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Peter Jackson's King Kong Review

Image for Peter Jackson's King Kong

Play as the great ape - fight V Rexes! throw cars around!

★★★★

While most Academy Award-winning directors are only too happy to distance themselves from the inevitable console spin-offs from their movies, Peter Jackson was actively involved in choosing Ubisoft’s Montpellier studio to create the King Kong video game, impressed by the developer’s work on the underrated sci-fi adventure, Beyond Good & Evil. The Canadian coders in turn spent much time in New Zealand presenting early builds to Jackson, drawing heavily on the effects work of Weta Digital to ensure Skull Island’s simian sovereign looked every bit as imposing as his big screen counterpart. Not surprisingly, the results are stunning.

Mixing first-person shooting sequences where you play as Jack Driscoll, and dramatic scenes of third-person platforming where you control the titular ape, King Kong allows players to experience both ends of the food chain; as Driscoll, escaping from Skull Island involves dodging ravenous raptors as you flee through the jungle, while Kong has the power to lay the smack down on his prehistoric rivals, casually snapping a T-Rex’s jawbone to liberate his diminutive love interest.

Although it draws heavily on familiar genres, the game brings fresh ideas to Driscoll’s Doom-style episodes, forcing players to use survival techniques and keep a close eye on the natural environment. To escape a trio of raptors, for instance, players can use a discarded spear to catch a fish and distract the hungry lizards, light the stick and set the jungle ablaze, or
simply skewer their screeching enemies the old-fashioned way.

The graphics push the current consoles hard – especially in the lumbering model of Kong, brought to life by silky animation and a dramatic sense of weight – but while the game is frustrating as it teases you with a vast jungle environment but forces you down a narrow pathway, King Kong is still a more inspired way to experience Jackson’s sense of adventure than the shoddy spin-offs based on Lord Of The Rings.

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