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Shrek 2

Platform(s): Arcade, Game Boy Advance, GameCube, Nintendo DS, PC, PSOne, PSP, PlayStation 2, PlayStation 3, Wii, Xbox, Xbox 360
Genre: Action/Adventure

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PS2 Review - 'Shrek 2'

by Hank on June 13, 2004 @ 1:21 a.m. PDT

Genre: Action/Adventure
Publisher: Activision
Developer: Luxoflux
Release Date: May 4, 2004

Buy 'SHREK 2':
Xbox | Game Cube | GBA | PC | PlayStation 2

In 2001 DreamWorks introduced to the public a mean, green fighting machine. Wait, that is the hulk. I mean a big green comical ogre type thing. Well, if you haven’t guessed it, it’s your loveable friend Shrek, and he’s back with 9 of his friends to save the world from disaster.

Why a new game? As we see nowadays game companies tend to release games alongside its movie counterparts, some being awesome while others being completely unplayable. With the recent release of the movie “Shrek 2,” it’s no wonder Activision and Luxaflux with the support of DreamWorks released “Shrek 2 the game”. Since I have not had the chance to see the recently released movie I can only guess that it may have some sort of relation to it. Since the story starts off with Shrek and Fiona being married heading to meet Fiona’s parents.

If you remember the previous Shrek game, prepare to be surprised. Rather than taking the exact path of the last game (a party game), it has taken a turn to co-operative platformer. Shrek now works with three other characters to pass the levels. The members who usually stay in your party are Shrek, Fiona, Donkey, and a fourth member is usually rotated among the other characters: Lil’ Red, Gingerbread Man, Big Bad Wolf, Fairy, and Puss in Boots. There is one more character that I have yet to unlock. You may be asking yourself why this wide diversity of characters? Most gamers truly dislike repetition, so to mix it up a little Shrek 2 has this diverse character set. These characters don’t only differ in appearance; each also has his or her own specialty. For example, Shrek has his raw strength allowing him to pick up and throw enemies. Donkey has his strong kick that can knock over trees and locked doors, and we definitely cannot forget to give Fiona the ability to slow down time.

Because of this diversity it is suggested that you should play this game with a fellow friend because the AI is just completely stupid at times. For example, in Chapter two there are certain objectives that a certain character must do before the others can move on. Well, to my delight the computer controlled characters don’t make any effort to avoid failing these objectives. This was extremely annoying for the Mouse level where Donkey had to kick a tombstone to make a bridge path; the characters tend to jump into that pot hole as I was knocking it down leading to a respawn at my last saved checkpoint.

Thankfully the game has several checkpoints which are truly needed, especially if you are playing by yourself. These checkpoints usually occur after difficult sections and are at several places on the map (sub sections) because of its grotesque size. Yet these chapters are usually beaten under 10 minutes. The objectives usually range from finding objects on the map all the way to just beating the living daylights out of the enemy. My personal favorites would be the “Hero Mission”. A “Hero Mission” is where one of your characters faces the objective alone in a sense a mini-game For example, Fiona had a quest that was similar to DDR, Donkey had an avoiding game, and Shrek just had a mission demonstrating his raw power. Another aspect I liked was the side quests. One such quest was the Humty Dumpty one where you have to find all the pieces of his cracked shell. It wasn’t the mission itself that pleased me but the fact that on the screen Humpty Dumpty was marked in white chalk, just like the cops do at a homicide scene.

Since I’ve gone into the game a little, you may be wondering how hard the gameplay and control scheme are. To be exact the game is really easy. I believe a toddler can pick up the controls and the concept of the game rather fast. Yet, I feel the game is really aimed at teens. The controls are: R1 and L1 switch players, Triangle special attack, Square attacks, X jumps, and Circle is used to interact with certain objects. You can also mix together some of these attacks such as jump and attack, which is necessary to pass certain points of a chapter. My favorite jump attack is probably Gingerbread’s because he throws a candy cane at the enemy.

So who are the villains in this game? They are the same ones you have seen in Shrek with a few exceptions; Shrek 2 now has villains from famous children’s stories such as Peter Piper (the mouse attack to the tune of his flute) and many more. But most the time the enemies are simple to beat and as I said before the missions are completed rather quickly. The only difficulty is finding which character’s special you must use because the developers clearly wanted you to rotate the character you play rather than staying on a single character throughout the entire game. Of course this is based on the fact that you are playing alone.

The Enemies are not the annoying part. It’s actually the obstacles. These obstacles usually all depend on speed due to the fact that the AI is not apparent. The traps are usually laid out perfectly for your computer controlled characters to fall into them, and for some odd reason the computer also likes to back track when you are clearly running towards the opposite direction. This royally sucks since the characters can only move a screen length away from one another and when one is going one way and the other another you tend to get stuck for that second or so giving the player ample time to observe their surroundings.

I have to say the surroundings look extraordinary. It would seem like the maps and background are taken directly from backdrops we saw in the Shrek movie. To make these backgrounds more realistic you can interact with almost every aspect on the screen; it's very cleverly thought out. I just love beating on the lamp posts or even the innocent bystanders, though when you beat on them too much you lose stars, something I have tried hard not to do because I can only assume the results will be bad. Adding to the background, the characters look shockingly similar to the movie design. Though there is no awesome CG, the in game graphics are more then enough. You also have full control over your camera, and for once the camera doesn’t get stuck in those odd positions near a wall. Even though they fixed this major problem, there is still a part I wasn’t completely pleased with and that would be the intro scenes for each chapter: The character doodles are rather odd looking, but at the same time it’s something you expect to see in a child’s picture book. They are presented oddly similar to how Disney presented their old movies like Cinderella.

These intro sequences and characters are voiced out, to the gamers delight, but this is the downfall of the game. Oh the horror of the step in voice actors. Most can instantly hear the difference between the two and they say the same things over and over. I would have wished they kept the original actors like EA did with EON, but I guess there was some short of miscommunication or something of that sort. I hope if Activision does the game again they will get the real voice actors. It would take the level of enjoyment up one whole notch. As for the BGM music, it’s not really that apparent since it seems the game's really focused on the voice actors. When you do get a chance you can hear that it matches the stages perfectly. On stage three it surely gave the castle atmosphere.

Overall this game is actually well done and can be considered pretty fun, aside from the repetition, especially if you can find friends to play with, but it is also not aimed at the older audiences. The game is deemed fit for teens or younger. If you like the movie you may also like the game, but as for me I will probably go find a more mature game to play. For you parents out their looking for a game to get your young kid, this can be a great family game, but don’t take my word for it. Try it out for yourself and decide.

Score : 7.0 / 10



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