|Kung fu Panda|
|Platforms||Xbox 360, Windows, Wii, PlayStation 3, PlayStation 2, Nintendo DS|
|Genre||Simple Martial Arts Action|
|MtAMinutes to Action||3|
|Score||7 Gameplay: 7
Fun Factor: 8
|Buy from Amazon|
Kung Fu Panda is the video game based off of the recent movie hit. For Christmas I received an Xbox 360 and packaged inside was Kung Fu Panda and Lego Indiana Jones. Now, I've already reviewed the first hour (and beat, but didn't 100% complete) Lego Indy for the Nintendo DS, so I'm just kind of ignoring it at the moment. You may be in my position, you have this movie-based game about a bunch of animals that do martial arts, and you're really not sure if you should even bother unwrapping the plastic from it. So let me help you out, let's play the first hour of Kung Fu Panda together and see if it's worth playing.
Note this game was developed by four different development groups across the six different platforms, so this review is probably only applicable for the Xbox 360 and PlayStation 3 games.
(minutes are in bold)
00 - I select Start New Game and the first hour of Kung Fu Panda begins. A voiceover, obviously Jack Black, begins describing the Furious Five and the Dragon Warrior. A cutscene then starts showing our Panda hero, dreaming up the first level, Po's Dream.
01 - I get control and experiment with the controls. When you punch the panda makes some funny kung fu noises, and holding L blocks, but it's a Super Smash Bros. style block with a giant bubble around Po.
02 - I talk with a rabbit, he gives me an optional quest of collecting his family vases. There are ten of them, bring it on. These graphics are really awesome, there's some great lighting being displayed.
03 - We run around and destroy a bunch of stuff, the townspeople complain, haha. Po can also double jump! Thank you!
05 - Time for my first battle against a horde of warthogs. They go down in a flurry of fast attacks performed by Po. My duck dad yells to Po and tosses him a scroll. It has a list of combos on it. Combos as in tap the same button three times in a row!
06 - Woah, what the... my TV just started making this annoying buzzing noise. I think I have to restart the game?
09 - All right... I'm back to where I was before. Not a great start!
10 - Basically just fighting more pigs and collecting more coins and vases. You can actually toss small enemies at other bad guys, which is pretty cool, but an inefficient way to kill.
12 - Po is pretty athletic, not only can he double jump, but I also just walked on a balance beam and rolled down a hill at a high speed. This is a pretty fun game to play, lots of different stuff to do.
13 - There's also a ton of stuff to collect, not always a good thing, but the best way to collect things when you know kung fu is to destroy stuff!
15 - A pig with a mace appears and there's a short cutscene, a boss? Nope, he went down in two hits like the rest of them.
16 - Po knocks a pig through a door and the fighting continues inside a restaurant. I end up comboing a bunch of pigs and through some fiery power-up can defeat enemies in one hit! Seems a bit overpowered...
19 - Woah, we just went on a rolling adventure over some rooftops, and then more fighting. Po can also pick up weapons, right now I'm wielding a staff.
21 - The baddies don't stop coming, though I do find the 10th and final vase during the action, nice! Quest complete! Po also learned a new technique mid-battle, the Panda Quake. Jump and press B to perform a devastating belly flop on the ground.
22 - I was actually a bit low on energy for a moment there, but the game provides you with so much food you recover quickly. Oh, boss time! A giant pig!
23 - This guy has a lot of health, and he does a good job beating me down, but like in Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles, the jump kick prevails.
24 - Po wakes up from his dream when a giant panther appears and challenges him. Turns out Po is just a poor waiter. I can upgrade my skills with the coins I collected.
26 - I upgrade everything that seems useful, time to move on. Jack Black starts narrating again, Po's dad wants him to be a master of noodles instead of a kung fu master. Well, the Dragon Warrior is about to be named, so Po wants to check it out.
27 - Tournament of the Dragon Warrior. Po gets locked out of the event, guess I have to sneak in.
29 - I'm making my way around the stadium. Looks like my optional quest in this level is to save five rabbits. I save the first one from a group of pigs and he let's me use his ballista! Nice!
31 - No actual enemies to shoot so I just pop some big purple balloons that are blocking the platforms.
32 - Oh no, shimmying. I hate shimmying.
33 - Well, for being a panda he's actual a decent shimmier. Another rabbit saved means another ballista for me to destroy things with. Purple balloons, my nemesis.
34 - I'm pretty sure I'm launching these giant arrows into the stadium, this is incredibly dangerous.
36 - After finding every coin, rare coin, and firework (this level's collectible), I move on to the next area. Another rabbit to save, another Panda Quake to accomplish it in one hit.
39 - I'm now in the stadium's testing grounds. There are huge, mean looking contraptions in front of me with spikes and hammers on them. I wish myself good luck.
41 - I use another ballista to clear my way and enter more death traps. This stuff really isn't as scary as it looked.
44 - While platforming I somehow saved the fifth and last rabbit, didn't even see the poor guy.
46 - I grab the 16th firework and now I'm ready to strap myself to the chair and blast my way into the arena. Well, that's what happened in the movie at least.
47 - All right, in-game cut scene showing Po blasting his way into the stadium. Wait, what? I get control of Tigress the Tiger who is fighting a massive Juggernaut!
49 - This thing wields four double bladed axes and has a mace for a tail. Not only that, but I have to perform God of War style Quick Time Events to beat him. Ugh.
50 - You also can't even initiate the QTE's whenever you want, you have to wait for him to reveal his weak point (a literal target symbol) and then double jump and punch it.
52 - That was pretty obnoxious. The QTE animations were pretty much the same all three times, and beforeI could even beat him, I had to watch him try to hit me for like three minutes.
53 - After the battle, Po rains in on the Dragon Warrior ceremony from above and is named the Dragon Warrior. Even though he supposedly doesn't have any skills (he's been doing a pretty good job so far if you ask me).
54 - Upgrade time again. My Panda Quake technique is even better!
55 - Back to the text scrolling, naration. If you're familiar with the movie, this will be old hat, if you're not familiar with the movie... well, why are you playing this game? Level Zero.
56 - I have to navigate the Furious Five obstacle course, looks tough but I'm sure it will be pretty easy.
58 - Ooh, neat! I learn how to perform a charged attack, looks like Po is tossing a hadouken.
60 - My final task of the hour is to defeat 32 training dummies in like two minutes. Panda Quake makes that waaay too easy! That's the end of the first hour of Kung Fu Panda.
Time for some scores out of 10.
Minutes to Action: 3
I haven't played many recently made movie-based games, my history with them goes back to the Disney games on the Super Nintendo, like Aladdin and The Lion King. The general opinion is that movie-based games are generally really bad because they're rushed and developed by unknown teams. I found Kung Fu Panda pleasing to play with just a few issues. The controls were surprisingly tight, but the inclusion of quick time events is kind of annoying and it seems moves like Panda Quake can be exploited pretty easily. The difficulty seemed a bit tough for kids, but that actually means I may enjoy playing the rest of the game.
Fun Factor: 8
Kung Fu Panda was a great movie in my opinion, and the game is an excellent continuation of the film. Not in terms of story, but it really feels like you're playing the movie. You can perform some great moves and the locations and characters are all pulled straight from the movie. Okay, so maybe all the locations aren't right from the movie, but that's a classic issue with movie games. It would have been interesting if Po was actually unable to perform martial arts at all at the beginning, following the film a little more closely. Don't know if that would have been as fun though, probably not. Being enjoyable is much more important than staying true to a story if you ask me.
Graphics and Sound: 9
The game looks great, excellent graphics and decent voice acting by Jack Black too. Well, you may not be a fan of Jack Black, but it's not like he's constantly opening his mouth. The game looks like the film, so I don't know what else one could ask for.
Well, there's nothing really special about the Kung Fu Panda story, and the game doesn't take any risks. I probably could have guessed the game's first three levels if you had asked me. Kids will eat this stuff up though. They love talking animals.
Kung Fu Panda could have scored a bit higher, but I'm really afraid the fighting is going to get stale and repetitive in the next few levels. The combat was fun for a bit, but unless the game mixes things up a bit, it's going to be pretty easy to zoom through it. I can see some hidden potential there though, allowing me to control Tigress was a surprising change of pace, and Po has a whole slew of moves at his disposable that at some point I'll get sick of Panda Quake. My final recommendation, if you have the game, give it a try some weekend, you may really enjoy it.