Scene It? Lights, Camera, Action
Is this the real must-have on Christmas Day?
Another day, another family friendly title made so even the idiots in the extended clan can cope with it. This time, however, we're presented with an already established brand with Scene It? Lights, Camera, Action, makers of things like the Friends quiz and certain other stuff we're not really sure about.
Perhaps limiting the potential audience for the first Buzz!-style game on Xbox 360, this release focusses solely on movies. The powers that be also decided that it should have family friendly big button controllers that are simple. They also decided that they should point out the simplicity of the controllers constantly, in case you hadn't realised just how easily you were using the buzz... err... controller.
Anyway, shameless ripping off aside, this is pretty decent fare. There's definitely a fair whack lost in the omission of the board game element - though that isn't something to complain about, considering it's for a games console - and there is a shocking lack of variety in the rounds. Donovan and co. certainly come out with a Buzzing recommendation over Scene It? at any point.
The thing is, it's all nicey-nice and sanitised and definitely family friendly, but that's it. Where's the wit? Where's the comedy? The backstabbing and point-grabbing? This game seems to think everyone sits around the TV and competes to see 'the best (wo)man win'. That's a crock if ever I saw one - people play to win, they enjoy things whipping up friendly conflict and they like to laugh when a game gives them the chance to screw over their loved ones - look at Monopoly.
But, dare I say it for fear of being shot at or something, this game is so overarchingly, disgustingly and maddeningly American it's unbelievable. Imagine all the worst, most irritating examples of the US race in existence, then imagine an unfunny, irritating amalgamation of their characters. There you have the 'Studio Exec' presenter of Scene It?. He's an utter cock, and his witty one-liners are about as witty as a defective wit-spewing machine. I think, in fact, I actually hate him. And if I hear his bollocks about this being the "...memory round, where you have to... Wait a minute... What was I talking about again?" HILARITY I may well have to stab someone in the chin. They could have localised it for markets with different tastes.
But we get past the lack of imagination on show. We ignore the shockingly sanitised, family Americana on offer. We even block out the prick with the voice. And we're left with something that you can enjoy. As a game to get the whole family playing it will work - there are more than enough questions spanning the entire history of film to keep anyone satisfied, and the amount of times a clip brought up conversations between a group resulting in film recommendations is something not many other games can do. Granted, Scene It? isn't out to do that in particular, but it does mean I associate warmer memories with the game. Bonding is good, isn't it? JAMES Bonding! AHAHAAHAHAHAHAohdeargodIfeelill.
Aside from guessing, however, there is no luck to a game. If you know about films (yo), you will win, and by a large margin if you have friends and family that have limited movie knowledge (double yo). This does, as with all games, take a fair whack of fun out of things - after beating a group of friends multiple times in one sitting, they haven't wanted to play again. That may be how it is with something like Guitar Hero or SingStar, but techniques can be learned for those party titles and players can get better. All they can do for Scene It? is know already or memorise answers - it isn't an attractive proposition.
The game is also marked down for lacking some of the truly next-gen features that we expect from family entertainment series these days. The upcoming Buzz! for PS3 is an inherently expanding product, boasts the opportunity for uploadable questions and quizes, and spans many genres. By comparison, Scene It? feels suitably last-gen, and we feel a little more effort could have been put into this aspect.