reviews\ Nov 13, 2002 at 7:00 pm

Disney's PK: Out of the Shadows - PS2 - Review

Growing up, children have seen a variety of different cartoons from Disney. Some of the most popular ones are Mickey Mouse, Donald Duck, Goofy, and their friends. From time to time, an offshoot of these characters is made, and at some point, characters will have special powers. This time, Donald Duck will be endowed with the powers of a super hero. Will this game prove to be a gimmick, or does Donald Duck really make the transition from a goofy character always getting into trouble, to a smooth and agile superhero?

The story for the game is as follows: Donald Duck was hired as a security guard in Uncle Scrooge's new building. While on guard one night, One, a super computer, contacted Donald and changed his life. With One's help Donald turned into a real life super hero, who is equipped with all the latest gadgets to fight crime, and an awesome costume. On this night, PK was born, but he needs to gain experience and training before he can help the world from evil. During this time, the malicious Evronains, a warrior class of aliens, decided to invade and conquer the Earth. So with no training, PK must set out to save the Earth from the impending doom.

There are several characters in the game, they are: PK, One, Evronians, Zoster, Zondag, and Coolflames. PK, is Donald Duck's superhero identity; and it is short for "Platyrhynchos Kineticus" or Duck of Energy. Since he is new on the job, he has a lot to prove, and a multitude of things to learn if he is going to accomplish his mission. One is a super-computer who can create all sorts of gadgets. He is only a green floating head, and decided to help the world from being destroyed, he needed to create a superhero, and hence PK was created. Evronians are aliens that thirst for battle, and to appease this appetite, they look for new planets to conquer. Zoster is a mad scientist that is only looking to achieve his private agenda, and will use any means necessary to do so. Zondag is the commander of the Earth invasion, and he will crush anyone who comes in his way. Coolflames are creatures that are robbed of all of their emotions and turned into slaves by the Evronians. They are a deadly and a mighty force to contend with.

The controls for the game are the same as most action games. The Left analog stick is used for PK movement. The R1 button is used for PK sight, and the camera movement; and R2 is used for targeting. Press the X button to jump, and double press it to do a propulsion jump, which will help players get to those hard to reach areas. Square is used to fire PK weapon. When PK acquires the necessary power up, hold the square button to charge up a mighty blast. Throughout the game PK will acquire new costumes, which will give him new powers, pressing the circle button will change the costumes out. At times there will be multiple enemies on the screen, and when players have an enemy locked on, they can switch targets by using the right analog stick.

PK: Out of the Shadows is rated E for everybody and contains mild violence. Players will need 320kb on their memory card to save.

Gameplay: 5.8
PK: Out of the Shadows controls are pretty tight. Players will come to grips with the control scheme, and will be navigating PK through each level like a pro within minutes. The problem with the game is that it is too simple; the level design is as straightforward as it can get. The only puzzles offered are when PK acquires a new power up, such as breaking through the floors. The combat systems are reminisant of games such as Dark Cloud, player's lock on and fire their weapon, than repeat. There is little, I mean no challenge involved. Players will get bored with this game quickly

Graphics: 6.0
The game has a very cartoonish/comic book style look, with everything outlined in a dark black line, and looks pretty decent. The graphics engine is not pushing the PlayStation 2 at all. All of the environments that PK visits look empty; they are not detailed in any sense. Although, PK has a nice set of animations that helps bring the character to life. Given that the graphics are not highly detailed, it is odd to see occasional pop-up and a horrid draw-in distance.

Sound: 5.2
What is nice about this game is that it offers players to play in three different languages: English, French, and Italian. This is a pretty nifty option to play the game through another language, but it is more of a novelty. The relevant question is how does the English voices sound like? Players will be disappointed to hear drab voice-overs. An example of this is PK's mentor; the voice used is really annoying! The sound effects and the music are nothing spectacular either.

Difficulty: Easy
Let me make one thing clear: this game was obviously made for younger gamers. PK: Out of the Shadows is extremely easy; players who have played any action/platforming games will beat this game quickly.

Concept: 5.3
If PK: Out of the Shadows came out before this generation of systems came out, it would have been a hit, but when compared to games such as Jak and Daxter, Sly Cooper, and Mario Sunshine, this game just can't compare. Nothing new is offered compared to these innovative games; it is all about collecting items and going to the next place to do the same. It is a shame to see well-known Disney characters wasted on games such as these with poor game design.

Overall: 5.4
PK: Out of the Shadows is average, that doesn't try to do anything new. I found myself getting bored with it, while playing through the entire game. The game is just too repetitive and easy. This game will appease parents who are looking for a non-violent game for their children. If you do not fall into this category, I suggest you skip this game and go for something else. There are plenty of new action games that have been released, just in the past few months that will give players a better challenge, and more bang for their buck.


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