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Shrek the Third Review

publisher: Activision
developer: Shaba Games
genre: Action

PIII 800, 512MB RAM, 1GB HDD, 64MB video card
ESRB rating: E

release date: May 15, 07
» All About Shrek the Third on ActionTrip

It was fun watching the first two Shrek movies. Granted, I *am* getting a bit tired of over-simplified and generic CGI storytelling with heavy reference to modern-day society. Everything just became too dreary after Finding Nemo.

As for Shrek, he is a cool guy though.

The ill-tempered ogre once again manages to get himself into a nice mess. Based on the latest movie, the video game continues the story right where the second flick ended. The kingdom of Far Far Away is in the market for a new king and Shrek, unsurprisingly, has no interest whatsoever in becoming heir to the throne. He heads out on a quest to locate, Arthur, Fiona's cousin, who should be an adequate successor to the throne. As fate would have it, the devious Prince Charming means to intervene and claim the throne for himself.

As players progress through the game, cut-scenes gradually reveal segments of the plot. Rather imaginatively, the designers have included FMV sequences in the form of a cool-looking 2D puppet show, which serves as a witty method of storytelling. It definitely adds a chubby layer of humor, largely thanks to the narrator King Harold, voiced by John Cleese.

Shrek the Third introduces a warn-out concept of combos and special powers, all wrapped in a typical 3D-platform style action-adventure. It's obvious 7 Studios and Activision targeted this game for kiddies playing on current-gen consoles, rather than the hardcore gaming crowd. So, if you feel the urge to experience a classic coin-collecting platform jumper, this might be just the ticket. But I would steer clear of the game if you're looking for a remotely challenging gaming experience.

There are a few factors at play, thanks to which Shrek the Third can sometimes be mildly entertaining. First off, the game's combat system is simple and it doesn't take more than a few minutes to get the hang of it - even for inexperienced gamers. Its straightforward design and fast-paced gameplay should be sufficient to lure the average gamer. Also, you aren't restricted to experiencing the whole ride with just one character. Besides Shrek, you can assume the roles of Donkey, Princess Fiona, Puss in Boots and even additional characters like Sleeping Beauty (who has a few rather surprising tricks up her sleeve, or skirt if you will - no insults, you fiends!).

The amount of content poured into the game is probably one of its rare redeeming features. There's a decent choice of levels to go through, each of which casts players into a different environment with new enemies and the occasional boss fight (though nothing truly impressive on that front). In addition, there's plenty of fun stuff to unlock, including extras, mini-games and the like. All this should keep younger gamers on their toes. Unfortunately, the rest of you are liable to get fed up with the whole thing very quickly.

Now, here's what happens after playing Shrek for say 2 hours straight. You'll either get completely bored with the game's combat model, which doesn't really evolve beyond standard button-mashing, or in this case, key-mashing. Plus, it features too many overused elements from other platform and action-adventures we've seen many times before. And it pretty much remains that way throughout most of the game.

It was embarrassing to witness several technical drawbacks on more than one occasion. To start with, I've experienced some seriously flawed platform-jumping sections. When playing as Puss in Boots, it's very difficult to jump onto a platform and stay on it, since the character tends to slide and fall off quite often. It was frustrating to say the least, especially for a platform-oriented game.

One of my greatest grudges with Shrek the Third is the omission of familiar Hollywood voice talents. The sound-alikes just don't cut it and that may come as a huge disappointment for Shrek fans, especially for the kids who will no doubt want to hear their favorite characters normally voiced by Mike Myers, Eddie Murphy, Cameron Diaz and Antonio Banderas. On the other hand, things were perked up with the aforementioned voice talent of John Cleese.

Overall, Shrek the Third has its moments. It's easy to get swept away by the game's cheerful spirit and a few entertaining mini-games. As always, the colorful backdrop, cute characters and an overall pleasing atmosphere will surely prove more than enough to entice younger audiences. However, things aren't so peachy once you dig deeper. There's very little challenge throughout the entire game.

Of course, you can always replay the whole thing to collect all the bonuses and unlock more extras if you've missed any the first time around. Given the game's generic archetypical gameplay concept, I doubt many of you would ever want to do that.

Sadly, like most blockbuster-inspired games, Shrek feels rushed and unrefined - certainly not enough to make a memorable impact on the gaming scene.


6.0   Above Average 

Nice atmosphere, a few cool moments and gags were thrown in as well as a fair amount of content;

Recurring gameplay, not much of a challenge, disappointing voiceovers.



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