Kung Fu Panda

Kung fu Panda
Kung fu Panda Cover
Platforms Xbox 360, Windows, Wii, PlayStation 3, PlayStation 2, Nintendo DS
Genre Animalistic Movie Action
Score 7  Clock score of 7Gameplay: 8
Fun Factor: 7
Gfx/Sound: 8
Story: 5
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Kung Fu Panda was a free game with my Xbox 360. When was the last time you got games with your system (yes, games, as Lego Indiana Jones was packed in too)? The Wii restarted a great trend by including Wii Sports, and sure, it was the Xbox 360 Holiday Bundle, but it's so nice to have something to play when you first plug it in. Did you know that I got three(!) games included with my Super Nintendo? Super Mario World, Super Mario Kart, and Super Mario All-Stars. It was the single greatest day of my childhood.

So Kung Fu Panda is the new video game based off the movie of the same name. Have you seen it? If so, you will probably enjoy this game for as long as it lasts (not that long). If you haven't seen it, you probably won't appreciate the humor it has to offer. That is, until you see the movie. Let's just get into my review of Kung Fu Panda for the Xbox 360, all score are out of 10.

Scores

Gameplay: 8
I recently heard someone describe Kung Fu Panda as a kid's Ninja Gaiden. I thought about this for a bit and it makes perfect sense. You're performing a large variety of martial arts moves against a wall of bad guys, and you're having fun doing it. Don't get the wrong idea though, Kung Fu Panda is not extremely bloody and difficult, but it plays great and you actually kind of feel like you're a 500 pound panda doing kung fu. There's a couple of issues though, quick time events are too prevalent (see below) and while there are a bunch of different gameplay elements smattered throughout the game, they're mostly hit and miss. Trying to avoid the super alligator chasing our boat was fun for a minute, but on the tenth try of failing, I'm getting sick of this.

Fun Factor: 7
There is a ton of stuff to collect towards achievements that kept me motivated. Now that I have an Xbox 360, I have to be aware of the achievement mystique. I've already made a personal decision not to spend/waste time on them. But it was hard playing a game like Kung Fu Panda where some of them seem so easy to achieve, but are actually decently tough! One big complaint though, way too much reliance on quick time events (QTE), especially near the end. Quick time events are situations where you have to press the button that appears on the screen to do a certain move or dodge a bad guy's attack. They usually string them together in Kung Fu Panda in a series of three or four button presses, and I was getting really annoyed with them. I'm an experienced QTEer, I've beaten Shenmue, Indigo Prophecy, and God of War, why did I have so much trouble here? And how is this fun again?

Kung Fu Panda was fun though, mostly because of the good, solid gameplay and varied levels.

Graphics and Sound: 8
Well, it sure looks like the movie. Of course, the animations aren't as smooth and the environments aren't as striking, but it's impressive work in itself for a console game. The character models are excellent and look like their film brethren, not to mention the accompanying voice acting. I (semi-embarrasingly) said in my first hour review of the game, "A voiceover, obviously Jack Black, begins describing the Furious Five and the Dragon Warrior." I didn't find out until the credits that it wasn't actually Jack Black voicing Po the panda! Congratulations to that sound-alike, hopefully Jack Black continues to do animated movies so you can keep your job.

Story: 5
You know how when you play movie-based games, there's always a ton of levels that never happened in the film? Kung Fu Panda has a bunch of those. The first three levels are from the movie, and the last level or so... sort of. Everything in between (thirteen levels total, so about eight) are just filler. That's not to say they're not fun or interesting, but I was just wondering the whole time when we'd get back to the movie, and you know, fight the bad guy? Speaking of the bad guy, Tai Lung, you fight the final battle in a filled-to-capacity arena. In the movie, Po and Tai Lung duke it out in an empty city. It's just weird. Maybe you're actually better off not seeing the film first.

Overall: 7
Great movie, good game, that pretty much sums up the entire Kung Fu Panda franchise in my opinion. It's definitely one of the better movie-based games I've played in a while, and it does a great job being what it should be: a colorful, enjoyable, action platformer for all ages. If you've seen the movie, I would recommend playing this game, and if you haven't seen the movie, well, go see it! Kung Fu Panda is a solid action experience on the Xbox 360.

Kung Fu Panda Po Master Shifu