The whole crew is back in this wonderful sequel. Based on the feature film, Activision’s Shrek 2 guides you through the scenery of the new movie and gives you an inside look into the fantasy of being Shrek, Princess Fiona, Donkey and others. Starting in the swamp, you travel with your band of four to different lands. In each of the eleven levels, you get to play through puzzles, adventure and combat. There are also different characters unique to the Shrek storyline that you can play within your team of four.
Each of the characters has a different special ability that comes in useful to the game. In particular, Fiona gets an ability that slows down time. This is probably the MOST useful of all of them. Hint: Use it often. Did I mention that you play all four at once? You can play multiplayer with this game. Up to four characters if your box allows it. While you’re playing all four players, you actually can only control one at a time. This did end up getting a bit confusing because I would hit the R1 control which tabs through the characters and forget which one I was playing. Although the character is highlighted by a yellow circle around their name, in the heat of things it’s easy to get mixed up. There are times in the game when you have to switch quickly from one character to the next to complete the level. An example of this is while leading the Blind Mice through a graveyard, you have to switch between Red (Red Riding Hood) and Donkey and Fiona a few times to keep the mice alive.
Besides the eleven levels, you also have “Hero Time” where one of your party is challenged to a test of skills. Some of them are fairly easy but generally they really are a TEST. I had to replay the Donkey hero time several times before I got through successfully. Flying a dragon at high speed over and under bridges while dodging trees is tricky.
You can add stats and whatnot by purchasing them from a little green leprechaun, so pick up all of the gold you can find. You will find yourself in need of some of them later on in the game.
The scenery and characters in this game are lush and vibrant. This isn’t a monochrome game in any way. The game was developed in conjunction with the DreamWorks animation team so visually it’s perfect. The detailing on the background of the game is simply gorgeous. The characters aren’t always right on with detail but since you rarely see them up front other than cut scenes it doesn’t detract from the game at all. I had some frustration with the camera angles at times. There are areas that you cannot pan around to see very well. It makes for difficulty in getting through some areas. The controls are really easy though. I think that since you ARE controlling four characters, they made it easy on you. Attack on each is square, jump is x, special is triangle and interaction is O.
I was disappointed to find that the original cast of Shrek did not do to the voiceovers for the sound in this game. To be honest, you can’t really tell most of the time. They did a great job in finding people who could do good Shrek, Donkey and Princess Fiona. My biggest peeve is when you get the high screeching “English” voices in games. The tones throughout the game are melodic and there was a lot of giggling at some of the puns. The sound effects are great as well as the background music. It really adds to the quality of the gameplay. If you’ve got some time, kick some of your team mates. The lines they have are really funny.
Luxoflux did a great job on the console versions of the game. The best thing about this is the fact that every task, adventure and puzzle is fun and entertaining. It’s a fast paced game that is enjoyable for all ages. I highly recommend it for children as well as adults. So if you’re in your friendly neighborhood game store, pick it up. You won’t be sorry.