Posted 2 years ago By - Marko Djordjevic
Although Sony’s PlayStation Eye has been around since 2007, its use has been fairly limited until the recent launch of their PS Move peripheral. In an interesting decision, independent studio Virtual Air Guitar from Finland have released their first game, Kung-Fu Live; a brawler that uses the PS Eye unit to track your actions and put you into the game. While the idea is great in principle, there are far too many issues preventing it from being worth your time or your money. Hiyah? More like Hiyow...
Kung-Fu Live puts you in the role of a newly hired comic-book shop employee who - after a run-in with a few thugs - unleashes an evil threat that could end of all civilization. You must use your mad martial arts skills in order to stop this wicked opposition from reigning terror on our world.
The game utilizes the PS Eye Camera to track your actions as you literally will try to kick and punch your way through the various chapters in the story. The idea of being able to throw yourself into the game sounds fun at first, but the way you interact with the environments and oppositions becomes so cumbersome that few will find any actual enjoyment.
For starters, the game requires not only a good amount of space but proper lighting and clothing for you to be recognized by the camera at all times. If you lack both, then the camera will have a hard time tracking your actions. While I had more than enough space in my home, the game was never able to fully recognize me at all points. I tried a number of different set-ups including adding additional lighting, wearing lime-green and/or dark blue shirts to help me stand out against my beige wall but it rarely made things better. Those with access to super-bright lighting will be able to by-pass these kinds of problems, but for others, being well-recognized will constantly require you to move things around and fine tune things.
When you finally start playing, the next issue is the lack of recognition of your actions. This is a game built around kicking and punching and rarely did my actions properly translate to my intended moves. In-game, there are four special moves that you obtain as you play; these include a power-punch, a lighting strike and the ability to time-stop. For the power-punch, you need to have both your arms pushing the same direction to perform the action. In most situations, simply doing that with one arm was enough, or when I wanted to perform this action, it would instead just shimmy me closer or further away from the foe instead of doing the punch.
A similar issue occurred with the time-stop ability. In one chapter, you have the ability to fly when your hands are out, but the same motion is required for the time stop. To do the Time-Stop, you make a V-shape but when I was putting them straight out to fly, it thought I was doing a V and I was unable to reach higher ground. This lack of proper recognition only causes more frustration than enjoyment.
The problems continue with the very rudimentary enemy-AI. Regardless of the difficulty setting you choose, the AI is quite predictable but cheap at the same time. It’s nice that the game doesn’t allow for you to simply flail around and punch to defeat each foe but you can clearly see a pattern in their actions and this can be used that to your advantage, that is, when you’re actually able to play properly.
But that’s not to say that you can’t exploit things. For a good portion of the game, I decided to grab a nearby broom and then proceeded to beat a few rounds of foes by merely waving that around the screen. It ended up being more effective since I could use it to do head, body and leg attacks without me having to be super physical.
The story itself is fairly short and if you do decide to play through it, should be completed in a matter of hours. Outside of that, there are a few extra modes which include the ability to go into quick-battles and replay a few sequences. There is also a multiplayer option which allows your friends to control the thugs on-screen, but it only offers very short periods of excitement.
In all, Kung-Fu Live is an utter mess. There could have been a really enjoyable game here but there are far too many variables and issues that handicap the experience. Even if they tried to cater this to a younger audience, the few moments of fun are so spaced out that even kids will quickly look for something better. Had this game been released back in 2007 or 2008, when the PS Eye first came out, then we could be more forgiving; at the tail-end of 2010 and what we know can be done with both the PS Move and Kinect, this is a game that will quickly be forgotten.
+ Your implementations in said sequences are enjoyable
- Player recognition and responsiveness is very spotty
- Short campaign
- Weak multiplayer
- Extremely dated
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Release Date : 2010/12/07
System : PlayStation 3
Publisher : Sony Computer Entertainment
Developer : Virtual Air Guitar
Category : Action
ESRB : T
7.0 / 10
8.5 / 10
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