Kung-Fu Live Review

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Kung-Fu Live

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Meet the strict criteria for set-up and calibration and you might enjoy the novelty of seeing yourself kicking ass on screen, but you'll still have to battle with the controls just as much as you will against the bad guys.

We like

  • Seeing ourselves on screen, kicking ass
  • The comic book art style and over-the-top, humourous story mode

We dislike

  • The strict criteria for getting the game to actually work
  • How it fails to recognize your moves consistently. The PlayStation Eye just wasn't made for full body motion-sensing

See PSU's review on Metacritic & GameRankings

More than three years after it first launched, the PlayStation Eye has finally found a regular place on top of millions of T.V. sets worldwide thanks to the launch of PlayStation Move. And - if the free-motion technology that Virtual Air Guitar has created for its new PlayStation Network brawler, Kung-Fu Live, takes off - it might even turn out in the future that you don’t need to clutch a Move controller in your hands at all, or anything else for that matter to get your motion-sensing kicks.

The Finnish company has created and patented the technology to turn the PlayStation Eye in to a full body motion-sensing device that tracks your every movement around the room. In Kung-Fu Live, you don’t need a magic card, or a magic wand to make wondrous things happen on screen. You just need to have the flexibility of a sex doll and the stamina of Bruce Lee so that you kick some serious ass, but most importantly you need to ensure that you adhere to the strict criteria for getting the game up and running.

To set-up Kung Fu Live to a state where it’s actually playable is a job of mammoth proportions -- that is unless you live in an empty and very bright warehouse. Oh, and you better check your wardrobe to make sure you’ve got clothes that aren’t the same colour as the walls of your room while you’re playing -- a white frock, similar to what Jesus wore, and a room painted entirely black would be perfect. And close the curtains too, as you''ll want to avoid any direct sunlight; and make sure you’re not playing in front of a window. The list continues. As you can probably gather, we found the set-up and calibration of Kung-Fu Live to be a complete nightmare.

In fact, this is the first time that we’ve had to relocate to not just another room, but another house so we can play a game, one where we do have 2.5x 3m (7x9ft) of space in front of the T.V, with no clutter or furniture either side, and sufficient lighting to be able to get a half decent picture of us to appear on screen. Calibration requires you to position yourself in your room so that you appear in a silhouette on screen, and with hands raised you still need to ensure you’re totally within the confines of the T.V. If you're tall that means you'll probably have to stand quite far back - in our case, we had to stand 9ft away, almost in our next door neighbour’s garage. Shorter folk will probably get away with standing around 7ft away.

In all fairness, you are informed during the set-up process that you need to ensure you meet the criteria to get the best experience out of Kung-Fu Live, and there are lots of options to tinker with to try and get your silhouette mapped perfectly on screen. There are even 16 pages dedicated to the set-up process in the game manual. What someone should tell you, however - like we’re doing right now - is all of this set-up information before you buy the game. As you’ll be none the wiser, there’s going to be a lot of people with modest living rooms/bedrooms who just won't be able to play it effectively at all. And then, even with the right conditions, it isn’t always going to perform the way it should.

The technology used in Kung-Fu Live is initially impressive. The PlayStation Eye maps your body, cuts around it and then places you right in to the game. When you first see yourself, dressed in whatever you want to wear (strapping a bandana around the head is a must!) it's an exciting moment. It's like you've literally jumped in to the pages of a comic book and become a bad ass, crime fighting ninja. Well, in fact, that's precisely what you've done. In the story mode, you play as an employee at Madame Wei's Comic Emporium, where you find yourself transported in to one of the comics where you find yourself up against a range of villains, from ninjas to beastly giants.

Kung-Fu Live is a side scrolling beat ‘em ... (continued on next page) ----

A gamer since the days of the ZX Spectrum, Steven Williamson now works as General Manager for PSU. He's supposed to be managing, but if you're reading this, it means he's dipped into editorial again. Follow @steven_gamer
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  • Related game: Kung-Fu Live

    Release date (US):
    December 7th, 2010
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