Buzz! The Ultimate Music Quiz PlayStation 3
Published by: Sony Computer Entertainment Europe
Developed by: Relentless Software
Not all the Buzz! titles have been deaf gamer friendly and you certainly wouldn't expect one entitled The Ultimate Music Quiz to be so and that's certainly the case. However, I haven't seen a title in the long running series for a while and rather than not review the game I thought it might be interesting to see what improvements have been added to freshen up the experience.
In The Ultimate Music Quiz you can create your own buzzer noise and when choosing your avatar you'll get the option to take a photo with the PlayStation Eye camera and paste it on your avatar's head (you can also post a face on Buzz's face too, if you want). Pasting your face on your avatar's head might not seem like much of an addition but it's certainly something that most children will really find humorous and for that alone it's a worthy addition.
Most of the rounds that have featured in previous titles in the series make a return here. These include: Point Builder, Stop the Clock, Fastest Finger, Pie Fight!, Point Stealer and Final Countdown. There are some new additions too. Tune Warp asks you to recognise a mangled tune whilst Watch It! shows you a music video and then asks you questions about what you have seen in the video. The modes are pretty similar to previous games in the series. Up to four people can go online to complete against another four players. You can also play a multitude of quizzes that other gamers have created. Up to eight players can take part in a local game (you'll need two sets of controllers for more than four players however) and you can play pre-configured games that last anything from fifteen to forty-five minutes or create your own custom game with the rounds you prefer. There's also a quick fire quiz mode where you can quickly go through up to a hundred questions.
The PlayStation Move has been squeezed into the series and you can play an assortment of rounds using the new controller. Hammer Time allows you to use a virtual hammer to knock down the correct answer. In Heavy Metal you'll have to use a virtual magnet to select the correct answer and feed it to the crusher. Pop Life turns your Move controller into a giant dart and with it you'll have to pop the balloons with the incorrect answers. Finally Master Blaster changes the controller into a ray gun and you'll have to fire at the UFO with the correct answer. Should you get the answer correct you'll get the chance to earn bonus points by firing at other UFOs that quickly fly across the screen. These modes are a fun addition but they don't really do anything to enhance the quality of the game as a whole.
In regards to the game's presentation, very little has changed. Graphically the game keeps the same style and whilst the visuals are simplistic, they are good enough for this type of game. There's no getting away from the fact that Buzz! The Ultimate Music Quiz is totally unsuitable for deaf gamers. The ability to hear and recognise songs is absolutely essential here. That's not to say you'll need the ability to hear for every round, some rounds will test your knowledge and others your powers of observation, for instance, but for the most part the game is unplayable if you aren't a hearing person. However, it's still disappointing to see that there's a lot of dialogue in the game that isn't subtitled with no attempt made to subtitle the presenter's voice. Lots of tutorial information is also not subtitled, although basic text tutorial information is given for each round.
Buzz! The Ultimate Music Quiz is not a game that's accessible to deaf gamers and whilst this is disappointing, it's understandable given that it's a music themed quiz game. More a source of disappointment is that the developers don't appear to be taking our criticism of previous titles on board. There's still no sign of subtitles being introduced for the presenter's speech for instance and no real effort is being made to make the series accessible for deaf gamers which is a shame. Some of the new features, such as being able to paste your face on your avatar and the inclusion of some rounds that support the PlayStation Move are welcome but what's really needed is accessibility and Buzz! The Ultimate Music Quiz shows no signs of progress in this respect.