|System: Wii, PS3, PC, Xbox 360, DS|
|Release: February 8th, 2011|
|Screen Resolution: 480p-1080p||Crude Humor, Drug Reference, Language, Mild Blood, Sexual Themes|
by Jake Valentine
My first experience of You Don't Know Jack was when I was ten. I overheard my dad and his friend playing a game that was making fun of them for getting incorrect answers. Several years later, I began to comprehend the beauty of the You Don't Know Jack series, with its pinnacle, You Don't Know Jack: The Ride, becoming a regular experience for me. When I discovered that THQ was bringing You Don't Know Jack to consoles in 2011, I was excited. As it turns out, this was well worth the wait.
Now, some of you might be wondering, "what the hell is You Don't Know Jack?" It's a trivia game unlike any other trivia game out there. Games consist of three rounds - two five-question rounds and a final round called the "Jack Attack" where you must match two like words or phrases based on a previously mentioned clue. For example, if the clue is city nicknames, Big Apple would go with New York. Most questions are multiple choice. There are a couple of instances where questions will be presented in different manners, such as "Dis or Dat," which is where you must match up the item with the category it belongs to (e.g. if O-Zone is a boy band or bug repellent). One of the new additions is "Who's The Dummy," where a dummy will give a question, but is unable to say certain letters properly and you have to carefully read in order to get the correct answer. My personal favorite is the "Wrong Answer of the Game." Each game has an incorrect answer that will actually give you bonus dollars, based on its sponsor. For example, a sponsor for one game was "Blood Co." and its correct wrong answer was "Dracula."
There's an undeniable style to Jack that you can't help but love, even during its constant mocking of wrong answers. Its most recognizable feature is the ability to screw people by forcing them to answer a question. The screwer is rewarded if the screwee is incorrect, but punished if they get the answer correctly. Sufficed to say, be careful who you screw.
It should be no surprise that the game is filled with crude humor. The game's host, Cookie Masterson, is not afraid to poke fun at relevant topics such as Mel Gibson and Twilight. In addition, between games there'll be various audio clips played as you browse menus. You'll hear comedy bits, such as an advertisement for "Sam and Ella's Restaurant," a news flash that Charlie Sheen has been elected president, and so on. Part of the game's fun is discovering these easter eggs, if you even want to call them that.
Each trivia game will last anywhere from ten to fifteen minutes, regardless if you're playing alone or with up to four people. In previous entries to the series, only one player buzzes in to answer, allowing one person to dominate the game. Now, everyone is allowed to answer, which welcomes competitive play. No round is over until the final scores are calculated. I can't tell you how many times I'm able to come back from a deficit and win in the Jack Attack.
When playing online, lag kills. If there's a group of people who each know their trivia and are quick on the answer button, the fastest connection always seems to get the answer right. It's annoying, but it isn't game breaking; this isn't a common occurrence you'll encounter, ala host advantage in Gears of War. It's just, you know, annoying.
Jack won't blow you away with spectacular high-definition graphics or a deep and involving story. But then again, it's not supposed to. The essence of You Don't Know Jack is playing with friends, having fun, and getting a good laugh. The little changes of gameplay in comparison to other entries, especially the ability to allow everyone to answer a question, make for a better experience. There's lots of fun and humor to be found in Jack; I highly recommend that you always select "I Don't Care" for choosing a name on local multiplayer. While I won't be having marathon sessions of You Don't Know Jack anytime soon, I can see myself playing a game or two every day for a long, long time. At a price of $29.99, it's money well spent.
CCC Freelance Writer