I have to confess that apart from pairing it with my Playstation Move controller, I have had little use for my PS3 Playstation Eye. Of course, I did spend hours with it when playing Eye of Judgment, but after that my Playstation Eye has been gently hibernating in my games drawer. So this weekend I decided to have some fun with Kung Fu Live, a fairly new game that has popped up on the Playstation Store.
Kung Fu Live takes your standard side-scrolling combat game and turns it around by putting your image in the game. And by your image I don’t mean some dinky avatar or a photo of yourself, I mean full live motion capture integrated into the game. The story behind Kung Fu Live is rather irrelevant, but is told beautifully through comic book panels. The fun part here is that you get to participate in these comics by striking particular poses, which are then superimposed into the comic so it looks like you are beating up bad guys, falling to the ground, etc. Taking these photos successfully is a bit of a hit and miss, as you only have four seconds for each pose, and they range from standing on one leg to rushing towards the camera for a close-up photo.
Once you actually start playing the game, there is very little to really learn – enemies appear on screen to attack you, and as you punch, kick, or slap the air, your on-screen persona will beat the stuffing out of your opponents. You can rack up insane combos with a flurry of punches or kicks, and you can even pick up a real life object to fight with. You can also pull off certain special moves such as electrocuting enemies or flying towards them with a devastating punch. But given your freedom of movement and no set rules, you can ace most levels in a matter of minutes with some well aimed punches.
While the concept is brilliant and indeed gives you an incredible workout, the execution isn’t the greatest. For one thing, you spend a good amount of time first calibrating the game to recognize you, and this involves stepping around and posing, adjusting your lighting, and maybe even a change of clothes. Despite running through the setup process flawlessly, my onscreen projection had no feet, and regularly was missing chunks through most of the cutscenes. The game also calls for a ridiculous amount of space around you, even more so than Kinect, which isn’t always possible. Mind you, if you’ve got other people in the room watching you play, then I highly recommend plenty of playing space unless you want to roundhouse kick one of your friends. Should you tire of going up against computer opponents, your friends can pick up a controller and try to fight against you.
Kung Fu Live is a ton of fun to play and watch, despite its somewhat poor execution. It certainly is an incredible workout and will provide tons of fun to anyone who considers themselves a kung-fu legend. Just make sure there’s no one sitting close by!