TITLE: Peter Jacksons King Kong: the Official Game of the Movie
PUBLISHER: Ubisoft Entertainment
DEVELOPER: Ubisoft Montpellier Studios, Ubisoft Montreal Studios
DATE RELEASED: November 21, 2005
NUMBER OF PLAYERS: 1
XBOX SYSTEM LINK: No
XBOX LIVE COMPATABLE: No
HDTV Support: 480p/720p/1080i
In-Game Dolby Digital: Yes
GENRE: 1st/3rd person adventure/fighting/shooter
PLATFORM: XBOX360, PSP, Gamecube, DS, PS2, PC, XBOX
ESRB: T (Teen)
Retail Price: $59.99
Achievement level reached: 1000/1000
Setting the Scene - quoted from amazon
Live the epic action of Peter Jackson's movie King Kong. Play as Jack or Kong in unique, dual-style gameplay. Play in first-person Survival mode as Jack Driscoll: shoot, evade, fight using Skull Island's hostile environment to your advantage. Launch your destructive power as the iconic ape-monster Kong in third person, from the savage perils of Skull Island to the skyscrapers of New York.
The game is (from what I understand having NOT seen the film) the film in as much a game form as possible. You start on the boat approaching the island in what I would say is the most convincing game engine storm scene I've had the pleasure of viewing; I was impressed to say the least. It dragged me in from the first scene and had me almost totally convinced of its obvious cinematic origins; nice camera work, good lighting, nice effects tho not overboard, good scene integration and camera play. This continued throughout the game with some impressive vista's and oppressive cave systems. Fire plays a large part in the game and for the most part it looks good tho not always.
Something I was told regarding the films is that the creepy-crawlies were impressive and this does come across in the game. Centipedes are menacing in the extreme as are the clawed lobstrosities (coined from Stephen King), the spiders are extremely fast so I didn't really get a look.
Probably the most impressive scene is in the chapter called "Brontosaurus"... LOTS of them... you have to play this scene to understand what I mean but it takes place whilst walking in between the legs of HUGE bronto's and along with the surround sound the overall experience is brilliantly rendered.
The jack side gameplay is ok and consists of mainly simple "kill everything" / "find object" / "escort so and so" type missions, these soon become repetitive and sometimes irritating, they get harder and longer but no more difficult as the game progresses. The game does however redeem itself with the Kong side gameplay which involves you controlling Kong himself often battling with large reptiles or running around the jungle carrying the lady in obvious distress. The feeling of power whilst controlling Kong is VERY effectively portrayed and I always felt like he WAS a huge gorilla, the sound in these segments is amazing especially when Kong gets angry - the visual affect worked a treat and should be held as a major WIN for the Ubi Montreal team.
Kong himself is extremely well rendered with a nice fur effect and very well crafted model & animation, he's smooth and flowing in his movement and in general just FITS the scenes he's in. This is true of the other larger animals in the game too but more so with Kong (obviously).
The game has a consistently high (30+) framerate and I didn't see any slowdown issues whilst I was playing (for those that worry about such things).
The issues I saw are mostly down to bad collision and involved things like scenary not being collideable (in the initial scene the boats oars are ethereal), scenary not rendering at all (this happened randomly maybe 5 occasions during the game) or scenary somehow flicking between collideable and not... this was irritating to me as the centipedes could sometimes kill me (and me them) through walls.
I would have to say that whilst the problems above were irritating when they occured they were not major and seem indicative of rushing the game out for the holidays rather than bad design.
Some of the chapters had VERY long load times with sometimes very little payoff (slight control then cutscene) this irritated me somewhat as I prefer gameplay over movie like experience.
Probably the most noticeable issue I have with the game is its length. I played for 6 hours to complete the game fully. Don't get me wrong, I enjoyed the entire game but I did find it went very quickly, some people might be unappreciative of the games high level of presentation when they find the whole thing lasts only 2/3 play sessions.
On the whole I'm very happy with Kong, good game, looks nice, gameplay had its highs and lows but overall it was good. Story is well known so there were no surprises there. I liked the presentation level which obviously took a LOT to perfect.
I would give the game 8.5/10; could have been longer, could have used some further 360 specific additions but in general it was good experience.