Sticking their cyber fingers up to Microsoft’s latest baby in a firm ‘two fingered salute’ comes Air Guitar Company’s excellent and endearing Kung Fu Live for the Ps3. With slick controls and fun to play combat will this spell a miss or roundhouse style hit for the Chop Sockey Beat ‘Em Up? Let’s pull on our black jim-jam’s and don our red snake belt as we high kick our way through the review of the first full body motion capture to hit the Playstation 3.
After finding suitable employment at Madame Wei’s Comic Emporium the last thing that you expected on your first day of work was to be sucked into one of the magical volumes that adorn the dusty old book shops shelves as you get transported to mysterious temple. Before you can say ” Don’t watch the finger ” in your best Bruce Lee voice, you suddenly find yourself surrounded by hordes of karate chopping adversaries as you fight off your unknown assailants with whatever moves you can devise from your own personal style of Kung Fu. I like to think of my own personal take on the age-old martial art as the ‘ Drunken Cat.‘ A blend of Jackie Chan’s wonderful Drunken Master combined with all the wide-eyed stupidity of Felix the Cat. With that you have your entrance into the first real full body motion tracker for the Playstation 3.
Mixing comic-book stylings and Hong Kong B-Movie action has proved to be an inspired move by the developers, as it has allowed them to create a game that allows you to immerse yourself fully into the gameplay whilst still being fun enough to be enjoyable as you and your friends laugh out loud at some of your ‘Ninja-esque’ flailings.
The fact that the set up, which takes full advantage of the Playstation Eye camera and allows even the most inept of Karate Kid’s out there to have their ‘moves’ interpreted by the PsEye as full on martial arts mastery, proves to be an instant hit as the game takes you from one high-kicking adventure to the next.
Movement is smooth and although they may be a few teething problem’s the gameplay does not suffer too much at the games few flaws. One of which is enemies being out of range of the camera so that you cannot reach your opponents. This can, however, be quickly overcome by the use of one of the many special moves that you are able to obtain throughout the game, not least one of the games best, the ‘sliding punch’, which allows you to cover a lot of ground rapidly and so negates the problem of out of reach enemies. This is also particularly handy as you are treated to this bad guy beater very early on in the game and as such quickly became one of our favourite special moves.
Other highlights of the combat system had to be the games ability to give you the sense of urgency as you battle the ever increasingly difficult enemies. Although your foes may have better moves, more skill and additional special abilities to you, such as being able to teleport from one side to the other as you attempt to land a knockout blow on the chin of the sneaky little blighter, you still get the impression that you are facing competent fighters, and when you combine this with the actual physical exertion that you must expend to achieve your objectives then you do get the sense of immediacy and urgency that is normally confined for combatants inside the ring or on the mats of their dojo.
Don’t get us wrong here, there are going to be the obvious comparisons with the Microsoft Kinect method of motion control, and there are going to be supporters and detractors of Air Guitar’s system, but al we have to say on the matter is until you have tried Kung Fu Live for yourself, then don’t knock it. Considering that the game uses little more to achieve the same results as the Kinect system, other than a camera and a home-made green screen, it is a credit to the developers that to enjoy this level of technology they have to do no more than fork out for a game and a PsEye as opposed to purchasing a £150 hardware add-on.
With the obvious home of this kind of title being at parties and social get together’s you would be wrong if you were to think that this is all that Kung Fu Live had to offer you as a game. The single player experience is a gruelling work out to even the most athletic of gamers, but with the settings and moves being very accommodating this does not mean that it cannot be used as a very capable tool for those members of the public out there looking to shed a few pounds, or just to stay in trim in the comfort of their own home without having the added expense of a yearly gym membership.
Quirky, cracking and great fun for all ages of gamer Kung Fu Live will bring smiles to the faces of those Playstation 3 owners who dared to rise to the challenge. A fun new way to fight yourself fit has just arrived for all Sony owners courtesy of Air Guitar Company.
Graphics: Bright and brassy the comic book style of Kung Fu Live fits in perfectly with what the developers at Air Guitar Company had in mind for the gameplay of this all-action title. With little in the way to go wrong, and the frame rates being silky whereas the glitches are non-existent, players will enjoy all the benefits of full body motion control gaming without the laggy headaches and humiliating choreography. 7
Gameplay: Great stuff from Air Guitar Company as they bring a high-end technology experience for a low-end price tag. Awesome combat and cracking special moves combine to bring non-stop action from the first front kick to the last. 7
RePlay Value: Kung Fu Live will probably stand the test of time a lot better than the myriad of controllerless and motion-controlled based game that have littered the shelves of your local gaming store of late. The reason behind it? Simple: Unpretentious gaming that delivers on its promises at a cost-effective rate. 7
Presentation: Considering the amount of fighting titles that have appeared for Kinect and Playstation Move recently, and let’s not even count the myriad of games released for the Nintendo Wii, we are pleased to be able to tell you that if this is the kind of game that appeals to you, and you own a Ps3, then the decision to purchase Kung Fu Live as opposed to its host of rivals is going to be the one that leaves you with the biggest smile on your face. Great value, great action and great fun. 7