Buzz! The Mega Quiz PlayStation 2
Published by: Sony Computer Entertainment Europe
Developed by: Relentless Software
Release Date: Out Now
Buzz! The Mega Quiz is the latest title in Sony's highly successful quiz series. The virtual quiz show has been running for a few years now and covers such topics as music and sport. There has even been a Who Wants To Be A Millionaire game that supported the Buzz! controllers. Perhaps the main reason for the series success is that it doesn't take itself seriously. The USB controller allows four players to participate (up to eight players if you have two sets of Buzz! controllers). Such a configuration allows the whole family to get involved and due to the simplistic nature of the controller (which has one large red Buzz! button and four coloured buttons) the games are immediately accessible. The one disappointment with the series is that there is a lot of dialogue that's not subtitled so whilst deaf gamers have been able to enjoy the games, they haven't been able to experience the full ambience of the games.
Buzz! The Mega Quiz, like previous titles in the series, allows for 1-8 players to take part. The game allows you to play a Standard, Easy or Hard game. You can also pick a Regular, Short or Long Game. You can either jump straight into a game or you can take a few moments to select you character, pick their costume, pick the noise that your buzzer will make and finally input your name. The format of the game is almost identical to previous games in the series. You'll play through a variety of rounds that start off nice and friendly and end up with you taking points off your opponent (and even flinging custard pies at them). To answer a question you'll press the relevant colour button. In fact it couldn't be easier to get into and its user-friendliness should be applauded because even those who have never played console games before will instantly know what to do. Optional modes include Team Play, Quizmaster (that you can use to hold your own quizzes and provide your own questions) and Quick fire Quiz.
Quiz games are only as good as the questions they offer. The questions in The Mega Quiz cover such subject areas as Animals, Sport, TV, Movies, Celebrities, Bizarre, General Knowledge and Music. The questions will test all age groups too and there is a nice mix of recent topics and those from a few decades ago. One of the problems with quiz games is that it's not long before the questions begin to repeat themselves and with repeated play the challenge goes out of the whole thing. Fortunately the developers have taken steps to ensure that this won't happen for while. The game can use your memory card to register what questions have been issued which in turn enables the game to avoid repetition until the questions have all been heard. This is a nice inclusion and effectively makes the game a challenging experience for as long as possible.
Graphically the game looks a little more polished that previous Buzz! games but there's still not a great deal to get excited about in terms of its presentation. In fairness though, the game looks as good as it needs to and does have an appropriate, and slightly zany, TV quiz show look about it. The presentation is as good as it needs to be and it's possible to navigate the game menus simply by using the Buzz! controllers meaning you'll have no need for the PlayStation 2 controller unless you're playing the Quizmaster mode. Load times can be a little on the long side however but thankfully they aren't too testing.
As we mentioned at the beginning of the review, the Buzz! series has not been great for deaf gamers up to this point. With Buzz! The Mega Quiz things take a decided turn for the worse. As you go through the menus to setup your game there is speech and none of this is subtitled. Once again all of the comments from the host and his assistant are not subtitled. Unfortunately this means that you'll miss out on the game's sarcastic style of humour. Utterances from the contestants are also not subtitled. The questions are read out verbally ever so slightly before the text is displayed but all of the questions are displayed in text. The real problem is the music questions. You'll be given a clip of a song and be asked to identify the group or singer. Naturally deaf gamers will find these questions impossible and will simply have to guess at an answer. If you're playing with other deaf gamers there's not going to be a disadvantage but if you're playing with hearing friends or relatives you're going to be in a bit of a pickle.
There can be little doubt that Buzz! The Mega Quiz is one of the best Buzz! titles to date. Unfortunately though, it's probably one that deaf gamers should avoid. Of course you could muddle through the music questions but it's simply not fair that deaf gamers should be in a position where they are disadvantaged. If you can put up with not being able to fairly answer the music questions then you'll find The Mega Quiz one of the best in the series to date. Let's hope the next game in the series does consider deaf gamers however and that finally we'll have all of the dialogue in the game subtitled so that deaf gamers can appreciate the humour that's on offer.
Buzz! The Mega Quiz is easily one of the best Buzz! games to date but it's even more problematic for deaf gamers this time around.