Peter Jackson's King Kong: the Official Game of the Movie
A lot or a little?
The parents' guide to what's in this game.
What parents need to know
Parents need to know that this is an intense action game in which players will kill giant insects, crabs, bats, dinosaurs, and some humans. Most of the action is presented through a first-person view, and the violence involves both shooting with guns and stabbing with spears. Some third-person passages depict King Kong breaking the heads of dinosaurs and smashing humans. Though the action can be tense and the game provides many startles, the violence is generally bloodless and gore-free.
What's it about?
PETER JACKSON'S KING KONG: THE OFFICIAL GAME OF THE MOVIE follows the plot of the movie, which is similar to the classic 1933 film: movie-makers venture to tropical Skull Island for exotic location filming. Players mostly play as Jack, a screenwriter on the project, as he and the crew rescue the beautiful actress Ann after Kong abducts her. Players occasionally control the big ape, too, including when he is captured and put on show in New York City, and when he scales the Empire State Building before falling to his death.
This is mostly a first-person shooter with some third-person passages. Most of the action consists of shooting or spearing giant creepy-crawlies and dinosaurs, while finding handles to open doors and torches to burn through bramble. As Kong, players grapple with scores of dinosaurs and swing through the scenery. Kong also has to pound his way through the streets of New York City.
Is it any good?
PETER JACKSON'S KING KONG: THE OFFICIAL GAME OF THE MOVIE is a beautiful, atmospheric, exciting, and tense game -- while it lasts. Both Kong followers and fans of first-person shooters will find plenty to love, but at only five or six hours, many players would be better off renting it. The jungles of Skull Island, the setting for about 90 percent of the game, seem hot and steamy, with shafts of light piercing the mist through the canopy of leaves.
The bulk of the violence is directed at beasts, without much blood. The Kong scenes are undermined by sluggish controls and simple action -- fighting creatures often boils down to frantic button mashing. All in all, this is very much like playing a movie: There is no on-screen display, crosshairs, ammo gauges, or health bars to obscure the view (although some of these features can be turned on from the options menu). Immersing players in the movie does lead to linear gameplay, though, which reduces the replay value.
Talk to your kids about ...
Families can talk about how games based on movies are used to market movies and related merchandise. How are the release dates tied together? Are you more likely to be interested in a movie if you enjoy the game (or vice versa)? How does a video game based on a movie limit the story the game can tell?
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