King Kong

The King Kong presentation at this year's E3 was, aptly, one of the biggest events at Ubisoft's stand. Peter Jackson is a huge fan of BG&E, and cites that as the reason for choosing Ubisoft Montreal (and creative director, Michel Ancel in particular) to collaborate on the game.

Familiar filmic themes abound from the start, with a semi-naked damsel tied to a stake, and tribal natives dancing around chanting "Kong! Kong!"

And what a great ape! Beautifully rendered, towering over everything before him. Unfortunately, Ubisoft is unwilling to release any monkey images to the public prior to the film studio's unveiling of this new Kong, but take our word for it that both game and ape look amazing. Going beyond the film's narrative has provided Ancel with the scope to carve a truly inspired action ride, and switching perspectives at key plot points from man to ape and back again is a novel way to capture the sympathetic side of the great beast, even if those moments appear to be extended punch-ups with dinosaurs.


The brutal nature of these fights - headbutts, POP-style agility, even grabbing a T-Rex's jaw and ripping it off at one point - combined with the emotionally charged visual style of Kong (wonky mouth, jutting teeth, slightly 'thick' look - at least when he's not roaring and ripping dinosaur limbs apart) instantly elevates the titular monkey far above the usual bland one-dimensional gaming monsters. This is an ape you'll feel for. Even when you're fleeing for your life.

Speaking of which, while you're in the Adrian Brody role, the experience is one of merely trying to work out how to remain uneaten. It's very survival-based - running through the mist-drenched jungle, chased by either enraged natives, irate giant monkeys, ravenous dinosaurs or bizarrely-sized jungle creatures.

Luckily, you're not alone. The film's stars are here in force, specifically Jack Black, helping you and each other out with some impressive survival AI. The jungle provides plenty of inspiration for weapons, too - spears can be made on the fly - as well as making for some exciting set pieces. A precarious rope bridge level has all the tension you'd expect from knowing that giant beasties are all around and death is just a slippery step away...

The E3 demo made no mention of the city-side of the game, but with Kong scaling the Empire State Building being one of the most iconic images in film history, we're expecting a fair amount of Rampage-style action to be taking place once you're free of the jungle environs.

For now we're plenty satisfied with these gloomy, rain-soaked jungle screens. If they're good enough for Jackson...