Review By: Eric Rehm
|# Of Players:||1-2|
With the release of almost any children’s movie comes the inevitable multi-system game following it with the same title. Shrek The Third is no exception. Released a bit before the theatrical version, Shrek The Third follows the path of Shrek, Donkey, and other stars of the Dreamworks animated film. As with nearly every movie tie-in game, Shrek The Third loosely follows the storyline of the movie.
If you haven’t seen the movie, then the story might be new to you...but then it wouldn’t exactly make sense to play a movie-tie-in game without first seeing the movie. Regardless of your movie preferences, the game starts off with Shrek needing to find an heir to the throne to Far Far Away land, while at the same time the evil Prince Charming stages a coup attempt, trying to regain what he lost in the other movies. You take the lead and head off to find the new heir.
The game is a basic action adventure game following all the linear an unimaginative plot devices and action that we see in most C ranked games and movie tie-ins. You’ve got to open doors, collect coins, and defeat hordes of similar enemies with the same two button combos. To call this repetitive would be an understatement, it’s more along the lines of one secular unchanging combat mode with numerous enemies of the same kind. Basically, it’s a pathetic example of a button masher, even compared to most button mashers. The game does nothing to expand the genre, or tries to do anything experimental to further the genre…it’s just another bad movie tie-in game.
The majority of the story is told via a puppet show cutscene, giving you a simple background before tossing you into the game. I have to say, these are the most entertaining parts of the game, because then you don’t have to deal with the clunky frame rates and combat. For seemingly no reason at all the framerate randomly slows to about half of normal, and the entire game just chugs along, especially in combat. This was really annoying as it happened multiple times, to the point where I thought something could be wrong with my 360. I tried it on another system with the same results, so either we’ve got multiple failing systems (not uncommon in the Xbox 360 world) or Shrek the Third really really sucks. I’m voting for the latter.
As with most beat-em-up action adventure games, there are special abilities available to help stomp your enemies. Shrek the Third utilizes fairy dust as the juice to power your attacks. Each character has a different special attack, ranging from a weak version of bullet time for Shrek, called Ogre Power, to Sleeping Beauty’s floating prowess. You gain fairy dust by beating enemies, and it fills a three slot meter in your HUD. Releasing special attacks takes one slot, or using a special power takes all three. The special power is nice, but rarely needed, seeing as how easy the game is. They just end up making it easier to a disgusting level.
The graphics are the best part of the game (compared to the same game on other systems), with some fair representations of the game's big screen counterparts. At times the animations are clunky though, and some areas just don't feel as though they were finished graphically. There should have been extra work put into it to make this beautiful, and to do some honor to the big screen's fantastic CGI graphics, but alas it did not come to pass. Another unsavory aspect is the voice acting. One would imagine that they’d be able to get the actual voice cast for an animated movie to do some easy one liners for the game. Instead they’ve got actors that sound similar, but are a bit off. You’ll first notice that Shrek is not Mike Meyers, and Donkey is not Eddie Murphy. While they sound similar, it’s off just enough to make the game seem much worse in comparison.
Also missing in the game is the quality writing that makes the movies hilarious. The one liners that made Shrek famous are nowhere to be found, as we’re left with a bland script that tries to achieve what the movies did, but ends up failing miserably. The delivery is off by the voice actors, the animations rarely match up, and the jokes just aren’t funny, which is a death sentence for a game based off a comedy. The jokes seem if they’re geared for a five year old, but I guess that’s who the game is geared to in general, because there’s no way I’d buy this.
The one redeeming quality the game has is in the brand itself. If your kid likes an easy game, and likes Shrek, this isn’t a terrible game to pick up. Most likely it’ll be cheap, especially with so many likely returned or put on the used market. I could see this being a decent game for the younger crowd, especially on a system that has a lack of good children’s games. The only other reason I’d recommend this game is for the easy achievements. The achievements range from using your special attacks multiple times to beating the game, so if you’re in the mood to boost your gamerscore with some easy points, this might be a rentable game, otherwise don’t waste your time.
If you're looking for a decent kids game for the 360 or some easy achievement points, then this may be a decent rental. Otherwise, don't even give it the time of day.
Posted: 2007-09-15 10:23:23 PST