Video Game Review – SCENE IT? Lights, Camera, Action (Xbox 360)

     November 26, 2007

Written by Charlie Mihelich

“Scene It?” for the Xbox 360 is the perfect example of a great concept with poor execution. While there is still plenty of party fun to be had, the whole package lacks the polish that would make purchasing the $60 package a worthwhile investment.

Most people know that “Scene It?” is a series of trivia games based on various aspects of pop culture. The Xbox 360 version is the movie version, updated to include movies up to and including the first half of 2007. The package boasts “Over 1800 new trivia questions,” but I’m not sure whether or not this means 1,800 total or if there are some older questions as well. Included in the package are four infrared buzzers that allow players to buzz in and answer questions.

The infrared buzzers are a nice thought, but in practice they are unnecessary and unreliable. Though the buzzer interface resembles the Xbox 360 controller, the buzzers do not sync with the Xbox 360 like the wireless controllers do, instead requiring an infrared sensor that connects through the 360’s USB port. While the buzzers do work, they must be pointed directly at the sensor, making it difficult to position the sensor where all players can effectively use their buzzers. Also, since the buzzers feature all the same buttons as the Xbox 360 controller, there’s no reason why a 360 controller wouldn’t be a perfect substitute.

Beyond the clunkiness of the buzzers, the developers of “Scene It?” made the interesting choice to throw in some poorly made cut scenes with bad voice acting to break up the trivia action. This usually amounts to “a producer” telling you what game you’re going to play next, or “a producer” telling you that the blue team is in the lead, all the while making terrible corny jokes. Even for a family game, these could easily have been scrapped to improve the package.

The most egregious part about these cut scenes and voiceovers is that they force the game into a loading screen. Though these aren’t terribly long, they really break up the flow of a game. Instead of playing a fast paced, intense trivia game, instead you feel like you’re taking a leisurely stroll through Hollywood.

If you can get past these speed bumps, there are some nice touches added to the Xbox 360 version. Because the Xbox 360 has a hard drive (or a memory unit), “Scene It?” is able to keep track of what questions you’ve been asked and what games you’ve played and makes sure not to ask those questions again. This way you don’t end up playing the game at someone’s house where the owner already has seen the questions ten times and destroys the other players. It levels the playing field, and hopefully prevents unnecessary resentment.

“Scene It?” is not perfect by any means, but if it’s the only way you can experience “Scene It?,” then it’s the package to get, but why would it be?

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