, already proclaiming just how revolutionary the 3DS will be.

And that wasn’t all, to coincide with the unveiling of the 3DS, Nintendo also gave us a glimpse of the first of many flagship games to come out on the 3DS, Kid Icarus: Uprising.

Not only was the game a huge announcement due to the fact that it was the first official game announced for the 3DS, and for years Nintendo fans were waiting for Pit’s next adventure, but the enormity of the reveal was made even bigger by just how incredible the game looked.

Fans were treated to some beautiful visuals as well as some intense, fast paced action, definitely the way to make a great first impression.

Nearly one year on, at 2011′s West Midlands MCM Expo, I was lucky enough to get some hands-on time with the game, and whilst the hype surrounding KI: Uprising has been somewhat overshadowed by the interest in the release of the 3DS, KI: Uprising marks make or break time for one of Nintendo’s most under used mascots.

Kid Icarus is simply beautiful

As you would come to expect of a game developed and published by Nintendo themselves, Kid Icarus: Uprising is an incredibly slick production. It’s vibrant, euphoric and gorgeous, a game that really demonstrates just how powerful the 3DS actually is. Whether you’re taking to the skies, being blessed by visions of the gods, or battling on the ground, the world around Pit has been stunningly realised and extremely impressive for a hand-held game, which are known for their low-fi, low power, graphics.

Of course, being the first “big” game announced for the 3DS, the 3D graphics in KI: Uprising are brilliant, and go a long way towards making playing the game a breathtaking experience. The sense of depth perfectly compliments its Space Harrier style, 3rd person, rail shooter gameplay, which has replaced the platforming type gameplay of the previous games. Enemies fly towards you and as you zoom about the screen, the 3D adjusts perfectly with your movements, extremely impressive.

Unfortunately though, the game’s overall gameplay (which feels a bit button-bashy at times), is somewhat hampered by the game’s awkward and frustrating camera controls. Moving Pit around the screen is fast, fluid and seamless, but when it comes to altering the camera angle to look left, right, up or down, simply put.. it’s a nightmare.

Adjusting the camera can be a real pain

Rather than make use of the d-pad or brand new circle pad control to adjust the camera (which would’ve made more sense as they are situated in ideal locations on the 3DS to perform such a task), players are instead required to swipe the touch screen instead. This means that the player has to take their hand off the side of the hand-held, sacrificing either shooting or moving for a few seconds, in order to change the camera angle. The whole thing is awkward and an inconvenience that is very reminiscent of playing a terrible game on the iPhone (or iPod Touch). It’s unintuitive, uncomfortable and completely detracts from the smooth, fluidity of the game’s core gameplay.

With several months before the release of Kid Icarus: Uprising, Nintendo have plenty of time to address the problems plaguing the game and once/if they do, Kid Icarus: Uprising is definitely going to live up to the hype that’s surrounded the game since it’s unveiling nearly a year ago. It’s stunning, fun and incredibly slick.

-Kieran Roycroft

Wed, March 2 2011 » 3DS, Previews

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