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The parents' guide to what's in this game.
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What parents need to know
Parents need to know that Shrek Forever After, the video game based on the movie of the same name, stays true to the spirit of the Shrek film in that it is chock full of cartoony violence, has a fair sprinkling of crude humor, and is -- underneath it all -- a very sweethearted, endearing story. The very unrealistic violence earned the game an E10+ rating from the ESRB, but children under 10 who have been able to handle the Shrek movies will find nothing worse in the game.
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What's it about?
The video game, SHREK FOREVER AFTER, follows the same plot as the film it is based on. Shrek, now a domesticated family man, longs for the old days when people were terrified of him and signs a contract with Rumpelstiltskin that will give him a magical day as a dreaded monster. However, he fails to see the fine print, which states that he must earn "true love's kiss" before things return to normal -- and in this new reality, he's never even met his ogress wife, Fiona. Shrek must remake old friends and woo Fiona all over again, all while trying to stop the evil Rumpelstiltskin from taking over the kingdom. Up to four players work cooperatively as Shrek, Fiona, and their two friends, Donkey and Puss.
Is it any good?
Shrek Forever After is one of the better made movie tie-in games we've seen in a long time. It not only does a great job of capturing the tone and feel of the Shrek films, but it is an excellent video game in its own right. The four-player coop mode (which allows players to jump in and out of the game whenever they want) makes the game a social experience, as it requires a real spirit of teamwork. The puzzles are all well-designed -- challenging, but not too daunting for young kids. And there's a fun collecting aspect to the game that also encourages exploration and adds replay value. If there's a negative, it's in the way the fighting can sometimes grow repetitive (and the obvious design flaw in the lack of any "block" or "dodge" button). But on the whole, Shrek fans should really love this game.
Talk to your kids about ...
Families can talk about the cooperative play aspect of Shrek Forever After. When playing in coop mode, is it difficult to work with another player? Or is it easier? Can four players teaming up to work together be a fun social experience?
Fiona, the ogre leader, is a very different kind of heroine. What makes her stand apart from other video game (or movie) heroines? Should more video game females be like Fiona?
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