Review: Buzz! Quiz TV

BuzzQuizTV.jpg It took a while for the Buzz! trivia series to migrate over to North American shores from Europe, but since finally doing so last year the stream of new installments has been at a steady flow, culminating in the series’ recent debuts away from the PS2 on Sony’s other two more modern platforms, the PSP and PS3. We’ll have a review coming up for Buzz! Master Quiz on PSP soon, but today I’d like to tell you about the PS3 entry, Buzz! Quiz TV.

Generally speaking, Quiz TV is a lot more of the same Buzz! trivia action that’s been done numerous times before on the PS2 — the series wasn’t broken, so there was no need to fix it! Available in a $60 bundle with four buzzer controllers, Quiz TV has you partaking in a TV-style trivia game show with up to seven other contestants in a battle of wits answering over 5,000 questions spanning five topical categories, including Music, Movies & TV, Brainiac, Sports and Lifestyle.

You can play by yourself as well and have decent fun, but in no way is this meant to be a solo affair. Buzz! has always been designed as a social party experience that both casual and hardcore audiences can cross skill lines and fairly participate in together. This is something Quiz TV excels in once again. Round types maybe aren’t as varied as they’ve been in past games (and you can no longer make custom matches with the round events of your choice, which is a major letdown), but all the main events are here and just as fun as ever. Pie Fight (fastest to answer gets to throw a cream pie at another contestant), Short Fuse (hot potato with a lit bomb), and Point Stealer (answer first and steal points from another player) are definitely the most entertaining in a contentious party atmosphere, but rounds like High Stakes (gamble certain allotments of points based on your knowledge of a topic) are also mixed in to add the needed component of risk-reward strategy that really is the lifeblood of any trivia game, especially a game show.

In the jump from PS2 to PS3, sheer advancement in technology allowed Sony and Relentless Software to round out the Buzz! experience more than was ever possible last generation. Yes, the graphics and game show atmosphere are better than ever thanks to the wonders of HD, but the most noticeable upgrade is actually not found in the game at all but in the buzzers. Though they have the exact same ergonomics and button functionality as before, they are now completely wireless. If you’ve played any of the PS2 games you’ll know what a tangled mess the wired buzzers are; but no more. Hurray for wireless freedom! Cool thing is, all Buzz! buzzers are forwards and backwards compatible. The new wireless PS3 models are fully functional with all past PS2 editions, and vice versa.

Online play is the other significant addition to the Quiz TV package. While only allowing for four players at a time (not eight like local multiplayer), online play adds another venue for trivia competition for times if/when you don’t have a bunch of friends or family around to play with in house. The online component is more than just about multiplayer, too. With this new installment Sony has launched MyBuzzQuiz.com, an online community that enables users to create and share their own eight-question quizzes that can be played within the game or directly at the website. Think about that for a second. User-generated quizzes. That means virtually unlimited replayability here!

User quizzes are already available in mass supply in a wide range of topics not covered by the 5,000 questions included with the game. I’m talking everything from cereal and fast food slogans to knowledge of our current Presidential candidates, and everything in between. With the advent of user-created content, Pandora’s box has been opened somewhat in terms of users abusing the system to post quizzes loaded with spelling mistakes, silly joke questions that no one knows, and factual inaccuracies, but thankfully a rating system has been built in so players can point out the good quizzes from the bad and even report the more egregious offenders for removal.

Adding to the replay value even more is Sony’s downloadable content infrastructure. Three add-on packs have already been released with 500 questions each in all-new categories like National Geographic Safari, Sci-Fi and Videogames, and more are sure to come in the future. Only downside is the pricing. Right now the Safari pack costs a whopping $8 and the other two are $6 apiece. That just seems wildly overpriced to me just to buy new questions, especially when MyBuzz user quizzes can be made and played for free. There are full PSN download games that don’t even cost that much for crying out loud! $5 and cheaper or maybe like a bundle for $10 seems more appropriate if you ask me. I’m sure obtaining the rights to use certain pictures and video clips for the questions isn’t cheap, but hopefully Sony can find a way to bring the pricing down moving forward. I really want to buy the add-ons myself, but simply refuse to do so at the current prices.

Something I won’t refuse to do, however, is enjoy Buzz! Quiz TV, because it really is just that fun and addictive. Trivia gaming simply doesn’t get any better than this, folks.

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Pros:
+ New wireless buzzers are a godsend
+ Introduction of online play and user-created quizzes make for virtually unlimited replay value
+ Fun, tension-filled trivia game experience the whole family can enjoy
+ New HD presentation greatly enhances the game-show-like atmosphere

Cons:
– Can’t setup custom matches with the round types of your choosing
– Overpriced add-on question packs

Game Info:
Platform: PS3
Publisher: SCEA
Developer: Relentless Software
Release Date: 9/23/08
Genre: Trivia
ESRB Rating: Teen
Players: 1-8 (1-4 online)

About the Author

Matt Litten is the full-time editor and owner of VGBlogger.com. He is responsible for maintaining the day to day operation of the site, editing all staff content before it is published, and contributing regular news, reviews, previews and other articles. Matt landed his first gig in the video game review business writing for the now-defunct website BonusStage.com. After the sad and untimely close of BonusStage, the former staff went on to found VGBlogger.com. After a short stint as US Site Manager for AceGamez, Matt assumed full ownership over VGBlogger, and to this day he is dedicated to making it one of the top video game blogs in all the blogosphere. Matt is a fair-minded reviewer and lover of games of all platforms and types, big or small, hyped or niche, big-budget or indie. But that doesn't mean he will let poor games slide without a good thrashing when necessary!