Kung Fu Panda Review
Xbox 360 | PS3 | DS | Wii
Kung Fu Panda box art
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.

Kung Fu Panda screenshot

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.

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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.

By Joseph Catalanotto
CCC Freelance Writer

Not bad, but also not that great. Some occasional graphical glitches don't help.
The button lay-out is a little weird, and some button-mashing can get a bit repetitive and annoying.
Music / Sound FX / Voice Acting
The movie's actors didn't do the voiceovers, which is a little disappointing. The lack of consistency in the voice acting is the biggest problem.

Play Value
Multiplayer modes and plenty of single-player variety are nice; greater game length and more incentive for replaying it would have been great.

Overall Rating - Fair
Not an average. See Rating legend above for a final score breakdown.

Game Features:

  • Kung Fu Awesomeness: Players embark on a legendary journey to fulfill Po's destiny to become the Dragon Warrior. Learn and master Po, Shifu, and the Furious Five's specialized Kung Fu fighting styles, abilities, and upgrades in order to defeat formidable bosses like the Great Gorilla, the Wolf Sergeant, and the ultimate enemy, Tai Lung.
  • Play as all Your Favorite Characters: Gamers learn to utilize the special abilities and combat skills of Po, Shifu, Monkey, Tigress, Viper, Crane, and Mantis. As gameplay progresses, unlock and experience each character's special moves and upgrades.
  • Master Po's signature "Panda Style" maneuvers, including the Panda Quake, Panda Stumble, and Iron Belly Blast. Plus earn awesome Kung Fu upgrades increasing Po's strength, speed, and agility, as he progresses from the unlikely hero to the powerful Dragon Warrior.
  • Experience 13 Legendary Levels: Players traverse 13 multi-stage levels from the movie and beyond, spanning air, water, and land, to battle a variety of foes, overcome dangerous obstacles, navigate multi-tiered environments, and solve puzzles.
  • Join friends in multi-player action and co-op mode: Gamers can go head-to-head against friends across a wide variety of battle arenas with their favorite characters including Po and the Furious Five, Tai Lung, the ferocious Ox, and others. Players can also team up in cooperative mode to work through a series of unique challenges and defeat dangerous enemies.

  • Screenshots / Images
    Kung Fu Panda screenshot - click to enlarge Kung Fu Panda screenshot - click to enlarge Kung Fu Panda screenshot - click to enlarge Kung Fu Panda screenshot - click to enlarge

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