Quiet morning on the Nintendo side of things. Sony had their gamer event, so they are dominating the news right now. Nintendo’s goods will come next week…which cannot get here fast enough! I’ll catch you in a few hours guys, have a great morning.
The last couple weeks have been filled with a bunch of movie game releases. Some are out on the market for all to pick up, others will be there shortly. While movie games come with a negative stigma (deservedly so), some of those titles don’t end up being as bad as we expect. TMNT GBA was an excellent example of how a movie license can be turned into a good game. It took some old school thought mixed in with new ideas, but the final outcome was one of the better movie tie-ins in recent history. I also happened to check out Spider-Man 3 for the DS, which I talked about a few days back. Once again we see a movie title that is actually a quality product. While I was definitely interested in seeing how the Spider-Man and TMNT games turned out, I really wasn’t interested in the Shrek license. I saw the first movie, but skipped out on the second. I don’t know, I just didn’t enjoy it. I have been covering the Shrek the Third games for weeks now, but I didn’t know that I would end up playing them. I wrote about Shrek the Third for the GBA last week, just as I did with Spider-Man. This time around things didn’t go to well, and what I got was a movie game the quality of which reminded me why movie games have the reputation they do. A couple days later another package shows up, and in that one is Shrek the Third for the Wii. Usually getting a new game puts a smile on my face, but my previous Shrek experience had me dreading this Wii one. That doesn’t matter though, the game has to be played! Today, Nicky Hill jumped into the game, and I followed soon thereafter. We were both expecting the worst. Surprisingly, the worst wasn’t anywhere to be found.
I have absolutely no idea of the storyline for Shrek the Third. I am guessing that the game does a somewhat adequate job of filling the player in, but also takes more than a few liberties. All I know is that the game has you playing through a number of varied locations. You’ll start off working your way through a castle, inside and out of a pirate ship, through mountain paths into a school, and onward to ice caverns. We managed to pull out around a 40% completion on our current play through, so it’s hard to judge how much of the game is left. While these level designs are most likely taken from locations in the movie, it’s still nice to see a change of scenery every level or so. This is already leagues away from the GBA game. In the Wii version, locations have a very nice flow to them. You get a very nice sense of continuity. It seems like a small thing to be happy about, but I especially appreciate it after dealing with Shrek on the GBA.
While Shrek the Third is a simple game to play, it’s pretty hard to nail it down to a specific game type. Basically you wander around smashing enemies, boxes, crates, and other smashables. The only real objective is to make it to the end of the level. So on its most basic level, Shrek is an action adventure game. One of the better parts of the game is how it is split up between characters. You won’t always be playing as Shrek. You don’t get a choice of who to play as, the storyline dictates who you will be. Each of the characters (Shrek, Puss in Boots, Donkey, and Sleeping Beauty in my game so far) has their own set of moves, even though they all accomplish the same thing. It still makes it fun to have a change of pace from level to level. Each character also has their special attack and finishing moves. Shrek is the strongest of the bunch, and he can defeat enemies in a shorter amount of attacks. Puss in Boots is a lot faster with his attacks, but he needs to do more of them to beat an enemy. While the differences in characters are small, it’s still enough to keep things interesting.
I’d have to say that I was honestly impressed with the graphics in Shrek the Third. After being let down with Spider-Man 3’s visuals, Shrek the Third does an excellent job of looking nice while retaining the look/feel of the source material. All the character models look like the animated versions, even if these are a little lifeless at times. While facial expressions leave something to be desired, animations are great. Just like the GBA version, the Wii version has some great character animations. There are a few animations in the game that actually make me chuckle every time I see them (check out Shrek carrying anything). NPCs and enemies are less detailed, but are more than enough to get the job done. The levels are also pretty good looking. They have a very “Spyro” feel in my opinion. Shrek follows the same style of art design and architecture. As we were playing through I kept making notes on parts of the game that impressed me visually. Now keep in mind that this is a Wii title, so we aren’t talking 360/PS3 levels here. Having said that, Shrek the Third looks better than a majority of the current Wii library.
Controls, while not super innovative, work perfectly fine. Jumping, regular attacks, and blocking is handled by the Wiimote, while special attacks and picking up items is accomplished with the Nunchuck. You’ll be waggling your Wiimote to complete your basic attacks, just like in Twilight Princess. Waggling the Nunchuck will let your character charge up a strong attack. One you stop shaking, your character will unleash their attack. It’s a nice mix of controls that is easy enough for younger players while providing some basic uses for the motion sensing capabilities.
Shrek the Third is enough fun to continue through to the end of the game. Now I don’t expect any of you guys/girls out there to run out and pick this game up. Like I said, it is a “good” game, not great or fantastic. When you consider that it’s a movie based game, it gets a little more credit. It’s a shame that that’s the way I think, but we all know that movie games have set the standards extremely low. Regardless of that, I would still say that the game is good. I think the title is outstanding for younger children that are fans of Shrek, and are looking for a game version to enjoy. If you are a parent looking for the next Wii game for your kids, this should be the one. Trust me, when they are off to bed you should sit down and have a look at the game. I’ll bet that you will find it pretty fun too.