New Shrek not quite dreck
June 11th, 2007Great graphics can't mask lack of originality, fun.
While the dollars are being raked in by the bucketload at the box office, the summer of sequels is being labelled a disappointment.
Sadly, the same can be said about the games.
Shrek the Third is the latest game to tag on to the summer blockbuster movie game. And like Spiderman 3, the game looks good, but the gameplay is considerably uninspired.
This isn't a bad game, and fans of Shrek, especially kids, will still get a kick out of it. It's just that there are not a lot of fun things to do in this game.
The game is a standard action game that follows the script, loosely, of the movie. You play mostly as Shrek, but also as Fiona, Donkey, Puss, Arthur and Sleeping Beauty at various times, and each has special powers.
It's your usual platform, puzzle, combat, collection format, the problem is the puzzles, combat and collection aren't exactly challenging, inventive or amusing.
You collect fairy dust to boost your powers and strengths, and even though there's a lot in here, you will pretty much waltz through the game.
There are a few diversions that are fun, like using cannons to blow up castles, but for the most part, it's extremely standard fare.
There's the Shrek "theme" to it, playing in fairytale locales and subtle humour, like a boss battle that's played out as a musical, and that satisfies the real Shrek enthusiasts.
But none of it is clever enough to make it a game you just have to keep playing.
There is some value in here, though, as there's a two-player mode to play along with the single-player story mode, and a collection of mini games that has you chasing frogs or playing shuffleboard, amongst other things. Again, there was a lot of potential in the mini-games, but not a lot of payoff. I did like the mini-game where you have to defend your beach against pirates, though, if only because I take it to be a cheeky metaphor for the summer movie business.
I would imagine it's a tough task to be let in on a movie's super-secret storyline in advance and design a game that's true to the movie -- that the studio likes, that looks good, and that plays inventively. That may be why so many games based on these big movies are so mediocre; the creative development time just isn't there.
Still, it's what you'd expect from a summer blockbuster -- some mindless entertainment -- only this will cost you a bit more than the box-office bill.
Shrek humour, looks great.
Not very inventive, challenging or fun.