|System: X360 (XBLA), Wii, PS2||Review Rating Legend|
|Dev: EA Bright Light||1.0 - 1.9 = Avoid||4.0 - 4.4 = Great|
|Pub: Electronic Arts||2.0 - 2.4 = Poor||4.5 - 4.9 = Must Buy|
|Release: March 18, 2009||2.5 - 2.9 = Average||5.0 = The Best|
|Players: 1-4||3.0 - 3.4 = Fair|
|ESRB Rating: Everyone||3.5 - 3.9 = Good|
The last game I played was Scrabble. As you know, the goal is to spell words with a group of letters you receive. In order to play, you have to link at least one letter to an existing word on the board. I had high expectations for this one, as it's one of the most popular online games, at least on the computer; unfortunately, I found more than a few things I didn't like here.
First of all, when you play offline against your family or friends, they can see the squares you have and you can see theirs. Therefore, the strategy changes, even if the game mode is still called "original." Second, you can't zoom in and around the board unless you are trying to place a letter. Therefore, it's tough to distinguish between "double letter score," "double word score," and so on. Of course, if you're a scrabble buff you can probably recognize the colors, but for the rest, it's kind of a pain to have to select and move a letter in order to zoom in. The third issue I have with this game is the lack of modern vocabulary and the inclusion of questionable words. One example: I couldn't use the word "zen" and lost my turn for trying to use an invalid word. On the other hand, another player was able to score points with words such as "ho" and "jees." To top it off, I played five rounds without obtaining any vowels! This doesn't happen even when playing the actual board game.
The other game modes in Scrabble are fun and present an interesting challenge, but of course there's nothing like playing the original. In Tournament mode each player has to try to score as many points as possible in 25 minutes. In Bridge Builders, you have to try and reach the edge of the board before the other players in order to obtain extra points. You can also turn some options on and off, like penalties, challenge, hidden mines, hot letters, and more.
The presentation for all these games and the menu interface in general is acceptable, but it's not incredibly special. Even with the inclusion of custom themes for your game room and the numerous unlockables to help you decorate it, I still think the game could have been a bit more polished. Battleship is perhaps a bit more flashy and interesting, but overall I was a bit disappointed with the look of the game, especially with Yahtzee!, which could have been a bit more detailed, and Scrabble, where the board could have been more accessible by adding further zooming options.
Mr. Potato Head has always been a cool character, but somehow I think he lacks personality in Hasbro Family Game Night. The random sounds he makes are not enough to get you excited, confused, or make you laugh. In fact, he even gets a bit annoying when some animations are repeated consecutively. Luckily, the disco music included in the game is pretty cool, and it even made me dance and tap my foot to the beat while I was playing!
We're still waiting to play other upcoming games such as Boggle, Sorry!, and Sorry! Sliders, but overall Hasbro Family Game Night is a solid title with plenty of things to enjoy. There are multiple online and offline modes for each of the board games, and even if the presentation is not great, the gameplay can be really fun. At $10 per game, I recommend you to pick your favorite games and not worry about the other ones. They seem a bit pricey for what they are, but I guess if you really want to play something, 800 MS points is not so bad.
CCC Site Director