|System: X360, PS3, PC, Wii, DS||Review Rating Legend|
|Dev: XPEC||1.0 - 1.9 = Avoid||4.0 - 4.4 = Great|
|Pub: Activision||2.0 - 2.4 = Poor||4.5 - 4.9 = Must Buy|
|Release: May 18, 2010||2.5 - 2.9 = Average||5.0 = The Best|
|Players: 1-4||3.0 - 3.4 = Fair|
|ESRB Rating: Everyone 10+||3.5 - 3.9 = Good|
The main complaint I have with these little additions is that they're just there. Motion-based gameplay should engage players' senses. The sounds that are added to Forever After's Wii-waggle sequences are sedate and uninteresting, making these little bits of gameplay even less than a novelty.
That's indicative of the whole game, really. Even though the developers merely whip up a brew based entirely on tried-and-true gameplay components, it's a formula that, at its core, is fun and clever. It's the little things, however, that are really missed. The lack of attention to detail leaves many of the game's accomplishments feeling slightly hollow.
Shrek Forever After does get a second wind, however, when played cooperatively with family or friends. Up to three other players can join you on your adventure, jumping in or out of the game at any time. The camera stays fixed on all characters, so you'll have to work together. It's a fun set-up, though, and friendly fire allows you to rob coins from one another. There are a few optional puzzles thrown into each level that require at least two players, and hidden extras offer incentive to run through areas more than once.
The production quality is a mixed bag. On the whole, Shrek Forever After is an attractive game, though there are a few unsightly elements littered about. The water effects might look almost next-gen in one level and yet appear unworthy of the N64 somewhere else in the game. The camera during most of the gameplay is pulled back at a slightly overhead perspective, so environmental textures and character models generally look good. When the view pans in close, however, the framerate dips and everything tends to look a bit blocky.
The soundtrack is surprisingly robust, with fitting themes while dungeon crawling as well as popular licensed tunes that kick in during brawling segments. Though I can't claim to recognize the voices of any of the actors, the performances too are all topnotch. Donkey, especially, gets a ton of great lines, and I found myself spamming his special ability just to hear his interpretations of various nursery rhymes.
Shrek Forever After is a respectable side offering that should satisfy fans of the movie, and it's also got a fun, little multiplayer component to keep younger gamers going long after the adventure ends. Unfortunately, the adventure ends all too soon. Roughly five or six hours after we'd set out to retract our agreement with Rumpelstiltskin, the party was over. There are no unlockables to speak of, nor extra modes or other gameplay features. Once the tale wraps up, you're brought back to camp with the option to venture back into the levels you've already unlocked. It's a nice package to enjoy with friends, but as a solo outing, your enjoyment of the game will likely be fleeting.
CCC Freelance Writer