Just when people were ready to label the PS2-esque Gollum as the worst title this year, Skull Island: Rise Of Kong took Twitter and Reddit by storm with a short clip of a cutscene.
Not seen it personally? Well, in brief: A dinosaur enemy shows its teeth. We get a shot of King Kong’s back. A .png of another dinosaur appears on screen, weirdly with assets still visible either side like it was just placed in the engine. Kong’s eyes vibrate in his skull. He roars, leaps over, and starts attacking where the dinosaur presumably is, but we only see its tail for a second before it disappears. Kong starts slamming the ground, except he isn’t, as we can see his hands at waist height. Rocks fly up from nowhere.
It’s funny. It’s really funny. We looked at it in our topics meeting and every so often someone else would break into laughter again.
It Costs How Much?!
When I saw the footage I immediately assumed it was from some amateur free-to-play mobile game, maybe some well-intentioned but jankily-executed student project?
No, it’s a premium PC game that’s priced at £34.99. Wait, don’t worry. You can pick it up at the discounted price of £27.99. Or you can get the ‘Colossal Edition’ for £36.70, reduced from £47.78. What do you get for your extra money?
Several film grain effects, skins for your giant gorilla, and a boss rush mode. There’s also behind-the-scenes content. While I do certainly have questions about what went on behyind the scenes, I’m not sure I’d part with significantly more money for the privilege of finding out.
Was this just an unfortunate-looking cutscene taken out of context? Is the visual jank hiding a rough diamond? In the interests of fairness, I decided to dig deeper and find out. Game development isn’t easy, and I don’t like stomping on studios without good reason.
Is It Really That Bad?
We took a look at some gameplay, and the Steam page. If they’re anything to go by, don’t expect a big redemption arc for Rise Of Kong The reviews cite unbearable glitches that forced them to restart the game, an empty world, and very little actual content for the price.
From what we’ve seen of the gameplay, we will be fair. For the most part the cutscenes don’t look as bad as the video circulating. The clip is a low point and not all of them look nearly as silly. The downside is the game is still not great. It follows the origin story of the big gorilla as he punches dinosaurs to avenge the death of his parents. It’s repetitive, full of graphical bugs, and seems to play more like a free-to-play mobile game than a title you’re parting with lots of money for.
While game development is not easy, this cannot be justified for the money it is priced at, whether that is due to time pressure or lack of effort. Somewhere along the line, the game clearly didn’t get enough attention in key areas.
So there’s your answer. Is Skull Island: Rise Of Kong as bad as the video? Maybe not. Is it bad? Yeah, looks like it’s pretty bad. We don’t recommend spending the money, even if you love the giant ape. You’re probably better off picking up the 2005 game instead.