The King of Peter Jackson’s King Kong: The Official Game of the Movie

Continuing my Gamerscore binge, I rented Peter Jackson’s King Kong: The Official Game of the Movie, another (mouthful of a) title that is somewhat infamous in the 360 world for being a relatively easy 1000 points. I picked it up last night, but didn’t get a chance to play it until today. With the help of the invincibility code (which, conveniently, still allows achievements to be earned), I powered through it in about six hours. Overall, I would say that, especially now, there’s not much to recommend about this game.

Most of the games that I’ve played so far during this binge were released at or close to the 360’s official launch, and you can definitely see the rough edges here and there:

  • In King Kong, there is some shoddy animation in the game (particularly during the introductory boat-rowing sequence), missing lip-synch in some areas, dialogue vocals that were clearly recorded in pick-up sessions (and not by the original actor), missing links in the story, and lots of missing details. Characters in the game pivot about their origin, rather than taking a step or two. They frequently get caught on terrain, too. It’s clear that, from a technical standpoint, much more effort was invested on Kong himself than on the FPS sequences that comprise about 75% of the game — as a result, while Kong still looks decent for a next-gen game (and his animation still looks quite good), the rest of the game has a decidedly last-gen feel to it.
  • I ran into a bug in NHL 2K6‘s player editor where, if you try to exit editing a player, but cancel the exit, you will be unable to save the player until you completely exit the player editor and return. (Any changes you have made will be lost — there’s no way around this.)
  • NBA 2K6‘s player profile unlocks seem to share data with College Hoops 2K6 (which I had played long ago). After I started playing, I began getting tons of unlock messages as the game progressed, because it was using the same profile stats as College Hoops 2K6. Since the code checks for see if something should be unlocked whenever the appropriate game event occurs (i.e. a score, a dunk, a 3-pointer, a block, an assist, etc.), whenever I did just about anything in the first few minutes of the game, I would see an unlock message. This shouldn’t happen.
  • Madden NFL 06‘s commentary is pretty dreadful (and the color commentary is basically non-existent), and the in-game presentation itself is pretty lacking — I don’t recall seeing many post-play cutscenes or any other “flair” except some bizarre camera shots of an unoccupied part of the stadium. Also, it’s very clear that this edition of the game still uses a traditional single-threaded approach — when simulating seasons, the interface is generally unresponsive, and the background UI animation is very herky-jerky.

While it’s understandable that launch titles are going to have fit-and-finish issues, it is definitely a bit jarring playing them two years into the 360’s lifespan. Fortunately, for the most part I haven’t had to play these older games for very long…

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