Shrek the Third Review
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The younger ones will enjoy this title, otherwise it's not worth more than a rent.
- Delightfully varied beat-'em-up.
- Good game for younger PSP gamers.
- Combo system is better than many.
- Camera angles are troublesome.
- Fighting larger bosses feels buggy; controls are difficult.
- Dialogue does get old.
Everyone’s favorite sarcastic ogre is back from his movie debut to grace the gaming world with yet another movie-licensed game. No, we’re not talking about Vince Vaughn (sorry Vince). Of course we mean Shrek, as portrayed by the remarkably talented Mike Myers. Shrek the Third represents the umpteenth game from the hit comedy franchise, with multiple titles and game types spanning nearly all genres and platforms, including consoles and handhelds.
The focus of Shrek the Third for PSP involves beat-'em-up style missions with plots loosely based on the movie. You're are given the chance to play multiple characters from the big-screen hit, including the lovable and oafish Shrek, his beautiful princess-turned-ogress Fiona, the dragon-loving Donkey, the dashing Puss in Boots, the seductively narcoleptic Sleeping Beauty, and historically inaccurate newcomer Arthur. Gameplay involves beating the tar out of hordes of enemies, including ruthless pirates, medieval jocks, wicked witches, and annoying little gnomes, just to name a few.
As a general rule of thumb, many (if not most) movie-licensed games rely too heavily on their intellectual properties to carry the weight of quality. Surprisingly enough, Shrek the Third does not necessarily follow this trend. The combat system is actually quite good. Characters have normal attacks and power attacks, the latter of which can be charged up for timing and added damage. Each characters moves are at least slightly different, giving a greater sense of playing the character, and not just a differently skinned model. Examples of this include Puss in Boots' ability to double jump, Sleeping Beauty’s ability to hover as she falls (a la Princess Toadstool from Super Mario Bros. 2), and Arthur’s ability to block more damage than other characters with the use of his shield. All characters are also able to perform finishing moves after dazing an enemy. This can occur after landing a good combo, hitting an enemy with a thrown object (more on that later), or performing a special move.
As characters defeat enemies in combat, they charge up a “fairy dust” bar. This mystical mix can be utilized at certain moments to perform special moves that are specific for each character. Depending on the character, the player will get a number of different results. For example, activating Shrek’s fairy dust attack causes the verdant lug to emit a gaseous cloud, causing all enemies in the vicinity to choke on his noxious fumes, while Sleeping Beauty can put enemies to sleep or seduce them to the point where they will fight each other. The multitude of moves not only adds pleasurable variety, but also gives players tactical choices. Shrek and sweetheart Fiona benefit from an additional move. Activating their fairy dust attacks when their bar is full results in “ogre power”, the beatdown equivalent to Max Payne’s bullet time. Time slows down, and the ogres move more quickly, dishing out more damage and making complex combos much easier to perform.
As players proceed through the single player storyline, they are tasked with multiple quests for each level. Completing these quests rewards the players with coins that they may then use to purchase extras from the game’s store. Some of these quests seem to stay the same from level to level, such as collecting Far Far Away mugs or performing a certain amount of finishing moves. Others are completely specific to the level and enemies you are fighting. For example, in Cap’n Hooks level, destroying the mythical captain’s surly looking statue nets the player a quest reward, while freeing nerds from lockers in the Heroes School level will accomplish the same.
In addition to questing, players collect coins on the field of battle as well. Levels in Shrek the Third are chock full of destrucible items, many of which are filled with food (which restores health) fairies (which grant fairy dust), or coins. In addition, many of these items can be picked up and hurled at enemies for extra damage and ranged combat. Players are also rated on their performance at the end of each level. Depending on the number of quests completed, baddies beaten, items destroyed, and collectible items, well, collected, the player is awarded additional coins. Players are also rated based on overall performance, and are given additional coins for stylish combat. Using ... (continued on next page)
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