|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|
So what's missing? Online support, for one. Scene It? is best when played with friends or family locally, but there's no reason for a game this simple to not have Wi-Fi multiplayer. When you're home alone, you can only play single-player, which is not much fun at all. The developers also dumped the ability to play as an avatar from your console, which is a huge and lazy disappointment. The avatars they replace this feature with aren't great, either. Also, despite the seemingly large number of questions, it seemed to us that we came across material pertaining to the same movies (Julie & Julia, to name one) fairly often.
The presentation doesn't help matters. Even on an HD console, Bright Lights! Big Screen! looks like a budget-bin Wii game. Cheesy and cartoonishly animated cutscenes interrupt the gameplay from time to time. The "host" (whom you can turn off, thankfully) is the hammiest and most annoying character we've met in a long time. We wanted to punch him. The avatars make stupid noises and movements whenever they win or lose. The only parts of this game that look and sound good are the DVD-quality movie bits.
There are a few smaller problems as well. For one, some of the time limits on the answers can be a little demanding and frustrating, and you'll often realize the answer just as time runs out. If you pause the game in mid-question for any reason, even if a controller runs out of batteries, the clock keeps ticking. The font is hard to see on smaller TVs. Also, regular gamers will find they have an advantage over their less-experienced friends, thanks to their knowledge of the controllers' button layouts. There's no way around this problem, but it can be a little unfair when your wife loses points scrambling for the right button. (Sorry, hon).
All these faults add up to an experience that's inferior to those of other Scene It? games, so if you have a choice, avoid this one. Nonetheless, it's virtually impossible to mess up this basic formula: ask questions about movies that players compete to answer. PlayStation and non-Twilight-fan Wii owners don't even have a choice. The bottom line is that if you get stuck with Bright Lights! Big Screen! this holiday season, there's no reason to despair.
CCC Freelance Writer