If SingStar is Sony’s poster child for the possibilities of DLC then surely Buzz Quiz TV (Buzz!, hereafter) is pointing the way for user-created DLC. Never mind that Buzz! was a sensation on PS2 and that the PS3 version is essentially a beautifully rendered HD upgrade, it’s always been the promise of the DLC that created the most interest. And so was it worth the wait? We’ll get to that in a bit…
Buzz! brings the TV quiz show direct into your living room. The HD visuals are simply glorious and combined with the accompanying audio of Buzz himself, the music, and the audience you’ll be forgiven for thinking you’re on the set of Family Fortunes. Get one of the new wireless buzzers in your hand – perfectly crafted and weighted, and super responsive – and you’re in for more fun than watching celebs humiliate themselves eating Wichita Grubs.
Buzz! can be played online and off, but the format is essentially the same. Each player grasps a buzzer in sweaty palm, ready to use it to answer the questions voiced by the lovely Quiz Master. Buzz makes merry quips at your progress, and the wonderful animations of the on-screen players soon let you know how they’re feeling.
Each quiz is made up of a number of rounds, with each round offering a different format. Listing them all would be as much fun as reading a manual, but here’s few anyway because we’ve read it so you don’t have to:
Fastest finger – the quicker you answer, the more points you get
Pass the Bomb – with each correct answer you pass the bomb on to another player, whoever has the bomb when it explodes loses some points
Pie Fight – get a question right and pick a player for Buzz to throw a pie at – eat pie, lose points
And that’s it – what more do you want?
Ok, ok, the really good bits: DLC.
The DLC comes in two flavours; official stuff from the PSN, and user-created stuff via the MyBuzzQuiz website. The official stuff is great and the price is fair for what’s on offer. Expect Buzz to consume money at a rate similar to that of SingStar. At TSA we have an extremely good (bad) knowledge of UK Culture, so we nabbed that quiz pack from the PSN and then spent the next 20 minutes trying to find it in-game. The fact that we couldn’t shows what awesome opponents we will make should you meet us online. Those of you less intellectually stunted than we will find the quiz packs installed on the corresponding Buzz Channels You can then play a game using questions just from the Quiz Pack, or you can mix ’em all up and pretend you’re eating foam shrimps – no, that’s pick n mix sweets, we’re getting mixed up.
But the real star of the DLC is the user-created stuff; this is where Buzz starts its one-way trip to global domination.
With a computer, your PSN ID, and the MyBuzzQuiz web site you can create quizzes that can be played on the PS3. Each quiz contains 8 questions and is equivalent to one round in Buzz. You can chain quizzes together into a Playlist to create a bigger quiz, so the 8-question limit isn’t as bad as it first seems. We suggest family oriented quizzes that will lead to fights, sulks, nasty recrinimations, and decade-long grudges resolved only on death beds. Or just a quiz about your dog. We invited the family over to TSA Towers to test this out and awesome fun was had by all. It was so awesome, here’s a transcript.
TSA: The questions will be displayed on the TV. No, the TV. No, I won’t be reading out the questions. Because we’re playing on the PS3. No, the questions will be on the TV. The buzzer, you use the buzzer to answer the question. The question that will appear on the TV. You press the colour on the buzzer that matches the answer you think is right. The answers? They’ll be on the TV too, underneath the question. No, the TV. No, I won’t be reading out the answers. It’ll all be on the TV. No, you don’t touch the answer on the TV, you use the buzzer to answer the question.
Look, this went on for ages.
TSA: Ok, round 1!
SuperCompetitive: I PRESSED IT AND IT DIDN’T WORK! I ANSWERED THAT QUICKEST AND IT DIDN’T WORK! I want my points. I’m not playing anymore.
TSA: You’re an idiot who can’t even press a button – shut up.
Mum: What do I do again?
TSA: Press the colour of the right answer.
Mum: Well which is that?
Everyone: WE’RE NOT TELLING YOU THAT!
TSA: Ok, round 2 is up!
Depressive: I don’t like it. I feel all pressured to succeed and I…oh, I missed that last question due to my self-introspection, can we do it again?
Depressive: I may as well kill myself then…oh, I missed that question…
SuperCompetitive: I’ve won! I WON!
See, this sort of madcap comedy can be yours if you invest in Buzz. Trust us, it’s absolutely worth it for this alone. But, there’s more…
You see, all those other Buzz! addicts are doing the same thing. And your quizzes and theirs can be made available so you can play each other’s. There’s a never ending supply of inventive quizzes out there, meaning Buzz! will remain fresher than Will Smith in Bel Air.
It’s 10/10 all the way this, what are you still reading for? Well…
Some of the rounds are excellent, but tarnished by lapses in judgement during development. In the Gambling round, why is your bid displayed for all to see before everyone else has bid? In the All That Apply round, why does it show everyone else’s choices during the countdown? Perhaps it’s to do with bluffing, but in our experience it doesn’t work out like that – it’d be better to keep everyone guessing until the reveal.
As with previous iterations pacing is a slight problem, as every other question signals an interruption by Buzz doing a comedy turn. Most of the time they’re fun, but in some rounds they rob the game of the tense atmosphere it’s worked hard to create. Especially noticeable in the Final Countdown round, with a little more thought this could have been altered to ramp up the tension.
In other places, it feels a little like Relentless ran out of time: sofa v sofa is really just one v one (although still brilliant fun), the lack of customisation for your own quizzes (no option to choose the format of the quiz, for example) are niggles that will no doubt be addressed in upcoming patches.
But, don’t let those things stop you, because Buzz! is a great game and the user-created DLC is better than watching someone fail to win a penny on Millionaire. It adds so much to Buzz! that at TSA we rang up Relentless and asked if we could pop round and do the sex with them. Later we got a phone call from the Police who wanted to quiz us about lewd phone calls. Quiz us, we thought, bring it on!
The potential for Buzz! is phenomenal, so much so that as good as this initial release is you can’t help but think it’s not even scratching the surface of what’s possible. That’s a testament to what Relentless has achieved and to the bar they’ve themselves raised so high. Which means, of course, that the only way is up. And given how good Buzz! is now, we can only fantasise wildly about how good it’s going to become.
Unless you don’t like quizzes, in which case it’s poo.