|System: X360, PS3, Wii||Review Rating Legend|
|Dev: Artificial Mind & Movement||1.0 - 1.9 = Avoid||4.0 - 4.4 = Great|
|Pub: Warner Bros. Interactive||2.0 - 2.4 = Poor||4.5 - 4.9 = Must Buy|
|Release: Nov. 17, 2009||2.5 - 2.9 = Average||5.0 = The Best|
|Players: 1-4||3.0 - 3.4 = Fair|
|ESRB Rating: Teen||3.5 - 3.9 = Good|
by Robert VerBruggen
We're not quite sure why it's more fun to answer questions about movies than to actually watch movies, but it is, and the Scene It? franchise has been profiting off that fact for years now. Though first released as a board game with accompanying movie clips, it's also been successful as a video game, and its latest virtual outing is subtitled Bright Lights! Big Screen!
At its very core, the game delivers what it's supposed to; it's not hard to get together with family and friends and have a blast with this latest installment. At the same time, however, new developers Artificial Mind & Movement evidently built the game from the ground up -- possibly so they could release it in time for Christmas on all three major platforms instead of just the Xbox 360 (home to Krome's Box Office Smash and Lights, Camera, Action) or Wii (home to Konami's new Scene It? Twilight) -- and didn't do a very good job.
This title lacks a lot of its predecessors' best features. PS3 owners don't have much of a choice aside from the board game (and who plays board games when they have a PS3?), but 360 owners who don't have the previous two games should get those first. Twilight-enamored tween girls with Wiis can probably stick with what they already have, though other Wii owners are in the same boat as PS3 owners.
The setup is quite familiar. You and up to three friends grab controllers (or share one), and you're taken through some of the game's 23 different movie-trivia tests. Sometimes you watch a clip and answer questions about it, and even those who haven't seen the movie in question can usually earn some points with a sharp eye. Other times you see photos (some of which have been altered or obscured) or hear sound clips and identify them. Elsewhere you watch credits scroll by until you know what movie they're from (at which point you "buzz in"). Some straight-up trivia rounds out the experience. At the end, the game tallies up your score, and the best player wins.
There are 2,800 questions already on the disc, and downloadable content is on the way (for the HD consoles only -- sorry, Wii owners!). The questions are usually more than fair, demanding a reasonable amount of knowledge about movies without being too picky. The photos are identifiable without being obvious, and the clips are often entertaining in and of themselves. Between rounds, players get "stars" that they can use to multiply their scores, making it possible for people of different skill levels to compete (though we wish this system had been fine-tuned a little more; the game often awards more stars to the player who's ahead, which is pointless bordering on frustrating). There are plenty of options, including one that assigns negative points for wrong answers. The game even works with the "big button" controllers sold with previous versions of Scene It? and the PS3's Buzz! controllers, though we weren't able to test these (online, some have complained about the response time of the big-button controllers and the layout of the Buzz! ones). There are hours of fun to be had here.