Sony is continuing to put together games that appeal to the mainstream and people who aren't necessarily gamers. Recently they released Eyetoy Kinetic, a fitness game we were very impressed with but their latest foray into the mainstream market is "Buzz!: The Music Quiz". Somewhat working on the Singstar premise, it ships with some proprietary custom hardware which the game requires and encourages more than two people to play. Buzz is an excellent idea but Relentless need to work on the execution before it becomes a must have PS2 option.
Buzz replicates Quiz Shows of the 50s and 60s in terms of layout, design and presentation. The introduction movie shows it all with the stars of the show crowded by fans, and the host and hostess drawing the most attention as they pull up to the red carpet, just how it apparently used to be. From there the game becomes a little stale depending on which option you choose.
One thing about buzz is that the single player is absolutely worthless. It is there but it seems to be added on rather than anything of value meaning this is not a game to play by yourself. The single player component consists of only two rounds and is more like a time trial than a game. Basically you answer questions to build up time and then use the time to score points. All in all it takes about ten minutes to do a full single player game and this was a huge disappointment, however multiplayer is much different story.
One thing that annoys us with the multiplayer game is that there is too much fluff going on. After each question you're subjected to contestant reactions rather than the next question and it breaks up the flow of the game. The fact you have to press the buzzer to continue on makes it even more annoying and quite frankly, it wasn't needed. It's all well and good in the first game to show this, but there should be an option to turn this off once the player has seen it for the millionth time.
Other than that though, the multiplayer game itself is very well done. You can have up to four players and due to the buzz peripheral you won't need a multitap. There are multiple rounds to play and each has a unique way to score points. Some of the more interesting ones are fastest finger and a mode where you buzz when the right answer is on the screen. This is a fun game to play with friends and really that's what it has been designed for.
In terms of repetitiveness, it certainly will be a while before you encounter any significant repetition with over one thousand song clips to listen to, and five thousand questions. When you start the game it asks how much knowledge you have in terms of recent or old music which makes it playable for both young and old alike. You can select both to give yourself the ultimate challenge. The quality of the questions and soundclips are quite good although at times you can tell a cover band has been used for some of the songs Sony obviously couldn't license.
The presentation is very over the top with a crazy host and hostess to guide you through the game. The set of the game is quite well done but overall it's not a game you buy or play for the graphics. Where it matters is where the game excels, but graphics and presentation is not one of them. The voice acting and sound effects of the game are well done and will be fun for the young kids who want to play with some funny noises being able to be used as the buzzer noise.
Buzz!: the Music Quiz is half game, half trivia package and excels as what it aims to do. Sony have done an excellent job and as long as you have a few friends to bring around, Buzz is worth picking up. Just don't expect the best trivia game you've ever played if you're into these things.