Kid Icarus has been out for a while now, and as I'm sure anyone who's played it knows, there's a multiplayer mode packed in with the game called Light vs. Dark - essentially, a 3-on-3 brawl to deplete a team's life meter by defeating its players repeatedly, with the last player to perish as the meter hits empty getting to respawn as Pit or Dark Pit. Whoever defeats their opposing team's angel first wins
Despite its simplicity however, a lot of people are being drawn into this mode - and I'm certainly one of them. Whereas it initially looks like a shotspam fest of the greatest proportions on the outside, what's on the inside is a lot more surprising than one might imagine. A lot of thought goes into the pre-game, plenty into the game
itself as it's going full speed ahead, and surprisingly enough, there's still even more to think about in the post game! These aspects of multiplayer and such a system used are so surprising that myself and many others are now desperately hoping that Nintendo takes a handful of pages from Sakurai here in the world of Multiplayer!
See, one of the things that really makes multiplayer shine is the weapon diversity. Swords, Claws, Clubs, Axes, Staves, Orbitars, Palms, Cannons, Arms, Bows... and on top of that, it's just not 'one weapon type with a little changes between them'. Ohhhhh no. Each of these weapons has its own skin, its own animations for shots fired, intrinsic properties
and random attributes, shot physics, melee and ranged strength(you can have a melee weapon with high shot power and low melee power, for example) - each of these play a major, major part in what you want in your hands as the match starts up.
But that's not all. There's also a power system, where Powers of various levels(higher levels mean more uses) are placed into a tetris-like grid, meaning that extremely effective or powerful
ones will require more space overall than the weaker ones, and you've room to rotate them accordingly and try to find the best possible spread and fit for the powers that you've got. Powers include ones like the popular Mega Laser, which fires a map-wide, super huge laser wherever you're aiming, Transparency, which turns you invisible for a short while, Bumblebee, which puts you in an autododge state for a while and makes you circle behind enemies(perfect for claw users!) and Slip Shot, which lets you fire through walls!
There are plenty of arenas to fight on, but the real meat of the matter is the combat. Playing out as the Ground Battle from the main game, you will quickly
realize that each weapon has its own stamina pool and runspeed, meaning that slower, stronger weapons will require a lot more work to cover the map but will be devastating once within range. You'll have to think on the fly, preparing powers to be used as soon as possible, switching between powers to activate multiple ones at the same time, keeping a lock on your opponent and switching between melee and ranged as need be to better handle your assailants.
This is all relatively simple stuff as far as discussion goes, however. But see, this is some seriously strong multiplayer on a Nintendo
device of an almost shooter variety... and that's something barely anyone would've been expecting. And above all else - it's good. Really, really good. To be sure, there's definitely a time where you have to get into the controls, but beyond that, you can really lose yourself in LvD like I have, and I couldn't help but imagine... Project Sora hit the mark with this Multiplayer. Hard. And with the rise of the WiiU coming soon upon us, with promises of a higher, better internet infrastructure, a whole load of possibilities are opening up to developers and especially Nintendo.
Nintendo Multiplayer has usually been more lighthearted for the most part in first-party games
outside of Smash Brothers. But with what we've just been given with Kid Icarus Uprising, perhaps it's the start of something more, or the presence of something powerful - untapped potential with this high-energy, high-skill multiplayer. Mario Party's always been equal parts luck and skill... Brawl -definitely- was a slowdown from Melee(although it was still great!)... and perhaps now it's finally time to pick up the Multiplayer pace with first-party games where applicable.
If the Retro Studios Star Fox thing pans out, can you -imagine- 4v4 seamless dogfights? Barrel Rolling at highspeeds to avoid shots from a Landmaster unit while your Arwing buddies flank it? With ship customization, large, vivid maps, increased ship speed
and multiple firing types? If the F-Zero rumor is true, even more course variations with thorough ship customization, where skill plays a big part in the race time and not just the path you choose, meaning you don't have to stick to just one road to get the quickest time, all while using your enhanced parts to coast easier, boost an extra time, get a little more oomph outta the shield recharge.
I'm just saying that with this fast-paced, easy on the outside and deep on the inside multiplayer of KI:U, I've got a much, MUCH brighter outlook regarding the future of Nintendo multiplayer, and I can only hope it comes true. Multiplayer these days often tends to feel just tacked on as if they just feel it needs to be there, and expanding it like they did with Kid Icarus could result in some of the most action packed Multiplayer modes ever.
What do you think about Nintendo Multiplayer, fellow readers? Think it needs a lot more attention than before, harkening back to the N64 days in terms of packed content in order to accompany the vastly superior-to-Wii netcode? Or do you prefer things simplistic?
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