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Shrek 2 Xbox

Published by Activision
Developed by Luxoflux
Released - Out Now
Price : £39.99

If the Xbox catalogue of software is lacking anything, apart from a great turn-based RPG, it has to be enjoyable co-operative games. Sure you can play Halo in co-op mode and there are a few games such as Fusion Frenzy where you can enjoy a round of mini-games but on the whole there's not much to choose from. Those looking for a 4 player co-operative game for all the family face an even greater challenge but thanks to a bit of clever design from Luxoflux Shrek 2 could be the co-operative game you've all been looking for.

Shrek 2 sees a return of those oddball characters from the first movie in addition to a collection of even stranger characters. The King and Queen have finally learned of their long lost daughter, Princess Fiona, and how she has found the love of her life. Assuming that Princess Fiona is now free of her ogreish curse they decide to hold a royal ball in honour of the happy couple. Of course they do not know that Princess Fiona is still in her ogreish form and that her husband is himself an ogre. Shrek doesn't want to go to the ball but Princess Fiona manages to convince him and the game begins with Shrek, Princess Fiona, Gingerbread Man and Donkey setting out on their journey.

Shrek is joined by a host of characters such as Princess Fiona, Gingerbread Man, Donkey, Puss in Boots, Lil' Red, Big Bad Wolf and Fairy and each character comes with their own special ability and fighting style. You'll encounter various puzzles that will require you to use the best character for the job and this prevents the game from being too straightforward and it also encourages you to make the most of the characters abilities. In addition to these puzzles you'll also have a small amount of platforming elements and some beat 'em up action too (none of which is particularly difficult). What I like about the game though is that you can play the game as a single player game if you wish but it's more fun when there are four of you as you can each control a character and play through the game co-operatively. Played in this way the game is much more enjoyable and it's sure to add longevity to the game.

Graphically Shrek 2 doesn't exactly push the limits of the Xbox but it looks good and the characters look as good as you would expect from a multiplatform title. One of the nice things about the characters in Shrek 2 is that they vary as much as it is possible to vary and they all have their own animations which look good. Camera control is often a problem in games of this nature but for the most part it's not too bad. Usually you can use the right analogue stick to manoeuvre the camera but there are occasions when it's not possible to control the camera (indicated by an icon that appears on the bottom right of the screen). The games cutscenes have been fairly well done too and they look good.

Shrek 2 has a subtitles option and when enabled the game is fine for deaf gamers. The games cutscenes are shown in a letterbox format with the subtitles being shown in the lower border. The games introduction explains the story from an open storybook (similar to what they used to do with the classic Disney films) and the text is word for word with the speech so again there are no problems. Throughout the game you'll find talking mirrors who will give you advice on how to use objects and devices and these messages are also shown in text. Sometimes you'll also get verbal advice that isn't shown in text although this doesn't happen too often and doesn't cause any real problems. The characters make the occasional comment from time to time and these comments aren't subtitled which is disappointing but it doesn't spoil anything.

Whilst in truth Shrek 2 isn't going to appeal to many older gamers it will appeal to fans of the film, children and those who like to play games with younger members of the family. Shrek 2 doesn't have any particular outstanding features but overall the game has been well thought out and including the ability to allow four players to play through the game together in my opinion makes it a good choice to play with younger members of the family.

Overall Game Rating: 7.4/10
A fairly good single player game that makes for a surprisingly good co-operative game. Shrek 2 should please fans of the movie as well as those longing for a good 4-player game for all the family.

Deaf Gamers comment:
There are a few omissions but overall it's fine for deaf gamers.