Love it or hate it Kung Fu Rider is a new direction for gaming as its use of the latest in motion control technology takes gamers to the heights that other wands cannot reach
Coming to Sony Playstation gamers almost as if it is the cyber equivalent of gaming Marmite, the ‘love it or hate it’ attitude adopted by the gaming media has been split down the middle by one of the Playstation Move launch titles, a certain Kung Fu Rider. But regardless of peer pressure from other journalists in the industry who are quick to attack the fledgling technology for the attraction of controversy seeking viewers, we here at GamesMediaPro are coming out in favour of the title. Though it may not be Sony’s crowning moment in game development, and by no mean is it one of the greatest titles in the corporate giant’s awesome collection of quality gaming titles, what we can say is that for a title that was designed to display and show off the outstanding abilities and far superior technology to its competitors in the motion control genre, it has certainly done what it set out to do, and that is to set tongues a-wagging and the industry alight with speculation, condemnation and adoration all in equal measures. For that reason alone Kung Fu Rider and the Sony Playstation Move is already a great success.
Based around the storyline that see’s a private detective, named Tobin, and his lithe assistant ,Karin, being pursued across the city by ever-increasing numbers of gangsters and mobsters from the Mafia and the local Yakuza. As luck would have it, our unlikely hero Tobin is somewhat skilled in the art of Kung Fu, and boy does he need it when enemies appear as if from nowhere on occasion to rain blows onto his unfortunates pate, as screaming cars almost separate the on-the-run private eye from his vital signs.
That is about as much as you are ever likely to get from the storyline as the game caters more to introducing you to the Playstation Move than the history of its characters. It is from this point in that we just cannot work out why other reviewers cannot understand that the title is not, so much, an introduction to the world of Tobin and Karin, as it is an introduction to the future world of Sony’s latest brain-child and piece of wonder technology, the rather awesome Playstation Move motion controller system.
What we just cannot get our heads around is that this game is only here to demonstrate the awesome pinpoint precision of the Playstation Move and the fantastic responsiveness that it offers in comparison to its two major competitors. Yet all we are reading in the gaming press is journalists and reviewers whining and whingeing on about how they don’t understand the back story or that the game follows no real storyline at all, or that the gameplay is cluttered due to the use of all the function buttons that are available on the masterful handheld systems of Navigator and Wand Controller. Of course it utilises all of the buttons, that is what the title was designed to do, what made you think it was anything else? Where in the Press Release did Sony inform you that this title was to rival Killzone 3 in its action, Resident Evil 5 in its enemies or inFamous 2 in its open world play? That’s right…nowhere! This game, for those of you out there who have a greater grasp of the situation than ranting fanboy’s or ingrate hacks with the gaming knowledge of a noob, is the equivalent of an interactive instruction manual. To think of it as anything more, or less for that matter, is just plain ridiculous, and so for wittering on and on about how you didn’t like this or you hated that is ineffectual and inane. How would you rather that Sony had introduced their latest peripheral to the world, give you a paperback novel and told you to figure it out for yourself? Get a grip!
Instead of offering gamers a bland format for understanding their new motion controllers they have made the inspired decision to include the instruction manual for the Playstation Move into a thoroughly enjoyable slapstick affair that see’s fast and furious gameplay coupled with stunning visual backdrops that have become synonymous with the standard of graphics that are available throughout the Playstation 3’s library of top-notch titles. So instead of plodding your way through the accompanying DVD and handbook you can now enjoy learning how to use your new format of gaming so that when you do move on to the Sports Champions, Start The Party, Killzone 3 and Resident Evil’s of this next generation of motion control, you will be able to do so safe in the knowledge that your console of choice has the foresight and generosity to give you the best interactive instruction manual the gaming industry has yet produced. Now if you look at it that way, Kung Fu Rider is doing the best job that it could ever have hoped to be doing. It is paving the way for the future of Sony’s motion control titles.
The fact the title offers up a cracking single player mode that will keep you entertained long into the wee hours is a testament to the effort by the designers and developers to creating a quality title to best display the vast array of talents that their new product has to offer. That to top it all off the developers then added a co-op mode that will see you and a friend, or loved one, getting to grips with the motion control system speaks volumes for the company that has obviously rated its customers enjoyment of its new peripheral highly enough to warrant the design of such and ‘instruction manual’ in the first place. So enjoy the 18 stages of high-kicking mayhem that are on offer to you in Kung Fu Rider, and once you have successfully mastered them you will encounter the 6 further ‘free’ stages that will see you attempting to locate hidden tokens whilst you put your newly developed skills to the test as you locate the elusive 20 tokens. Though there is no timer on the mode this does not detract from the urgency, as you will obviously want to return time and again to try to best your fastest time.
Ultimately you should keep the thought in the back of your mind that this title is not trying to stand up alongside the likes of Little Big Planet 2 or Gran Turismo 5. This title is merely demonstrating to you what awaits you as you venture forth into the new world that Sony is building for you inside your Playstation. Get used to it for the future of gaming is here, and its Big Brother is coming along to join soon, in 3D. Sony sells its console using the line, ” It only does everything “ Well hold that thought, because when the arrival of 3D combines with the Playstation Move the Playstation 3 will live up to it.
Graphics: Solid and dependable fare from the developers at Sony that are perfect for detailing the environments that your characters will find themselves in. Whether you are flying through the air or hurtling around on the ground as you battle the vicious Yakuza, you never feel bogged down by slow frame rates or glitches. Everything looks sharp and plays as smooth as silk 7
Gameplay: Being that Kung Fu Rider is more an instruction manual for gamers to get used to this new way of using the power of their Playstation Move, the gameplay in the title does a sterling job in easing the gamer into its web and then spinning them on throughout the storyline, so that by the time you begin to attempt the title with a friend you should be more than capable of pulling off mid-air stunts with relative ease. 7
RePlay Value: Considering that the game is meant to get the player used to the way that the new peripheral handles so that they may best take on a new breed of Sony titles, is it any wonder then that longevity was not a priority issue when in development. However, that being said it would still be wise to revisit the title on occasion as you can then best accurately gauge your improvement over mastering the system 7
Presentation: Quite simply the best way to introduce a new way of gaming to your loyal customers, and in our opinion shows the sense of responsibility and gratitude by the Japanese corporate giant to their consumers by offering them the most enjoyable and fun to play instruction manual ever devised. 8