Shrek 2 (PC) Review


Shrek 2 is a 2004 3D Platformer for PC created by KnowWonder and published by Activision. Its loosely based on the movie on the same name and like most games of this type it has alot of problems.

Gameplay

As soon as you start the game you are met with an incredibly horrible control scheme where left click is attack and right click is jump. You cannot rebind jump to space like everyone would have done because that is what the potions menu is permanently bound to. In fact the only reason the buttons are on the mouse is because the developers were too lazy to program the camera properly leaving it entirely to the player to move it.

Double jumping is annoying as you need to  press it twice much faster than you’d think you need to because you can’t press it any time in your jump like almost every other platformer ever allows you to do. Although not that it matters that much because this game had something absolutely horrible which i simply call the auto-jump. In most of the jumping puzzles all you had to do was aim at the other platform and click jump without moving and the character would do the jump for you absolutely destroying almost all the difficulty in the game.

I can’t really argue against the fact there was a nice variety in characters though, altogether you eventually play as Shrek, Donkey, Puss in Boots, The Transformed Shrek and Donkey and the Giant Gingerbread Man.  However there are some problems there, transormed donkey is exactly the same as normal donkey just slightly larger and the segment where you play as the Giant GingerBread Man is so damn tiny its more of an excuse.

The level design was quite bad in some places, they didn’t even try to hide the invisible walls and even when there isn’t an invisible wall you instantly die as soon as you land. To be fair invisible walls was a problem with most older games but i still don’t like it.

Most of the obstacles in the levels like lasers are so weak that running past them without caring is a better thing to do than actually trying to dodge them. The fact there is some insta-kill traps in the game almost seems like a cheap attempt to raise the non-existent difficiculty in my opinion.

In fact everything collectible in the game is unbelievably pointless. The only thing the coins are for is to buy potions to help you through the already easy game. You simply do not need potions at all, in fact its probably just a gimmick.

Even the poster collecting is pointless, The bonus every 3 posters is just a visit to the same Bonus Level over and over again. The level in question is a small area is a small house and a giant beanstalk next to it (which you can guess what its based off). You have a time limit to grab as many coins as possible and obviously climbing the bean stalk is where almost all of the coins are. However since Coins are pointless this means so are the posters.

I can even explain why the Four Leafed Clovers are pointless even though they add a little to your health bar when found. First thing is there are only 4 of them in the game and they are found way too easily. Second thing is you hardly lose that much health anyway so you could probably ignore all of them and still win the game.

This is because the enemies are laughably easy.  Most of the time they can be killed in a single hit with the jump attack while bosses are just more annoying than hard. There is even a point in the Lab level where simply jumping on a table makes them forget you are there. Even worse, after that section when you are escaping as donkey it seems that some of the AI isn’t even functioning properly or isn’t actually there. Even the bosses are bad so prepare for major spoilers (i don’t expect you to play this game anyway). Not in any particular order:

One boss is just a slightly bigger bandit that takes more hits but all you need to do is lure him near the water and punch him in and the game will glitch kill him for you.

Second Boss i remember is Puss in Boots. The game downgrades Shreks moveset to a single punch and while you may think you have to do a really well timed punch when he uses his easily dodged attack all you have to do is attack (ANYWHERE!) when he’s running between stumps to trip him up.

Third Boss i remember is a Fat knight which you have to fight 3 times with all the characters and the only difference between them is how long it takes to wipe the floor with him. The idea was to get you to attack when his stomach is showing to hurt him but it turns out you can just spam attack on him until he tries attacking you and gets hurt.

4th boss i remember is the final boss which is The Fairy Godmother. You’ve still got a sword in this battle but it won’t let you use it against her because reasons i couldn’t be bothered to remember. Basically the only thing you use the sword for is to reflect her fireballs and stun her… before going to the table, aiming at her and spamming the attack button to throw food at her. It just seemed quite stupid while i was playing it.

And like alot of old games you get absolutely nothing for winning the game other than a tiny cutscene and the credits while you save file is now permanently stuck at the final battle.

Graphics

The graphics were nice for their time, nothing jumped out at me as revolutionary. Although there was times when texturing seems a little poor but nothing that would make you stop playing the game if you already managed to get over the gameplay problems.

Sound

I wasn’t actually paying actual attention to the sound in this game but one thing i noticed is that the characters talk way too much. You can easily hear the same thing over and over again until you get sick of hearing it. In fact alot of the dialogue breaks the 4th wall which will probably annoy alot of people. At least the Voice actors sound like who they are supposed to at least.

Another thing i noticed is how loud the music is, even though it starts at 30% while sound is 100% is still manages to be louder at some points. I can’t tell you if the music is actually good though, nothing stood out to me and therefore i forgot it all.

Characters

They definitely looked/sounded/acted like the movie counterparts but the problems i explained above only made them extremely annoying.

Enjoyability

This game was a bit too easy for me and i also really didn’t like the constant 4th wall breaking. Although i obviously liked it enough to play through the whole thing i will probably never play it again.

Overall

Considering the movie is a family film this game was probably aimed towards younger people although that doesn’t forgive the developer for what is blatantly poor design choices. I don’t recommend buying it at all but if you want to experience what i did for yourself then go ahead.

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