52 Weeks of Canadian Gaming - Week 47
Release Date: November 17, 2009
Developer: Artificial Mind & Movement
ESRB Rating: Teen
Reviewed by: Brian Wray
To say that Scene It? Bright Lights! Big Screen! came in under the radar is a bit of an understatement. Most gamers did not even know this game existed let alone that it was developed by Canadian developer Artificial Mind & Movement. These are the same fine people that brought us the over the top action shooter WET. "Bright Lights! Big Screen" is actually the third Scene It? game released for the Xbox 360. Different than the first two, this one is not an Xbox 360 exclusive and that may be the reason why it is the low point of all three.
I was extremely pleased to see that even though the game has been developed with multiple consoles in mind, Artificial Mind & Movement kept in the “big button” controller support for the game. The button layout has not changed since the previous games making the big button controllers the best way to play this game. A little bit of friendly advice here. If you intend to play with the big button controllers, make sure that all Xbox360 controllers have been turned off before starting up the game. Failure to do so will result in the controller auto-shutting off and a pop-up on screen saying to reconnect the controller blocking the view of some answer choices.
Graphically the game fails on many levels. Scene It? Bright Lights! Big Screen! has gone multi-platform and it shows. The visuals appear to be optimized for the Wii. Gone is the delightful Xbox 360 Avatar support that I enjoyed so much in Box Office Smash. I actually did not realize how fun the avatars were in to the game till they were removed. The Xbox avatars have been replaced with generic stereotypical movie hero avatars. Not only are these avatar lifeless and bland, they appear to be made of LEGO blocks. I kid not, I honestly think the developers used MS Paint (and not the cool version of MS Paint included in Windows 7) to create these monstrosities.
Sound quality also took a serious hit. To me, sound quality plays as important role as the visual when determining my enjoyment level of a game. The sound synchronization is off the mark on most situations. It may not be noticeable most times, but when the producer is on screen, it is extremely obvious. Unless this was an intentional homage to old foreign martial arts films, this is totally unacceptable. While on the subject of the producer; yep he is back and as annoying as ever. I have a love/hate relationship with the producer. In “Light, Camera, Action” he was extremely aggravating with his lame jokes and irritating voice. In “Box Office Smash” the producer was toned down with a lesser role with better jokes and amusing impressions, resulting in an actually enjoyable host. The producer in “Bright Lights! Big Screen!” is a combination of both previous versions using the worse attributes of each. I was able to put up with him in “Lights, Camera, Action”, not so this time. Not only is he annoying, but the voice recording is so bad (not to mention out of sync) that it was causing my teeth to ache. I was ready to end my gaming session till I noticed that he could be disabled. Unfortunately the rest of the game’s audio is not much better and is required to actually play the game. My solution was simply to play the game using only the TV stereo speakers.
Scene It? is a movie trivia game, so the visuals and sound can be forgiven if it provides good movie trivia. I am glad to say that it does provide plenty of movie (and TV) related trivia. The game ships with over 2800 questions in 23 different question categories. Returning once again are anagrams, credit rolls, 8-bit reels, true or false and plenty more. Indifferent of the name provided all categories of questions fall into 2 classes; select the one correct answer or place the answer in the desired order. The questions may contain visual or audio clues (main reason sound quality is important). Most questions can be answered by all playing, while others require the player to “buzz-in” then supply an answer. PS3, Wii or new to the series on the Xbox 360 gamers should enjoy the great selection of questions and categories, but 360 owners that did play either of the first two games may not be so pleased as I did recognize many of the questions from these previous titles.
Just as the board game was, Scene It? is most fun for when enjoyed with friends. “Bright Lights! Big Screen!” does introduce a new twist to multiplayer games that is somewhat fun. I was pleased to see that the some of the weird award bonuses given to players at the end of each round have been removed. I always wondered why a player should get bonus points for getting the lowest amount of correct questions or answering the slowest. The bonus points have now been replaced with stars. At the start of each set of questions, any player with at least two stars can swap these stars for a chance to play a mini-game that will provide one player with a 1.5x score multiplier for the set of questions. The stars are given to players who are struggling and can allow them to get back into the game. Unlike the bonus points of old, the stars do not guarantee free points. The players must still successfully complete the mini-game to choose the score multiplayer for his/her character, an ill-timed effort will provide another player with the coveted score multiplier. Even if they do collect the score multiplier, they must actually answer the question correctly. Adding a bit of strategy to the stars is that only one player can attempt to receive a score multiplier per set of questions. Stars can also be disabled completely if preferred. This is a trivia game after all and not a game show.
While on the subject of multiplayer games; make sure these friends are located in your living room. For some inexplicable reason, there is no support for multiplayer games over Xbox Live in this title. This is extremely confusing as this gaming option was present in “Box Office Smash”. I am forced to assume ( I know all about the dangers associated with making assumptions) that the game was first developed for the Nintendo Wii before being “ported” over to the Xbox 360 console. This would also explain the poor graphics, sub-par sound quality and all round lack of polish to the game.
For gamers who enjoyed the first two Scene It? games on the Xbox 360, stay away from “Bright Lights! Big Screen!” as it has nothing really new to offer (save for some easy achievements). Those that have not played the previous two titles, I would strongly recommend that you go out and purchase the previous titles. Both titles can be had for about the same price (or maybe even less) than the price of this game and will be way more enjoyable. This game is destined for a quick trip to the discount bin.
ps/ Artificial Mind & Movement, after having played and immensely enjoyed WET, I expected more from you.