One Concern with Kid Icarus Uprising; How is the game going to be balanced?
Because let’s face it, Nintendo’s never been a company that’s been very good at balance in competitive games, and Mario Kart, Smash Bros and Pokemon have ended up so broken as to be nearly ridiculous. And with Kid Icarus Uprising seemingly aiming to be a Super Smash Bros level free for all fighting/shooting/online multiplayer focused game, I have to wonder how it’s going to avoid these two problems:
1. One weapon/item/character being so overpowered as to be near enough impossible to counter
With the hundreds of the possible weapon combinations due to being able to unlock different types, plus the many ways you can fuse them, I have to wonder how Nintendo plans to make sure no one combination is overpowered to the point of making all others redundant.
Pokemon fell straight into this problem (see Garchomp in Diamond and Peal, Wobbuffet in earlier gens and dream world abilities in Black and White), and Super Smash Bros Brawl’s tier list is well known (and what do you know, Meta Knight turned out to be so good he ended up in his own tier and banned from some tournaments).
I just really worry that we’ll see someone find some ‘best’ combination of weapons to fuse together and end up with everyone using the same stuff, limiting the variety of the game. Like how in Mario Kart Wii, it ended up being more like ‘Funky Bowser Bike Wii’ given how little variety there was online.
2. The game falling prey to tons of glitches due to all the weird things the items can do
Anyone who’s played Mario Kart online or ever checked out Metroid Prime Hunters should know exactly what I mean by this. Complicated games with a ton of content and game mechanics are practically impossible to thoroughly playtest prior to the game’s release, and all the titles mentioned have near enough been rendered unplayable due to glitch abuse.
When you add to that how many issues were found in Super Smash Bros games, and how many glitches and game engine quirks were only discovered by accident months or years later, I have to wonder if the exact same problem is going to destroy Kid Icarus Uprising’s online modes as well.
How long before people realising combining certain weapons lets you go out of bounds, through walls or just end up invulnerable to damage? Or that the collision detection on this wall doesn’t work too well, or that you can somehow go up walls like Mushroom Gorge in Mario Kart Wii:
It’s even worse considering that unlike Smash Bros Kid Icarus is a 3D game, because that’s another literal dimension of gameplay that has to be tested and opens up nearly infinite possibilities for things to go wrong. And like with any popular game, they will go wrong eventually.
More worrying is that many of the bugs in recent games haven’t exactly been hard to find, like the Wuhu Mountain Loop glitch or that glitch in Mario Kart DS’s Luigi’s Mansion where just turning on the steps crashes the game.
3. Might it be too chaotic to be a skill based game?
Kind of the reverse of the first possible problem, but that’s something else I worry. Look at Mario Kart 7. About two months in and it seems about half its audience have got bored of it due to the lack of strategy required to win, and the fact the luck element seems to have made any real player skill useless outside of time trials.
And Kid Icarus Uprising has about ten times the amount of random things and variety of Mario Kart 7, with god knows how many weapons, abilities, magic spells and other things that can change the tide of a match. And like both Brawl and Mario Kart, different stages seem to be in complete with their own localised area hazards. That’s an awful lot of things that could end up taking the win from a more skilled player by pure chance, don’t you think?
Not to mention the inevitable issue of lag, which has wrecked many an online Wii or 3DS game. I think Brawl actually stopped the game if there was a sufficient amount of it, but Mario Kart became even more luck based than usual when people were appearing to teleport and your own items randomly hit you in the face. I really hope we don’t get the chaos of Mario Kart 7’s online and lag in this game, I’d dread to be in a match with both players with bad internet connections and lightning/meteors raining down from the sky, I’d barely know what the heck hit me!
Still, Kid Icarus Uprising does look like it’ll be a truly fantastic game, but I can’t be the only one worried that many of the problems found in other online 3DS/Wii/DS games could also be in this one and take some of the enjoyment out of it. What do you think?