Kung Fu Panda 2 the game is with us, and who’d have guessed it, there just so happens to be a Kung Fu Panda 2 film currently doing the rounds at your local multiplex. It’s like somebody plans these thing. Films and games notoriously don’t go well together. You may have a fantastic film with the perfect plot for a game, but that’s often not even enough to make an average attempt of a game. Usually film tie-in games are rushed out far sooner than they should have been, which ends up leaving a sour taste in gamers mouths especially if they’ve seen the movie.
Conveniently starting off where the film ends, in Kung Fu Panda 2 you must help Po, The Furious Five with the council of masters, Shifu, Croc, and Ox defeat looting wolves, bullish gorillas and uncouth Komodo Dragons led by Xaio Dan to restore Gongmen City back to its former glory, and more importantly save Kung Fu! The setting and theme works quite naturally within the Kung Fu Panda general story, it’s just a shame that’s where the fun ends for Kung Fu Panda 2.
When you begin you’ll soon realise that the game has a terrible frame rate, even when you’re walking from one side of the screen to the other. Things become worse when you have to use your kung fu to get through some very weak enemies. All you end up doing is mindless button bashing until you beat the last wolf or gorilla. And with some noticeable collision detection issues meaning your kung fu moves don’t always register, you just wish Bruce Lee would jump in and put them all out of their misery, and that includes Po and the Furious Five.
Kung Fu Panda 2 is basically a third person action game where you, as Po the resident panda Kung Fu martial artist, have to rid various areas within Gongmen City of wolves, gorillas and komodo dragons. As mentioned previously, the basic combat is poorly developed and makes clearing the city a monotonously redundant process. You follow each one of the masters who eventually teach you a special technique which allows you to access previously unreachable areas and help beat the enemy. Unfortunately, these special abilities are underused and they can also make you look stupid in combat situations. For example, the ‘curl’ technique is meant to aid you in clearing enemies by bowling into them, but sometimes when you try it, you just end up rolling into an empty space and a wolf then runs up behind you and gives you a beat down.
Graphically Kung Fu Panda 2 is below average, the characters resemble their film counterparts, but the enemies lack imagination and variety whilst the city is bereft of anything of note. The voice acting is average and let down by not involving the real cast. The kung fu effects, both sound and visual, are more off-putting that involving. To top it all off, Fung Fu Panda 2 will take you less than 3 hrs to complete because you’ll end up skipping the uninteresting segments in between the areas.
The biggest downfall for Kung Fu Panda 2 is that it has so obviously been rushed to coincide with the cinematic release. There are bugs evident from the start which frustrate and get in the way of actually playing the game. These bugs, added to a substandard child’s game, makes it hard for anyone to get any sustained enjoyment out of Kung Fu Panda 2. Po and the Furious Five are going to have to train much harder next time if they ever think they’ll come close to mastering this genre.
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