SHREK THE THIRD XBOX 360 REVIEW

Shrek games have made a reputation for delivering a festive experience for the young audience. In the case of Shrek the Third, it certainly has maintained that image. Kids ages 8-12 will enjoy when they see their favorite characters are here intact. At hotwire3d.com, we are always kid at heart, and to see this game made it on the next generation console has made our day. It’s hard to find a game that allows parents to spend time with their kids and above all something that both age groups can enjoy. Shrek the Third does that with its corky mini-games, but this experience is dampened by lack of multiplayer variants. Needless to say, the single-player mode should keep kids engaged intellectually and entertained for hours.

Shrek the Third continuous the tradition of button-mashing frenzy–that is heavy on collecting items, light on puzzle-solving, and some platforming. The theme is set in medieval times polished with fairytale backgrounds. The story revolves around Shrek tracking down an heir to the throne while Prince Charming brings about a coup d’etat. The story is narrated in a puppet show form and it’s very interesting to see how these sequences play out. You’ll play alternatively as Shrek, Donkey, Puss in Boots, and Fiona at various stages of the game. In addition to having unique skills for each character, everyone will have a hidden power. When activated it puts you in bullet time, allowing you to clobber enemies with minimal effort.

Aside from traditional arcade combat, Shrek provides an occasional puzzle solving element. They usually involve patterns identification, which kids shouldn’t have a problem working it out. There are some platform sequences that require you to jump on different ledges. They are a bit tricky due to the fixed camera angles. The camera doesn’t quite adjust to the platform you’re jumping on. Therefore, you tend to fall off a lot. The best part of Shrek the Third lies in its two-player mini-games. You have a couple of shooting variants: one of which includes using canon as a weapon to demolish incoming pirate ships at the beach. The other has you shooting tomatoes at different pop-ups on the screen. You also have a shuffleboard game, where you slide a puck to obtain the best score, and a funny frog-herding mini-game.

Graphically, the game is not as brilliant as we would have imagined it to be but considering this is just a kid’s game, it’s not too bad. The character models are very much in sync with the film. The animation is amazing and the frame rate is good. The console that produces the best presentation is the Xbox 360. The Wii version comes in second with some fairly decent textures and good lighting effects. The PS2 version looks nice, too! However, due to hardware restraint to process information, some of the visual effects are missing. The sound effects are a little muffled but they do their job. You’ll hear the landing of kicks and punches right on cue. The music is okay for the most part and fits the theme well. The voice-over work is the highlight of the sound department as actors did an incredible job reprising their roles.

Overall, Shrek the Third is a really fun family game. The gameplay is very simple and anybody can pitch in simultaneously thanks to the incredibly easy controls. Though the camera can be problematic at times, the impressive animation compensates for that. Most of the excitement comes from the game’s two-player variants. While Shrek the Third is years from reaching a Mario-party phenomenon, the game will still keep kids entertained for awhile. Choose the version for Xbox 360 if you want a higher-quality presentation. For a more engaging gameplay, pick the Wii version. Keep in mind, this title has been released for a much younger crowd. So, if you’re expecting a grueling action adventure, you’d be very disappointed. Regardless of what version of the game you pick, Shrek the Third is a good family title that shouldn’t be missed.

FINAL SCORE: 7.0 OUT 10