Shrek the Third

Reviewed by Cliff Bakehorn, Posted on 2007-05-24


Developer: 7 Studios Publisher: Activision
Release Date: May 15, 2007 Also On: PC, PS2, Wii & Xbox 360

The second I unwrapped the package that Shrek the Third came in, I told myself to go into the game expecting the typical licensed video game experience. I could assume there would be an engine similar to those found in critically acclaimed games of the same genres. I could assume that the game wouldn’t be very deep, and that I could breeze through it pretty quickly. I could expect to see a lot of licensed characters and likenesses. Unfortunately, in the case of Shrek the Third, my jaded expectations weren’t even met–Activision’s game based off of Dreamworks’ blockbuster flick is a poor re-hash of every other action beat-em-up you’ve ever played, with almost nothing in particular that stands out.

Children and fans of the ogre’s films might enjoy Shrek the Third. The game’s storyline hardly branches from that of the film: Shrek becomes the king of Far Far Away after Princess Fiona’s father passes away. Unhappy about this newfound responsibility, Shrek makes his way to Worcestershire to find a new heir to the throne–Artie, also known as King Arthur. Meanwhile, Princess Fiona discovers that she is pregnant, and all sorts of problems rest on the bulky green shoulders of our foul protagonist. Popular characters like Puss in Boots, Donkey, and Fiona herself are playable in some of the game’s levels, so there’s no shortage of familiar faces.

Unfortunately, a huge load of likenesses don’t make the game interesting–in fact, one of the film’s biggest flaws was its saturation of characters, which made some of the newer ones seem to carry less weight in the plot. Twenty levels chock-full of button-mashing doesn’t do much to sharpen the experience. Fighting enemies is as difficult as mashing X or B to perform weak or strong attacks, and there are finishing moves that are activated by pressing Y after unleashing enough pain. You can block enemy attacks and such, but I’d suppose even kids could play through Shrek the Third on the default difficulty setting without worrying about dying. Platform elements are even more frustrating than I feared they’d be because Shrek’s jumping is stiff and slippery to control, so any dying that does occur will most likely happen during the annoying jumping parts.

Not everything is a total disaster; as I said, the saturation of characters means that fans of the film will enjoy a lot of what there is to see and hear. There are a lot of collectible items along the way, so replay value could be salvaged for those who care to unlock the game’s Achievements. Unfortunately, Dreamworks’ impressive animation in the film doesn’t carry over to the virtual experience, even in the $60 next-generation Xbox 360 version of Shrek the Third. In fact, frames drop from time to time, so characters look like they’re staggering along. Anything that warps or flies into the background glitches and skips frames as well. It’s just disappointing that an animation powerhouse like Dreamworks can’t be appropriately represented in a video game.

In the end, it’s hard to recommend Shrek the Third to anyone but devoted fans of the film or younger children. It is hard to justify spending $60 on a game that simply wasn’t put together very well or with a lot of care. Skip this one, buy the kids some other official Shrek merchandise.

Graphics: 5.5
Sound: 6
Gameplay: 5
Creativity: 3.5
Replay Value/Game Length: 4
Final: 4.5
Written by Cliff Review Guide

Reviewed by Cliff Bakehorn