The game's got angelic multiplayer and even more things to collect.
Yesterday, I had another chance to take Kid Icarus: Uprising for a spin. This time, the focus was on multiplayer and weapon fusion.
Multiplayer battles consist of six players, and CPUs fill in when there are not enough players. The game supports local and Wi-Fi multiplayer, and matches are either every man for himself Free-for-All or a three-on-three Dark vs. Light team battle. In the team battle, the team shares a collective life meter. When this meter is extinguished, one player becomes an angel. The opposing team must take out the angel to win, so it's up to the other two players to protect him/her. You can opt to switch sides before each battle, as long as somebody from the other team also wants to switch. There are at least eight stages, each with unique multi-tiered layouts (no Smash Bros. Brawl Battlefield clones here).
You can set up 16 saved configurations of weapons and powers, or you can have the game give you a random combination. The collection of slow and fast, long and short-ranged weapons can make a big difference in your battle style. You can practice your weapon while you wait for the match to start. Each match has bonus items or weapons awarded at the end, which when collected, also become available in the single player game.
Due to the short and long range weaponry and the variety of weapon types, you can design your own strategies anywhere from hiding out and sniping to rushing in headlong to take on people directly. The battles I played were fast-paced, and the action can get intense in close quarters especially when players become proficient at defending and evading. Throw in all sorts of items like bombs, elemental and poison effects, and even a floating Medusa head that turns people into stone, and things can get pretty crazy.
Once you get proficient at the controls, you can start using the special powers, such as the Mega Laser. One particularly interesting power is one where you fake death and then turn invisible, where you can continue your attacks. There are some goofy items too, like one that turns you into a shrimp tempura. Despite some fairly large arenas, there's often a lot of stuff going on, and I experienced slow down at one point when all six of us were in the same area and multiple special attacks were activated.
I mentioned last time how there are a ridiculous number of weapons in the game, but Sakurai's taken it up another notch with the weapon fusion system. Pairs of weapons can be fused, which will combine some of their stats. Each pair of weapon types becomes another weapon type, and you cannot fuse two of the same weapon. You can only fuse weapons to create those you have collected before (you're just going for better stats). Aside from specific stats, each weapon is given a basic score. This score comes into play in multiplayer because it is related to how many points opponents gain for killing you and how much is taken from the collective life bar in Dark vs. Light mode. Thus, carrying better weapons into battle carries a certain risk. One of the Nintendo reps mentioned how he's spent hours just trying to come up with the best weapon combos, and I believe it.
The game includes a StreetPass feature where you can share weapons by creating a gem. When you collect gems from others, you can see some of their game stats along with the gem. You can convert these gems into weapons directly by paying hearts or you can pay to fuse two gems directly into a weapon, which is cheaper overall. For crappy weapons, you can also just directly grind them down into hearts. Unlike the description in the patent, you get to keep use of your weapon even when broadcasting it as a gem.
I also got to try out the Circle Pad Pro. The left-handed controls work as you would expect, and work automatically when the device is attached to the 3DS. Thus, you can switch between left and right-handed controls, and even attach or remove the 3DS from the cradle in the middle of gameplay. The only strange detail is that the left-handed control uses the ZR trigger, not R, while the right-handed control can still only use the L button to fire, not ZL.
Though it may take a short period of adjustment, I do still think that the Circle Pad + stylus control option is better than a dual analog scheme. Flinging and tapping with the stylus allows quicker and more precise movements.
Sora's thrown a ton of stuff into Kid Icarus: Uprising, creating both solid single and multiplayer experiences. The weapon system is kind of like a Pokemon game (or Dragon Quest Monsters) in and of itself where you've gotta collect them all. Despite all of this content, there are still aspects of the game that haven't been shown yet!