Just like every other Shrek game, this title was only created as marketing material and a quick money maker rather than being treated as a solid form of video game entertainment.
Even though there have only been three Shrek movies, the green ogre has starred in dozens upon dozens of video games, ranging from fighting, action, adventure, kart-racing, to party style gameplay. While Shrek the Third isn’t as bad as other movie licensed games, it still continues the trend of containing low entertainment value.
The game follows the plot of the movie. Shrek is the next heir to the throne but does not want the responsibility so he tracks down Arthur (aka Artie) who is a lost and forgotten heir. This Shrek title is your typical barebones button mashing game with plenty of collectables and some moderate platforming. Besides beating everyone down as Shrek, Donkey, Fiona, Puss in Boots and a few other playable characters, the basic move set remains the same between each character.
Each character can punch, jump, use a super punch (hold down “B”) and can use fairy dust attacks. Whenever a bad guy is defeated or certain items are collected, collectable fairy dust can be conserved to unleash a stronger attack such as Shrek’s slow motion Matrix-like attack. Even though each character has his or her own super attack, the gameplay still remains unchanged as the player will rely on the simple three-hit basic combo.
When a combo is placed on an enemy, often times a “Y” button icon will appear. This means that a finishing move can now be executed. However, this icon is quite misleading as the game does not register this button tap. Using this finishing move is more random than anything. If an icon appears and the player presses that button, the game should automatically perform that action; there no excuse for unresponsiveness, especially on the 360 hardware.
Puzzles are present in the game but are so bland and mindless, they might not even be considered puzzles at all. Most involve pushing a block to reach a higher ledge or pulling a switch to open a door. This mindless complexity will work great for younger games, the target audience, but older gamers will find this element boring and useless.
The entire game can be completed in about five hours. Breaking up the action beat’em style of gameplay are these cannon shooting stages. While there are only a couple in the entire game, these stages will probably provide the most entertainment value. Using the Havok physics engine, the goal is to knock down targets (castle walls) through the use of aim and a power meter. Yes, these tiny mini-game like stages are fun, but the player is racing only against the clock; the enemy does not strike back. Lame.
For a movie that prides itself on fluid animation and high res 3D visuals, it is a total disappointment that the game does not contain the same level of high presentation values. The animations are so horribly choppy, they look like flip book animation with every third page taken out. And when the camera zooms in during conversations, all the characters have these red demonic eye balls that are sure to instill the fear of Satan in any gamer, young and old alike.
The game features preset camera angles that provide a decent view of each stage, but they move in the wonkiest of ways. It is enough to throw a little bit of nausea into anyone’s stomach. It is just a shame that in the year 2007, gamers are still experiencing invisible walls.
Enemy A.I. is incredibly messy. Most enemies don’t seem to mind constantly running into walls and boxes, so for the most part, beating each enemy is a breeze. However, there are times when the player can get surrounded by three enemies, all starting with different attack animations never allowing the player to regain control. I lost a couple of lives to this very cheap and frustrating tactic.
The Shrek movies feature some great voice acting while the game features sound-a-likes to save on budget money. While this is probably the best voice acting work in a Shrek game to date, it still flows a little inconsistently. Sound effects, on occasion, don’t line up correctly either such as when Shrek delivers a punch to an enemy. Missing little details like these prove the point that this title was a rush job.
There are few unlockable costumes and other extras, but they don’t really warrant wasting a ton of time to collect. Multiplayer mode is nothing but a few easy going mini-games that are more of bullet point on the back of the casing than anything. But the 360 version does contain a “The Bee” demo, an upcoming animated film starring a Bee who lives in a busy city.
All Shrek games are whored out to make money. Parents will buy these crappy games for their kids because they know exactly what they are purchasing – a nonviolent comical kids game. Besides cautious parents, the only other reason I can see someone playing this game is for Achivement points. While you won’t unlock any within the first hour or so of play, they soon start rolling in and most have pretty high point values.
Continuing the Shrek saga, The Third is a pretty bad game…but any gamer could probably assume that just by looking at the title on the cover of the packaging.