We’ve played more games of Trivial Pursuit: Silver Screen edition than we care to admit here at DailyGame, so it’s with a weird mix of excitement and embarrassment that we decided to see whether Buzz: Hollywood Quiz would pass the muster. The PS2 game has a value price ($40) that includes not only the game but four proprietary controllers as well (that work on the PS3, no less), so our expectations weren’t all that high. We were pleasantly surprised.
Buzz: Hollywood Quiz manages to replicate the game-show style in a trivia game rather then take a board-game approach, a decision that draws you in that much more as you can choose from several animated avatars, many of which draw upon the same movie stereotypes we movie buffs know so well. You can also name and customize the color scheme of your avatar with different skins.
The single-player aspect has you answering movie-based trivia questions with video clips, photo stills and audio questions. Answering these correctly rewards you with more time in the “hot seat” of the second round. It’s this second round in which correct answers start accumulating points, which you can either bank to start raising the score or gamble and go for more. It’s a good premise, and it works well in bringing that game show aspect home.
The multiplayer aspects are surprisingly deep, as you can choose from Team Mode, Free For All, or customize your own trivia show with a certain number of questions. Buzz Hollywood Quiz also supports up to eight players total, which is great online but ends up being far more than you can easily accommodate offline.
Accommodating all those players is in part challenging because the game comes included with just four controllers. Fortunately, the controllers themselves certainly don’t feel cheap in any way, with the trigger/buzzer being a big red button that lights up when pressed. The light is a small design decision, but it shows an attention to detail that many peripheral developers would have passed over. Not Sony. Once you’ve buzzed in, you make your choice using the four colored buttons on the side of the controller, which fits comfortably in your hand and is really the way to play the game. We couldn’t imagine playing Buzz: Hollywood Quiz with the DualShock 2 or DualShock 3 (again, the game works on PS3).
Buzz: Hollywood Quiz advises — and we recommend — using a memory card, which cuts down the repetition of the questions. Considering there are 5,000 questions, the game isn’t likely to get stale for a while, but the memory card is still a good idea to make sure. With all those questions, Buzz: Hollywood Quiz manages to be friendly enough for the younger gamers while providing enough challenge for older gamers as well. And sometimes, those two aspects are one and the same; we found ourselves stumped at some of the newer animated movies and trying to recall the secondary character’s name, let alone the naming the actor who voiced it.
Visually, Buzz; Hollywood Quiz is bright and colorful, with a pastel palette whose questions tend to pop up just like you’d expect it too. It’s not the latest build of the Unreal Engine, sure, but that’s not the point: Buzz: Hollywood Quiz rises above what it could get away graphically and takes the higher road. It’s games like this that show the viability and staying power of the PS2.
As a trivia game with a finite number of questions, Buzz has limited staying power, but then again, so do all board-based trivia games. And, considering the pricing is about the same as a board game, Buzz: Hollywood Quiz’s unique controllers set it apart and add to the immersion far better than rolling a die and moving your piece around a board.
Buzz: Hollywood Quiz deftly straddles the line between budget and quality, and if you’re hurting for a movie-based trivia game, you can hardly go wrong here. There are also several other trivia games under the Buzz name, which offers expandability down the line. Just make sure that when you play with friends you remember not to shout out the answer as you do when watching Jeopardy! on TV.
- Score: 7
— Phillip Vollmer