by Blackened Beans
reviewed on PS3
To call Rag Doll Kung Fu a game is a bit of a stretch, and to call it a good game is a total lie. In fact, it might be one of the PlayStation Network’s worst games. And not just because it is so insanely boring and repetitive, but because it had such potential. It was creative, it was goofy, and it had ninja dolls. How did it get screwed up? The game is plagued by broken, unresponsive controls, annoying music, repetitive challenges, and no online play. The latter is the game’s biggest flaw, seeing as it is a multiplayer-focused game. While some of these detractors are tolerable, taken together they ruin what could have been a huge hit.
Rag Doll Kung Fu is a fighting game, in the vein of other mainstays like Smash Bros. and Mortal Kombat. It separates itself from the pack by including realistic physics. When you toss objects around the room, throw opponents, and jump and grab onto things, everything moves realistically. It all looks smooth and authentically puppet-like, but because the controls are unresponsive, you will rarely get to enjoy watching your character dance across the screen. I found myself pushing against the control stick and not going anywhere on multiple occasions, and sometimes I stood above an item, pressed the grab button, and grabbed the item next to me instead. Unfortunately, these inconsistencies aren’t rare, and their prevalence makes the game’s brain-dead combat even worse.
Although the main focus is multiplayer, for the some reason, the game is strictly offline. Yes, that’s right, it is a PlayStation 3 game in 2009 that’s completely focused on multiplayer and only has offline play. I’m enjoy local play a lot, but if it is a strictly multiplayer game with nothing else to do but play some shallow, repetitive challenges, then I would like to take the fight online. Sadly, someone decided this game was just so good that it didn’t need online, and there still hasn’t been a patch to fix it. Perhaps if there were a campaign or tournament mode of some kind, this flaw would be easier to overlook, but as it is, it just digs the game into a deeper hole.
Other than the multiplayer, there is not much else to do. You can’t fight the computer in a simple one-on-one match, so a few uninspired modes are your only option. There is the basic survival mode, which pits you in an arena with a bunch of really dumb AI opponents. Then there are some other equally pointless modes, such as one in which you throw shuriken at targets. The only reason to play these challenges is to unlock new parts for your doll, and since character customization isn’t all that fun, it is rather pointless.
It’s not a Doll, it’s an Action Figure!
While the character customization lets you save several different characters at once, you can’t delete characters you have already made. You also can’t your character for challenges, meaning that the first character you create will be automatically be used. If you want a new one, you have to edit your original character. This is just one of the many things that make the game feel half-done. The character editor lets you change all the basics, like the hands, feet, head, body, legs, hat, and all that stuff, but because the only items that look good together are the ones that are part of outfits, there’s not much incentive to be creative and mess with the clothing.
It doesn’t help that you have got to listen to the same annoying, peppy song play over and over again while creating your character and navigating menus. The sound effects aren’t bad, but they are highly unremarkable and, unlike the physics, are extremely unrealistic. There’s no voice acting, which, while not entirely surprising, is pretty dated, and a cheap way of getting out of extra work. It’s only appropriate, though, seeing as that’s what the developers did for just about everything else.
The graphics are the game’s best feature. For a downloadable game, Rag Doll Kung Fu looks excellent. The lighting is impressive, the art is unique, and the physics are great. The maps aren’t especially original, and they are extremely small, but they still look nice. The menus, however, are a different story. They are all an ugly yellow with a cheap rising sun effect added somewhere for good measure. It doesn’t match the game’s style at all, and it looks bad to boot.
There is really no reason to buy Rag Doll Kung Fu. It is boring, repetitive, and shallow. The challenges aren’t especially bad, but they are also not fun, and are generally unoriginal. The multiplayer itself is strictly offline, and there isn’t much incentive to play it, especially since the combat is pretty much brain dead and the maps all play exactly the same. Character customization is a disappointment, as well, due to the lame items and inability to select new challenge characters. Rag Doll Kung Fu had a lot of potential, but it fails in almost every aspect of its design, and the only good thing that can be said about it is that it looks pretty. At least Noby Noby Boy can be recommended to Trophy Whores, but even the game’s Trophies are rather frustrating ones. For ten dollars, you can do much better.
No Pros and Cons at this time