|System: Wii, PS3, X360, PS2, DS, PC||Review Rating Legend|
|Dev: XPEC||1.0 - 1.9 = Avoid||4.0 - 4.4 = Great|
|Pub: Activision||2.0 - 2.4 = Poor||4.5 - 4.9 = Must Buy|
|Release: June 3, 2008||2.5 - 2.9 = Average||5.0 = The Best|
|Players: 1-4||3.0 - 3.4 = Fair|
|ESRB Rating: Everyone 10+||3.5 - 3.9 = Good|
There are a few significant downfalls to this game, however, and two of them exist in the form of graphics and sound. Visually, Kung Fu Panda doesn't look terrible, but at the same time it doesn't look great either. Some textures are grainy and the color palette doesn't look that good. On the other hand, animation is pretty well done. The music is worse than the visuals -- sound effects and music are fine, but voice acting is pretty bad. It's terribly inconsistent and it's fairly obvious that the dev team wasn't able to get the actors to do the voice work. While the voiceovers sound pretty good at times, at others they sound wildly off. There are also some occasional hiccups along the way, namely in the form of some graphical glitches. These aren't that terrible though, and they're also not very common.
When it comes down to it, though, Kung Fu Panda really does feel like a kids' game. This is obviously noticeable in the game's storyline, but it also becomes apparent in other aspects as well. For example, the game is really easy. While combat is fairly fun, at the same time it can feel kind of mindless, and enemies don't put up much of a fight. In fact, it's not out of the question to go through the entire game without even touching the block button. Additionally, this game is quite short; it can be completed in about five or six hours the first time through. Some players might be encouraged to go back through again because of the extra difficulty modes, but these don't really make the game that much harder. Enemies remain pushovers, and the increased damage you'll take isn't much of a problem if enemies have a hard time hitting you.
There's also some multiplayer in this game, and for the most part it's surprisingly good. While there are some duds here, it's pretty fun just because there are enough different mini-games to ensure you'll find something enjoyable. In addition to a fairly basic four-player fighting game, there are also some mini-games like a version of Mahjong, a memory game, and others. They're not going to last you that long, but at least they'll keep you distracted for a few hours.
In the end, Kung Fu Panda manages to be a surprisingly fun licensed game (hey, at least it's better than Chronicles of Narnia). It has a lot to offer, particularly for younger players. Combat is fun, although it can get really repetitive, and the platforming offers some excitement. Beyond that, Kung Fu Panda offers some depth as well as some enjoyable multiplayer. While there are better ways to spend fifty bucks, there are also plenty of worse ways. If you're into the movie it may be worth a buy, and I certainly wouldn't discourage you from giving this one a rent.
CCC Freelance Writer