Tech News on G4
'Panda 2', flawed but fun
June 2, 2011
By John Powell - G4 Canada
His fist still hungers for justice.
Po, the kung fu fighting panda, is back to boot some more bad guy butt in 'Kung Fu Panda 2'.
Unlike the preceding platformer in the well-crafted THQ series, the sequel is a much broader interactive experience for children and brave parents alike. 'Panda 2' has been developed exclusively for Microsoft's Kinect add-on accessory which as you might guess will get everyone off the couch and into the game.
'Panda 2' begins where the film ends, continuing the story of Po's battles with an assortment of misbegotten foes who want to pillage, loot and generally ruin everyone's fun. Summoned by the elite Kung Fu Council to find out who or what has employed the baddies and for what evil end, Po knuckles up against gruesome gorillas, wily wolves and killer komodo dragons.
'Panda 2' is not an unsophisticated button-masher. Players must really kick and punch their opponents as well as block and dodge their attacks. The Kinect motion detector works true to form. All of the moves my son and I bumbled through with campy cries of "Kiai!" and "HiYa!" were executed flawlessly.
Special finishers end battles with a flurry of Kung Fu craziness. Using the Kinect's built-in microphone, you can call out and a member of the Furious Five will arrive to…Finish him! so to speak.
Keeping in mind the game was made for younger players, once you have the moves down, the battles in 'Panda 2' are very repetitive. Perhaps knowing that, developers Griptonite Games changed things up adding in some rickshaw racing, noodle cooking and other stand alone levels in which you have to lean, reach and throw accordingly. None of these levels are innovative but they do break things up in a good way giving you a breather from the martial arts mayhem.
What does break things up in a bad way are the all too frequent cutscenes which are on drag on the action. There is far too much story and younger children are bound to get impatient with the constant interruptions. To make matters worse, the animation on the Xbox 360 is PS2 quality. With its bland, washed out colouring and rigid shapes, it is not a pretty sight at all. Kids who are used to bold and lively animated sequences will be disappointed as they expect so much more from their video games and their movies.
Imperfections aside, 'Panda 2' is far superior to 'Fighters Uncaged', the first motion fighting game for the Kinect. The gameplay actually works as advertised. While adults may tire of the repeative formula, kids will surely get a kick out of this simple martial arts sim that remains true to the 'Kung Fun Panda' films that inspired it.
Kung Fu Panda 2
About G4 in Canada
G4 Canada (formerly TechTV Canada) launched in September 2001. G4 is the one and only television station that is plugged into every dimension of games, gear, gadgets and gigabytes. Owned Rogers Media Inc., the channel airs more than 24 original series. G4 is available on digital cable and satellite. For more information, see www.g4tv.ca.