I am sure some of you out there could have just guessed the words I am about to write before I even typed them. To date, video games based on movies in the box office have had a terrible track record once turned into video games. Even some of the biggest blockbusters ever have been turned into some of the worst games of all time. Today we are going to talk about one of my favorite movies of 2005, Peter Jackson’s King Kong, which was ported as a video game by Ubi Soft. So could they recreate the magic of the big black ape? Read our full review to find out!
Let’s just start with the story, and no, I am not going to discuss the whole three and half hour movie to you, but just to give you an idea of what the game does. Basically what Ubi Soft decided to do was stay as close as possible to the movie’s story, which was a good idea. Therefore if you haven’t seen the movie or any previous King Kong movies, then there will of course be the obvious spoilers. The game unfortunately kind of leaves thing a little open and leaves crucial parts of the movie out in the game, and therefore for those who are unfamiliar (all two of you) there might be some confusion. Otherwise if you know Kong, you will know the story anyway.
Ok so let’s talk about King Kong. This is not your typical action game, but instead is broken up into two separate parts. You have the first person action/adventure elements when playing as Jack Crystal, the scriptwriter in the movie, and of course the big ape himself King Kong. The game puts a heavier emphasis on playing as Jack Crystal, which is kind of a weird combination of adventure and FPS elements. Let’s continue to discuss this area of the gameplay because it is the one you’re going to be spending a lot of time in.
When playing as Jack, you will find that the controls at first feel a bit slower than you might be used to be, but this becomes natural after awhile. What is neat about this area of the game is that it feels so realistic. The game only allows you to hold one gun, which is a bit of a letdown for those wanting to go two guns blazing, but you can pick up weapons in the field for your use. One of the other neat features of this game is that you can really use the environments as your weapons, which work well.
You’re not just going to be shooting up the bad monsters and such when playing as Jack, but also deal with some puzzles, which are a good mix to the flow of the game. I have to say that I just liked the way that these portions of the games played. It didn’t feel like most other first person games. It was an acquired taste, one in which I wasn’t a huge fan of at first, but as I played I found more and more to like about it. These portions of the game may not be anything spectacular or over the top, and they may not even be the best part of the game, but they are just a solid look into the King Kong universe.
Of course now we can get onto the other side of the game when you take the role of Kong himself. These areas are broken down into swinging through the environments or taking out monsters. Swing around is just such a cool feel and it just works really well and feels so realistic. The action in the game may be simplistic, but to play as Kong is just a really exciting experience. Going head to head against two or three t-rex is just an awesome experience.
This game may not be a perfect rendition but it is by far the best movie to game iteration of 2005. The people over at Ubi Soft did a fantastic job of creating a very fun and entertaining game that fans of the movie or even the old movies are really going to enjoy. The game does have some smaller problems and very little replay value that holds it back from being great, but in the end this is just one solid King Kong experience.
The one thing that Ubi Soft did with Peter Jackson’s King Kong was it kept the same look and feel that was portrayed in the movie. So if you liked the sometimes grainy feel of the movie, then you to will really be taken away by the games visuals. The game looks its best when you play as King Kong, as the game takes a very cinematic approach here and just watching these epic battles take place is just really quite a spectacle. It is here where you will also see a great deal of detail on Kong and the environments and just literally a great experience. Although not the same style, it does remind me a lot of Shadow of Colossus for the PS2.
King Kong doesn’t have the same "wow" factor when you play as Jack in the game, but the visuals aren’t anything bad in this portion of the game, as the big beasts in which you play against also look fantastic. You just have to hand it to Ubi Soft for the amazing work they did with the visuals in this game, as they have just a ton of detail and just a great movie-like feeling.
I have to say that although the gameplay in the game is solid and the visuals are great, the game wasn’t what I would call a "breathtaking" experience. Instead King Kong was just a really enjoyable game that had some dry spots when playing as Jack. There were times in the game where frustration becomes a problem and other times when you are loving life because taking out the bad guys as Kong is just an exhilarating experience. If you like the movie you will have fun with this game but let me say there will be some portions where the fun becomes a little sidetracked.
If there was ever a time I wanted to give a game an extra half a point it is now, because Peter Jackson’s King Kong is just such an amazing accomplishment. And yet once you finish it there is just nothing really to do. Therefore this is a game that really is on the cusp of deserving that "great" category, but it just didn’t quite make it. If you like King Kong and are even thinking this game sounds good, I would highly recommend giving this game a try. It will surprise you with how deep the Jack sections are and how great it is to actually take the reigns of King Kong.
The owner and editor-in-chief of Darkstation.com. I've been apart of the website since 2002 and purchased the website in 2010. Owning and running Darkstation is a dream come true. I love video games and I love writing and talking about them even more.