Kung-Fu Panda (360)

By Steven Marsh

Published on Tuesday, June 24, 2008

Graphics: 9.00
Sound: 9.00
Gameplay: 9.00
Replays: 4.00
Gamelength: 6.00

The best (and probably only) movie starring a panda performing kung-fu ever has received the video game treatment in “Kung-Fu Panda”.

Holy moly! Could it be?! A video game movie adaptation that’s actually REALLY good? Are you kidding me? This game has completely defied all logic and has managed to actually turn a hilarious CG comedy about a martial artist panda into a really fun, action-packed video game. If you liked the movie and you have a console to play this game on, read on to find out why you should buy this game, as I master the art of kung-fu in “Kung-Fu Panda” for the Xbox 360.

Anyone who has seen the “Kung-Fu Panda” movie will be blown away. This game actually looks almost exactly like the movie of the same name. For those who have not seen the movie, here’s a quick translation: It looks freaking amazing. The lighting and shadows are A-grade and the character models look as though they just hopped out of the big screen. Every little detail pops out and really tries to grab your full attention. I was absolutely shocked at how great this game looks.

Sound effects, voices and music are all (mostly) taken straight out of the movie. Right down to the punching sounds to the voice acting, everything is perfect. The only real complaint I have here is that Jack Black did not actually do the voices of Po in the video game. However, it’s hard to tell at first because they sound very, very similar. The sound quality of this game gets just as high of a score as the graphics; Near-perfection.

So now that we know the game is presented almost perfectly as far as the visuals and sound quality go, let’s jump right into the fray and start kicking some serious ass. First of all, this game is not ground-breaking by any means in comparison to serious gaming blockbusters, such as the “Ratchet & Clank” or “God Off War” series. Do not expect this game to be a perfect 10 all around and avoid comparing this title to any serious game without a movie theme. With that out of the way, the combat is actually a lot like any other 3D action game. You perform various attacks, block, dodge, etc. until you eventually smash all of your opponents into oblivion and move onto the next part of the game. You do this over the course of 13 single-player levels and a 4-player local multiplayer mode, having great amounts of fun along the way. Throughout the game, you’ll gain access to new moves for Po, as well as different playable characters at specific points in the game. Each and every character feels different enough to keep the game feeling fresh until the very end. There’s also a few other components in place, such as health items, a shop and a bunch of unlockable content. The health items and shop make the game a bit too easy, considering how common the health and coins are even during the hardest portions of the game. Still, the unlockable content in the form of several really fun minigames is a nice addition and will keep casual gamers busy for quite some time. I particularly like the game’s version of Go, titled “Po Go”. My only serious complaint about this title, despite the fact that it surely wouldn’t have lasted long and that it wouldn’t of had a huge or lasting player base, is that it lacks any sort of online component. Despite that fact and the extremely easy difficulty, this game is sure to please almost any easygoing gamer with an open mind.

Overall, “Kung-Fu Panda” is the first movie-themed game that I personally have enjoyed to this extent. Activision did an absolutely wonderful job and today, I say this: Congratulations on accomplishing the seemingly impossible, guys. You did it. Keep up the good work!

Pros:
-Extremely top-notch graphics that look just like the movie.
-Perfect sound quality ripped straight from the movie in most cases.
-Multiplayer, albeit local only, is a real blast.
-While too easy for serious gamers, this game is still a challenge for younger players.
-Unlockable minigames are addictive.

Cons:
-No online component at all.
-For serious gamers, this is going to be a walk in the park.
-Far, far too short to have any serious lasting appeal.

Bottom line:
If you loved the movie, buy the game. If you have an open mind, rent it first. If you’re a casual gamer looking for a brief spurt of fun, this is straight up your alley. However, if you’re close-minded and think this sort of thing is “kiddy” or “lame”, stay away from this game and play something else.

Overall Rating: 8.00

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