Enter the Panda.

User Rating: 8.5 | DreamWorks Kung Fu Panda X360
I was pleasantly surprised when I downloaded the playable demo of Kung-fu Panda. I wasn't expecting much, just another movie game, for better or worse. I really just wanted to see if Jack Black did the voice acting for the game. Yet low and behold I found one of the few actually very good movie tie in games. From the graphics to the gameplay, to the voice acting, to the Kung-Fu awesomeness, it's all good.

Graphics: Simply beautiful. From the bright colorful land scapes to the sparkling water. From the furry cast to the particle effects it all looks wonderful. From the first level to the last the graphics never stop impressing. The characters facial expressions are great and the animations in general are strong and solid.

Sound: The music is of good quality and fits as it should. The character and combat sound effects work nicely, but it's the voice acting that really shines through here. Jack Black does just as good a job voice acting for this game as he did for the movie, if not better, and the rest of the team does a great job as well. There actually is a lot of dialog in this game and it's all a pleasure to listen to. The audio here is set to the same high standards as the graphics.

Gameplay: Totally awesome! As Po might say. The Kung-Fu combat is solid from start to finish, with each of the characters you get to play as. It's worth noting that you get to play as several characters from the movie and each of them controls differently and equally well. Something that impressed me was the fact that they actually took the time to create a system where you level up Po as you go along. So as you play and collect coins and complete mini-missions you get to make Po better and better. Thus this actually gives the player the feeling of accomplishment and growth that the movies main story line evolves largely around. When you start out Po will actually just swat at guys with his big bear arms and not look all that impressive, but by the end he will have transformed into a kung-fu master. The running jumping and platforming is all top notch here. There are no hard puzzles, but also no areas were you'll be stuck wondering what to do. Each of the levels has a good size and at the end of each you will get to see how much of the level you completed with a percentage. So if your like me this will have you going back trying to get 100% for each. It's straight forward but good level design. You'll be jumping, climbing, flying, balancing, kung-fu fighting and rolling your way through the game, having fun the whole time.

The story: Your thinking, well duh, it's the movie's story right? Well, actually yes, but theres more. For instance if you've played the Iron-Man game you know that not all games based from movies follow their counter parts very closely. They will kinda follow the movie but go their own way. Well Kung-Fu Panda manages to follow the story of the movie very well and yet it has more to offer. In the game you will play through and get to experience most of the best scenes of the movie and then go beyond that and experience many great scenes and meet many great characters that are not in the movie. I actually played the game before I saw the movie and so while enjoying the movie I was rather dissappointed that some of the places and characters from the game were no where to be seen, because they were in fact so well portrayed in the game. However I'll say this it's great that these characters, that didn't make the movie, at least got to shine in the game.

Conclusion: The game is just a lot of fun from star to finish. It's not difficult and it's not that long but it does have multi-player elements to make up for the main stories length. The 360 achievements are smart and spread out nicely in this game, so if your into that, you should have fun. Graphics, combat, level design, sound, it's all good. If every movie tie in game had a team that put this much time, effort, and heart into their product movie tie in games wouldn't have such a bad rap. If you enjoyed the movie, enjoy kung-fu, or are just looking for a good action platformer you shouldn't miss this game, it's totally legendary.
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