Friday, January 08, 2010

Scene It: BOS

About a year or two ago, Sunny and I bought the 'Scene It' DVD board game. We liked it, so when we saw the Xbox 360 version, we bought it.

I was surprised when I saw the box, because for just $30, you get the game itself and four wireless 'big button' controllers.

I honestly didn't know what to expect, especially considering a normal wireless controller costs around 60 bucks. To be clear, the controllers that come with 'Scene It!' are not normal Xbox controllers, they have one big button that doubles as a buzzer and D-pad, the usual A, B, X and Y buttons to select your answers as well as a 'start', 'select' and Xbox Guide button on the bottom.

Opening the box explained the price difference. Normal wireless controllers connect to your Xbox using a 2.4ghz radio signal. The 'Scene It!' controllers work just like a normal TV remote. You get an infra-red sensor that you connect to your 360 via one of the USB ports on the front of your 360 and then set the sensor near your TV.

Because of the price, I was expecting the controllers to feel cheap, and when I discovered that they worked like TV remotes, I was a little worried that they would miss button presses if they weren't pointed directly at the TV, etc.

Instead, I was pleasantly surprised. The controllers feel really well made, they're very ergonomic and pretty soon I totally forgot about the sensor and discovered the controller would work no matter which direction I pointed it. They also come 'batteries included', which I really appreciated.

In fact, the only thing I didn't like about the controllers is that player 1, 2, 3 and 4 are 'hard wired' to each controller. IE, Player 1 is always green, Player 2 is always blue, etc. It's a tiny little complaint and makes absolutely no difference to gameplay whatsoever, but it would be nice to be able to pick which color you wanted to use.

Now, I'd read some pretty poor reviews of Scene It, and I have to say that these were completely unfair.

The reviews for Scene It are just another case of the gaming media not really understanding what the game is about. They did the same with the karaoke game 'Lips'. Most of the reviews talk about shallow gameplay, little attraction to 'hardcore' gamers and overall lack of depth.

Well, this game isn't meant for hardcore gamers…and it's not meant to be deep. You're not supposed to turn it on and play it for hours and hours on end, alone, without getting bored.

The whole point of this game is to provide an hour or so of fun at a time to people who may have never touched a videogame before. In fact, I wouldn't even call it a 'video game' in the traditional sense of the word. It's basically a quiz game that's using a gaming console to take over the 'work' side of the game.

It's the perfect game for when you have people over, because even if your guests have never even seen a videogame before, you hand them the controller and they know what to do. You press the big button to buzz in, and then press one of the other four to pick your answer.

There are a number of varied question types, all of which are a lot of fun and offer enough variation to stop you getting bored for at least two or three half hour games at a time.

In fact, the only real problem I had with this game is that while it can be entertaining on your own and a lot of fun with two people it can feel a little unbalanced without the full four players.

For example, in between rounds points are awarded for things like the fastest answer, most correct answers etc, etc. Now, to keep things interesting for, shall we say, the 'less talented' players, points are also awarded for the fewest correct answers, slowest answers etc, etc. While in a four player game this just gives the worst player a fighting chance to catch up…it can really unbalance a two player game. For example, you can finish a round and your opponent can potentially gain an extra 5000 points just because they got more questions wrong and answered more slowly than you.

Also, I found the final round a little frustrating. With all the questions in the game you score more points by answering faster (as the time ticks down, so do the amount of points for answering the question so the quicker you answer the better). In the final round you get asked four questions, but each correct answer adds a multiplier to the points won. 1x, 2x, 5x and 10x. This means that in a game where you usually reach the final round with around 60,000 – 80,000 points, the final round is potentially worth 35,000 points…which means that unless you're 35,000 points ahead by the time you reach the final round, the game is still potentially anyone's.

Of course, this could technically be considered a good thing considering that this is intended to be a party game. People quickly lose interest in a game if they realize they have almost zero chance of winning after the first round.

Long story short, for 30 bucks you get a fun party game and four controllers to play it with. It's more than worth the money and I'd recommend it to anyone who wants something fun to do when you have family or friends over.

1 comment:

Sunny said...

My two cents....
I love it for the exact reasons you listed about non-hardcore Gamers.
It's just plain FUN!!!