Review by Drunky

"Save your time and your money, just watch the movie instead."

I'm sure most everyone is familiar with King Kong, whether you've seen the 1933 black and white classic or the newer version directed by Peter Jackson. The game is based on the remade version, and if you've watched the movie you wont encounter any surprises aside from the huge disappointment you‘ll soon feel.

You'll be playing as Jack Driscoll, the playwright turned adventurer. You'll take part in an expedition to Skull Island with fellow adventurers Carl Denham, Ann Darrow, and Hayes. Your initial task was to begin filming Denham's movie, when you slowly begin to unravel the mysteries behind the remote island.

For a game based on King Kong, the gameplay had excellent potential and high expectations, yet falls short of both. As Jack Driscoll you'll be playing in first person mode, which does not suit a game like this at all. Your view is limited and often times you'll find the surroundings a bit disorienting after you've been in a scuffle with the dinosaur inhabitants. It doesn't make the game more complex, it makes it more frustrating.

The only consolation is that most of the paths are so linear its nearly impossible to get lost. There is little thought needed when playing, seeing as most of your path will be outlined, and your teammates will lead you to the next area. For an adventure game you'd probably be expecting puzzles and obstacles, but don't. There is only one type of obstacle in this game that is repeated numerous times, finding a stick to shove in a pole to open a door. What makes it worse? The solution to this obstacle is the exact same in every single occurrence just in a different location.

So the adventure aspect of this game fails horribly, but there is always the action. The action oriented sections of this game are mediocre at best. There is an extremely limited amount of weapons (three plus sticks), idiotic AI that gets stuck in walls, and no strategy at all is required. Just point, shoot, run out of bullets, throw a spear. Repetitive and simple. I also use the word point rather loosely, seeing as the game will auto aim for you, all you have to do is be looking in the general direction of the hostiles. Combined with the linear paths and primitive AI (which is fitting of dinosaurs I suppose), the game is incredibly easy to breeze through. It seems like it was made solely for players to gain achievement points.

The graphics in the game do nothing to show the power of the Xbox 360. Even with the lack of in-depth detail of the environment, the jungles of Skull Island look incredible. They managed to get the lush jungle atmosphere perfectly combined with the creepy atmosphere of the Islanders settlements. Sadly the characters look shoddily done. They're jagged around the edges with very little detail put into their features and faces. Their movements are awkward and uneven, and they are prone to several clipping errors. The enemies are more of the same, same lack of detail and same awkward movements. The only character who does look good is the King himself. Seeing him work himself into a rage is the peak of this game graphically. However he too suffers from the same sluggishness and awkward movements, in fights his unresponsiveness and clunky movements make him an easy and open target.

The sound of this game is hit and miss. It can be incredibly engrossing as you hear the roars of the far off Kong and the incoming stomping of the V-Rex's. Or it can be annoying to hear the wailing of creatures that are not even close to you, or are already dead. The game uses the actual actors so the voice acting is dead on. Hearing Jack Black egg you on to continue your journey is rather entertaining.

As for my gripes about this game, one of the major ones is the amount of bugs and glitches this game has. It is rushed and unpolished and sometimes even makes a level unbeatable, leaving you to restart and lose any progress. Such as when you cant get one of your teammates to move on to the next area or do what they were scripted to do. Then there is the problem with the annoying camera. Now for those who don't know, you can play as Jack Driscoll in first person, but you can also play a few (very few and very short) missions as Kong in third person. When you play as Kong you have no control over the camera, and it can really hinder gameplay even more. Often times it will stay in one place, even though the action has moved off the screen, or it will go for the cinematic style and be so far away you cant even tell where you are or where you are going.

The play time and replay ability of this game is horrendous. The game is incredibly short, a few hours at most., and given the ease and linear nature of the game, combined with the fact that it gets repetitive very fast and the amount of problems that hinder gameplay, there will be no sane reason to replay this game at all.

This game is mediocre in almost every possible way, and I would recommend you stay away from it unless you desperately want the easy to achieve 1000 gamerscore points. The only challenge to this game is gathering the patience to actually finish it.


Reviewer's Score: 3/10 | Originally Posted: 05/14/06


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