I have been playing quiz games on various platforms for years now, probably starting with a PC game called ‘You Don’t Know Jack’. Although all seem to either capture a particular well known real life game show, or add bizarre gimmicks to lure us in, I have been persistently disappointed by the lack of a true title winner that excels. Buzz attempts to put an end to my grief by adding the well known gimmicks as well as a few new ones while actually adding a substantial amount of substance in regards to the questions and expandability, thanks to downloadable content.
Buzz: Brain of the UK is a little bit of a contradiction though… Although the original Buzz for the PlayStation 3 features additional purchasable questions, thanks to the PlayStation Store, it seems they couldn’t resist releasing a brand new version of the game on disk, themed this time on the UK universe of questions and tom foolery featuring England, Scotland and Welsh flags. Why this route of trying to interest us with a whole new disk purchase rather than take advantage of downloadable updates is almost nonsensical, however lets give it a chance.
For anyone who has purchased the original Buzz will no doubt recognise the formula as the similarities are instantly clear. Buzz your ever so slightly over the top (but in a good way) quiz master leads you through the process, however, now he is a little bit more irritating due to the fact he now attempts to imitate many of the United Kingdom stereo types. The host aside, the rest of the presentation is actually spot on, with slightly altered video introductions and music, flags wherever you look representing the countries and the most important factor of all, questions targeted at a UK audience through and through.
Also introduced are the ‘Lucky Dip’ set of questions. These will as the name suggests, take a set of questions from several similar categories rather than target one alone. This makes for a more general session than you might be used to and adds to the overall interest. Other than that there is very little difference from this new themed edition and the original Buzz, which makes the potential buyers scope shrink if any take the chance to read a few reviews first. Usual categories include music, movies, sport, trivia and more…
For you newcomers out there, Buzz is a testament to good old cheesy game shows where with four buzzer accessories (sold separately), you can either play on your lonesome, play with friends and even online. There are 4000 questions, all of course based around the UK and any packs available online for the original Buzz work flawlessly with this version as well if you wish to expand. If you have the PlayStation camera connected, periodically an image will be taken in-between rounds when playing with friends, which is sure to cause a few chuckles when you look back at the saved images.
The real genius of Buzz though is the ability to mastermind your own quizzes and run others created by the community. Unfortunately the questions are limited to sets of just 8, however there are masses available to play directly through the game as long as you are connected online ranging from Frasier to Stargate, Gadgets and even Yamaha Keyboard technology (I created that one!). You can usually pick out the best sets due to the rating system included.
There are quite a few rounds that feature different tactics including Pie Fight, where you have to win control of the pie and throw it at the other contestants to eliminate them from the round. Fastest Finger, where as the name suggests the quicker you select the right answer the more money you receive and High Stakes, a bidding war where you risk to lose as many points as you win. The only problem is that the rounds never appear randomly and instead follow a pre-set route. It also lacks variety because of this and you are never caught off guard. The final round uses these accumulated points and converts them to time. All players are placed on raised podiums depending on your points. The more points, the higher the podium and the less chance of you reaching the bottom where you are eliminated. Overall the questions are quite easy as long as you have a fairly reasonable grasp of the subject, but that is perfect for a friendly round of games that will appeal to many age ranges.
The overall presentation will have you entertained from start to finish and with this new glossy UK theme, it adds a little more punch and relevance to your game. The characters have carried over from the original Buzz as well, all completely nuts, yet brimming with personality and bizarreness.
So if you have the original Buzz for PS3, you are no doubt wondering whether this rehashed version is worthy of your attention. Well really it isn’t in all honesty. Although the targeted UK questions are a strong positive, it doesn’t justify the additional cost as who wants an extra disk. Why on earth this wasn’t a downloadable content option I will never know and certainly would have been a lot more convenient, however this is the scenario we find ourselves in.
If however you are starting from scratch and purchase the buzzers separately, than of the two Buzz versions this is probably the better choice, as long as you can cope with the UK stereo types thrust upon your screen without much relief and can cope with the knowledge that there are 1000 questions less compared. Buzz is still one of my most favourite quiz games to ever be released on any platform, but I really do hope they reconsider their strategy! I for one would sooner see more questions and modes made available online than new disks appearing.