It's good to have ya back, Pit.
But with the reveal of SSBB and seeing an updated look of our old angel friend, some hoped for a new game. Well finally we got it and so far this is my favorite 3DS game.
First off this has to be the first true first party Nintendo game with competent voice acting. Happy now? Not the "so bad it's funny" of the Starfox series or the "OMG WILL YOU SHUT UP!!" of Metroid: Other M. The banter between Pit and Palutena is actually pretty funny. While they do babble on too much at times, it's rather amusing at the fact they are very self aware and don't take themselves too seriously. The baddies have their share of funny quips like the 3 headed Headraw arguing with itself (reminds me of the 3 headed giant from Holy Grail) and Dark Pit is a ton of fun when he shows up.
Also despite the addition of voice work, this game doesn't bog you down with boring cutscenes. The story is told through dialouge during gameplay and atmosphere of the levels. No sooner do you start but Pit is flying, Medusa is back after 25 years to wreak havoc on the land again and the game is like "Bad guys here. Kill they ass!!
Gameplay stages are broken up in 2 parts. The first part is flying. Pit can fly now or rather Palutena is making him fly and the first half is flying and shooting similar to Starfox. You're on a set path blasting foes and dodging obstacles. The second half lands Pit on the ground fighting in a sort of Devil May Cry type combat of shooting and melee attacks. It even throws in some vehicle sections for good measure. You fight enemies, collect treasures and weapons until you reach the boss. Rinse. Repeat. The levels are smooth and tight and never feel too long or drawn out.
Now to the controls. Now I don't relfexively hate any non traditional control scheme and I figured out the set up within five minutes. You hold down the left trigger to shoot, move with the Dpad and use the stylus to aim. It can be a little wonky on the ground using the stylus to turn the camera but it never felt like a deal breaker for me. It came with this stand I guess to help hold it steady but I've never removed it from the box.
While the gameplay feels like an arcade shooter, it has a lot of depth. You can go back to previous stages and turn up the difficulty to earn more hearts and treasure. You can fuse weapons together for more powerful items, unlock music tracks and character models as well as there's a decent online mulitplayer aspect to keep you busy.
Visually the game is one of the prettiest on the 3DS. The levels have a lot of variety from deserts to mountains to cities to Pandora's Labyrinth which looks like something from the SNES Starfox. Pit's design is taken from his SSBB model along with Dark Pit and Palutena but it's also neat seeing all the old NES baddies reimagined in today's graphics. The 3D effect does fit the game well especially for the flying but for me, my eyes get tired and if you move the 3DS slightly it can get blurry.
Overall, I had some reservations about this game going in. Worried that I wouldn't get the controls or get annoyed with the voices but instead I got an awesome, fast paced adventure and I'm glad to have Pit back.