Kung Fu Panda 2 Xbox 360 Review

June 24, 2011 by  
Filed under Xbox 360, Reviews & Features, Xbox

Publisher – THQ – Developer – Griptonite Games – Genre – Fighting – Players – 1 – Age Rating – 7+ – Other console/handheld formats – PS3, Wii, DS

Kung Fu Panda 2 is one of those games that doesn’t just have Kinect control as one of its options, but you need Microsoft’s sensor in order to play the thing. It’s quite a strange decision – I can just imagine the temper tantrums of kids around the world right now, whom wanted to play the game tie-in, although their parents aren’t affluent enough to afford Kinect. This is a game that could quite easily cause a family rift.

The events of the story actually takes place after the events of those featured in the film. There’s wolves, gorillas, and komodo dragons causing chaos and it’s up to you, as Po, to find out the story behind the siege. There’s quite a number of cut-scenes, in fact for some, considering that they’re unskippable, there may even be a few too many for some.

On the more positive side, Kung Fu Panda 2 with Kinect is the kind of simple fun that Microsoft probably envisioned third party companies would make for their device. It’s a fighting game that doesn’t require any complex body movements, and has you becoming a big panda, kicking and punching your way through your enemies.

Even getting around the menus is fun and painless – using one hand to highlight your menu choice and the other to select it, with a very suitable punching motion. Po, the giant panda, talks you through the game and you’ll soon realise that, while the game remains forever basic, additions are made as you progress, adding in a little extra complexity to the fighting.

Kung Fu Panda 2 is basically a turn-based fighting game, in which when you’re on the offensive you’ll be physically kicking, punching, pulling off finishing moves by copying hand gestures on the screen, and using your voice to summon help. And when you’re on the defensive you’ll be dealing with surprise attacks, blocking enemy strikes and dodging out of the way. It’s fun, simple and responsive, and the only real problem I had was with the blocking, although when I learned that my arms should be positioned further from my body, I didn’t have any problems from then on. Sadly though, the game does begin to get repetitive, and even the inclusion of mini games isn’t quite enough.

Indeed, the Occasional mini games in-between the fighting are a nice break from pretending to do kung fu. There are only three different mini games, one of which reminded me of Kinect Adventures, in which you barrel along on a rickshaw, avoiding obstacles and chasing down a foe. Noodle shop, on the other hand, has you dishing out noodles for customers, and, as it’s all colour coordinated, you’ll have to give the correct bowl to the correct customer. Finally, Target Practice has you lobbing rocks at distant targets, aiming with one hand and firing with the other, and repairing sections of a temple. All the mini games are fun and work well enough, and do help a little to add in a little variation.

You’ll finish the story mode within three or four hours, although Kung Fu Panda 2 also has a freeplay mode. This basically gives you the freedom to play any mini game as well as to practice your moves. There are medals to be awarded if you’re good enough, although in no way does this compensate for the lack of multiplayer. It’s really sad that Kung Fu Panda 2 is single player exclusively, and it’s also rather strange for such a game to have it left out entirely.

To sum things up, Kung Fu Panda 2’s controls are mostly responsive, and their simplicity will really please the young target audience as well as those who just like kicking and punching the thin air in their living room, which is all well and good as Kinect controls are the only option in this Xbox 360 version. The game is certainly a lot of fun, but it’s the lack of multiplayer and the repetition that really does Kung Fu Panda 2 a disservice, as, otherwise, this is a likeable enough game.