Kung Fu Panda Review  

Posted by Mohammad Talha in ,

This movie-inspired action game is fun while it lasts, but sadly that isn't very long.

The Good
Great dialogue * Captures the feel of the film well.

The Bad
Inconsistent visuals * No online multiplayer * Short single-playercampaign * Repetitive gameplay.

Kung Fu Panda on the Wii manages to capture the look and feel of the movie it's based on--but shallow, repetitive gameplay, inconsistent visuals, bugs, slowdown, and a short length are sure to disappoint. The game is intended primarily for those who have seen the film and want to live out Po's adventure as both the bumbling fool and the unlikely Dragon Warrior saviour. For this reason, those who pick up Kung Fu Panda on a whim may find that the character introductions are a little thin and that their experience suffers as a result.

While not impossible to follow, the story can certainly be a little confusing, especially in regards to intercharacter relationships. If you haven't seen the movie, the game comes across as slightly disjointed, and while it can be played like any off-the-shelf beat-'em-up, don't be surprised if you find yourself struggling to make connections to the story at times.

You'll roam the plains of Peace Valley, going head-to-head with the Croc, Boar, and Ninja Cat gangs trying to capitalize on Tai Lung's return. It's no real surprise that you'll play Kung Fu Panda mostly as main character Po, but you'll also assume the role of his sensei, Master Shifu, as well as Furious Five members Tigress, Monkey, Mantis, Crane, and Viper. Each has a unique skill set; for instance, Shifu is capable of skull-hopping between groups of foes, and Monkey can scale structures to climb to otherwise unreachable areas. You should be able to rip through the single-player campaign in around four hours, even less if you complete only the minimum-requirement objectives rather than taking the time to do advanced tasks, explore, and find rare items. It is worth noting that though content is almost identical to that of the Xbox 360 game in places, several levels are missing entirely in the Wii version. Collectibles take the form of jade coins that unlock the game's multiplayer modes, playable characters, and short video montages of the characters in action taken directly from the film. Some of these are only a few seconds long, so they hardly justify replaying stages if you didn't find them the first time around.

You'll use the Wii Nunchuk's analog stick to move your character around the screen, while your basic attack is performed with the B button. A more powerful attack is available by swinging the controller horizontally. Double jumping and snapping the controller downwards performs the Panda Quake ability, an area-of-effect knockback move which uses Po's chi, the game's form of energy for special attacks. Defeated foes drop orbs that, when collected, restore chi, while smashing and consuming the contents of dumpling baskets restores health. Gold coins can be collected and used in the game's store to upgrade Po's health, chi bars, and attack power. Unfortunately, the relatively small amount of chi used for specials at the easier difficulty levels and plentiful refills mean the best approach is to pump all your coins into maxing out your Panda Quake ability, lure and corral groups of targets, and then body-slam them into oblivion. It's an effective but incredibly repetitious way to finish the game, and it's usable all the way to the end, with the exception of the boss battles, which often incorporate quicktime remote-waggling events.

These battles become more frequent as you progress, with the number of movement combos you'll need to perform getting higher toward the end of the game. In line with the game's gentle learning curve, if you fail to perform them you simply restart at the beginning until you get it right. There's no penalty for failure, but multipart waggle sections strung together with unskippable cutscenes become frustrating, because one mistimed swing will send you back to the beginning. Because the camera is manually controlled with the C button on the nunchuk, you'll spend much of your time screen-scrolling to stay focused on the action. While it's easy enough to snap back, don't be surprised if your limited field of view means you get hit from behind a lot as you try to find your next target. (full Story)

This entry was posted on Dec 22, 2008 at 1:24 AM and is filed under , . You can follow any responses to this entry through the comments feed .


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