This game is going to flop, and it’s your fault. Nintendo knows Kid Icarus: Uprising will be a tough sell, and they’ve already started a heavy advertising campaign for the game – spanning several trailers, 8 page magazine articles, hundreds of screenshots, and multiple Twitter accounts. It took the spotlight in the recent Nintendo Direct, with lengthy coverage explaining all the games features in great detail, and recently featured in Iwata Asks. There’s even going to be a special tournament event across America before the game launches, and it’s taking center stage at every event Nintendo shows up to. Why is it so important this game does well? The team developing Kid Icarus: Uprising have put the new Super Smash Bros. on hold to make this – that’s why.
Sora are pouring their heart and soul into every aspect of this game. Originally speculated as a launch game for 3DS, it’s now been over a year since the systems launch and Kid Icarus: Uprising is finally ready. It’s got an arse load of stages, a STUPID amount of custom weapons and items, and every mode under the sun including online multiplayer, StreetPass and AR Card functionality. It even comes with a stand, just in case you feel slightly uncomfortable while playing it over long sessions. They have every angle covered, so why is this a recipe for disaster? What’s wrong with the game, if it’s going to be so awesome?
It takes effort to play. Sin & Punishment could have twenty million levels, and still sell the same amount of copies because the target audience is so small. Nobody is interested – the genre is intimidating. Shooting, moving, action, that’s what people love right? 20 million people bought Modern Warfare! Well this game couldn’t be more different; Modern Warfare plays itself, and treats the player like an idiot with its guided tours disguised as levels, text popups all over the screen, and aids for everything under the sun. You don’t even have to aim. Kid Icarus asks YOU to move, shoot, dodge. You can’t watch it, if you just stand there you won’t see anything awesome happen.
The market for games like this is dwindling. Skyward Sword barely even made a dent in gamers wallets last year, people hated the fact they had to interact with it. When a Zelda game comes out, and barely wins any GOTY awards or cracks the top 10 in sales charts, something is wrong. Skyward Sword is no more intimidating than classic games like the first Legend of Zelda – the problem is how gamers these days are being trained. Why should we have to control “movement” and “accuracy”, when we can just press X at the right time and watch the game do everything for us? Games are smart now! Lengthy tutorials, cutscene-heavy sequences and guided experiences are becoming the norm. The western gaming media is fueling this and rewarding developers who tick all these boxes to get good reviews, and that’s why it’s become a trend. To be fair, shoot-em-ups never really had much success in any time period of gaming, but this game could be a golden opportunity to shine some light on the whole genre and get it into the public eye.
Kid Icarus: Uprising’s biggest strength is also it’s biggest weakness – it could be too much of a videogame for its own good. It pulls the “fear” strings of a new-age gamer, who demands instant satisfaction for doing nothing. I think the best hope this game has is the Mario Kart / Super Smash Bros. crowd, in the same way people took to Goldeneye 64. The new multiplayer aspect of Kid Icarus could be the key. If Nintendo can succeed in putting this game in peoples hands, I’d consider it not just a relief for Nintendo, but a boost for the gaming industry as a whole. It will open up new thought patterns and introduce a lot more games to people’s radars if this style of play becomes more “familiar”. More importantly, it will show developers how much good content and gameplay matters.
How much DOES it matter? Are you buying Kid Icarus: Uprising? Who’s CRAZY enough to risk cramping their hands?