Reviewed: June 5, 2008
Released: June 3, 2008
In a time when the Furious Five protected and ruled, you could only dream of fighting with them. Now, it is time to stop dreaming and take your place by their side and help vanquish evil and become the legendary Dragon Warrior in Kung Fu Panda. Go deeper into Poís story based off the upcoming movie that is about to sweep the nation. Play as Po and deepen your knowledge of all types of ninja fighting styles.
This is a fight game that is complete button mashing with super huge combos. Use the different combos to perform different kung fu attacks as well as special Panda attacks that only Po can perform. You have thirteen levels in the game that test you in different ways. Most of the time it just requires you to save some small in need characters and then defeating level ending bosses.
You start out with some basic fast and light or heavy and slow kung fu moves at the beginning of the game. Just like any other fighting game you can combine the two to produce totally bodacious moves. As you progress through the game you will discover bonus moves, like the panda roll. As well as learning about new moves you can collect coins along your journey and upgrade your old moves into totally awesomeness maneuvers by increasing your damage or the area of effect (with your Panda Smash).
You have pretty open game levels that allow you to explore. You have some ledge walking that requires you to control the lean of Po as he walks across the line. Then there is Master Crane. In the first level that you play as him, you have to save the messenger. You fly through a storm while defeating buzzards. You get to tilt the SIXAXIS controller while you fly and fight. It's one of the coolest levels you will get to play in the game. This is just a lead into getting to play with all of the other Furious Five members just to switch it up so you donít get tired of playing as the wise cracking star struck panda.
Kung Fu Panda has a lot of button mashing fight sequences but it also incorporates some great puzzle problems to keep you interested and not bored out of your mind with mashing buttons. You have to protect treasures and close trap doors from the ceilings, douse fire with water barrels, cross dizzying jumping puzzles with clouds or make your way through lily pad mazes surrounded by hungry crocs.
Let me start off by saying that I was completely shocked that a PS3 game that wasnít GTA4 or a sports game was capable of running at 1080p!! All I could think of was "finally, the blu-ray disc being used up to its full potential". Then I started to play the game. The biggest let down to date! It would only run at 720p. So I thought something was wrong with my brand new 1080p TV or even worse my PS3. So I tried this game out on another 1080p TV with another PS3 running into it. The same thing happened; the game would only run at 720p.
Activision confirmed that it should be running at a glorious 1080p, but it didn't and it won't. So, I forced my TV to play at 1080p and that was an even worse idea. The game actually looked worse due to the fact that it just stretched the picture from 720p and created some serious jaggy edges around curved surfaces like the thousands of gold coins and even Po's white round belly. So bottom line - this is a 720p game that you can force into 1080p at your own peril. Sadly, the game also runs at only 30fps rather than the slick 60fps of the 360, which is like trying to capture Jet Li in action with a Super 8mm Handicam.
Aside from me being totally disappointed and slightly deceived by the back of the box there were still some major flaws with the graphics. The trees and shrubs were completely papery. Then you get to the most important character in the game, Po, and he looks like two colored balls on one another with a little texture detail work here and there - certainly not the super-realistic fur textures I had seen on the 360. The colors were washed out tremendously, and I had to turn the PS3 brightness all the way down to the lowest setting in the game to really get a good feel of how the colors were suppose to look.
Now that the complaining is over, it is time for the good stuff. The level designs were very well put together. You have a great Chinese culture feel to the game with all the architecture with dragon design inlays, and subtle item placements like oriental food stands, urns, and other subtle touches. And man does the water in this game look tremendous! You could see every ripple and it would continue to flow outward. Then if you would jump from lily pad to lily pad you could see the ripples interact with each other. It was really interesting to watch and really distracted me from actually playing the game. Then fight animations looked great too. Every time you would connect with an enemy you would see the concussion wave.
The voice acting was superb. If you didnít know that Jack Black wasnít the voice in the video game you would bet money that it was. Only a handful of actors from the movie are dubbing as the voices in the game. It didnít matter because it was all done very well. Everything really added to the story line and really made you feel as if you were watching the movie.
During the fighting you have great sound effects. You have Po saying all of his action phrases that you see in the previews for the movie. Then you have great connecting blow effects that sound as if they are really happening. You have different blow sounds for each character and dummy depending on the side of them. Finally, you all the "hi-yas" and "huhs" you can handle in any ninja fight. There is also a fantastic soundtrack with oriental themed music that really sets the mood and gets you ready to fight.
This game is a good length especially for its intended target age group. I am a little out of that age group and would have liked to have seen about an hour or two more, but it was a great length to keep the younger crowd interested through the entire game. Then they have awards for each level, and if you are a perfectionist and want to be perfect on each level you can go back and redo those levels.
There are mini-games that allow playing with up to four players. You have a combat fighting arena where you have a Super Smash Bros. feel to it and you have to knock the others off the fight area to gain points. The most points at the end win. Another one you can play is a memory game. You have to match the cards with the same one. If you and another player turn up the same card you will fight to see who gets the point. The most points at the end wins again. There are other games that are less interesting but for the younger crowd, it fits them perfect.
Other than the horrible fiasco with the graphics it is hard not to tell everyone to get this game right now. I had a lot of fun playing this game and will definitely be going back to play it again soon. I was already psyched to see the movie and after playing this game I am even more excited to see it. You will be entertained the whole time in switching from Po to the different characters of the Furious Five. This game is worth every penny and is a must have in anyoneís collection.