I've played some pretty bad movie-to-game adaptations from Jumper to X-Men: The Official Game, and have been really disappointed by them but still forced my way through. Kung Fu Panda came into my life and I thoroughly enjoyed it with only a few disappointments.
Kung Fu Panda is a story about a young panda named Po, who aspires to be the world's greatest martial artist, but never believes in himself. When one day he finds himself believed to be the Legendary Dragon Warrior, he's thrust into a world of fighting with the legendary masters of kung fu.
Personally, I enjoy this story greatly, and nothing much was changed in reiterating it from the movie to the game. There's still the same jokes and quirkiness, as well as the voice acting provided by Jack Black himself. I won't reveal much due to spoilers but anybody from any age group can appreciate the comedy and different lessons learned throughout the film and game. The story's basically retold again, but with added missions to span out the game for a few more hours, and adding to Po's training and learning curve, giving him experience. I welcomed the chance to delve into the world more and meet new characters and do extra tasks that weren't in the movie, such as rescuing turtles eggs from crocodiles and fighting inside Po's dreams.
Though gameplay seems really straight forward and very easy to mash buttons to destroy enemies, there is the more satisfying combat with combos and panda specific techniques such as the belly drop and Panda Stumble, forming into a ball and knocking over enemies like pins in a bowling match.
While fighting hordes of crocodile, wolf and swine anthropomorphs, Po becomes a stronger Kung fu wielder. He gains coins after defeating enemies when they drop them, which you use to upgrade his techniques such as combos, strength, health or unlocking more powers for Po to use. There are also different costumes and extra content which can be unlocked by purchasing with these coins which add more for you to unlock and use to enjoy Kung Fu Panda even more.
The combat in general is pretty satisfying, sound effects are great when it comes to hitting enemies and breaking things. Jack Black's voice acting lends to the over all feel of the game with his exultation of awesomeness and kung fuey battle cries.
Jack Black though, in many cutscenes and some interaction with characters, seems more or less lacking in enthusiasm. Not much effort seems to be put forth by him in repeating lines from the movie again in interest or telling a joke in a different way. Other than that its still nice that they were able to get him. It wouldn't really feel like Po without him.
The game looks good as well, though the models for the characters are basic they all move smoothly and rarely is there any type of glitch or popping in the rendering. Sure it seems as if some short cuts were taken in the making of the game for certain environments but its easily ignorable.
Many quick time mini-games are engaged throughout the campaign, including Master Tigress fighting a giant mechanical bull with swinging axes. You hit one of the corresponding buttons in order to progress to the next action, this is done repeatedly throughout the campaign with different situations and characters, mainly with the Furious Five. There's one mini-game in particular that I enjoyed and it was Master Crane's flight through the clouds dodging thunder and tornadoes and battling vultures in order to get a messenger back safely.
The platforming is well done and isn't just a breeze, there's a lot to do in the game and quite a few collectibles. Different collectibles for each level which adds up towards a perfect score in that level if everything is collected properly.
There are different difficulties in which to set the game to, the highest being called, of course, Dragon Warrior. Though the game may not be as tough as other beat me up games it'll still give you a pretty good challenge!
Sometimes though the game doesn't listen to what you want to do, and neither does Po. I found myself having a hard time just directing him towards something or a small object getting in my path and all of a sudden my smooth moving panda becomes challenged. The game can become frustrating many times and after beating it, isn't really a game many would prefer to repeat again. It starts to become bland in the repetitiveness of the same enemies in the same location each time.
The achievements for Kung Fu Panda are relatively easy, some are slightly challenging and would need guides. The majority of the achievements involve getting perfect scores through a level resulting in 100%, and other achievements require doing the same thing, only on Dragon Warrior difficulty. Other achievements are quite fun to achieve, such as defeating a certain amount of enemies along with beating an amount with a special technique only, also performing special actions in certain levels. Wear the costume of the Dragon Warrior and be fearsome!
This is a must play game for anyone who loves platformers, Kung Fu Panda, it's universe and easy achievements. I enjoyed it, though it does get bland after awhile if constantly repeating it.