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Scene It? Bright Lights! Big Screen!
Score: 50%
ESRB: Teen
Publisher: Warner Bros. Interactive Entertainment
Developer: A2M
Media: Blu-ray/1
Players: 1 - 4
Genre: Trivia/ Party

Graphics & Sound:
If you're not a sucker for movie trivia, you should ignore Scene It? Bright Lights! Big Screen! If you love to flaunt your knowledge of the silver screen and its history, you should still ignore Scene It? Bright Lights! Big Screen! It succeeds as neither a single-player game nor a multiplayer game. Most of the games are heavily flawed and uninspired, the overall presentation is lackluster at best, and most importantly, it's not really all that fun to play -- even for movie buffs.

Whenever you're not watching film clips, Bright Lights! Big Screen! is a tired, bland, blocky mess. Many words can be used to describe this game's visual fidelity, but "next-gen" is not one of them. The host looks like the douche he is, and so do all of the lame pre-customized avatars. The Menus aren't a mess, but they're not elegant, either. There is very little animation work on the game side of things (as opposed to all the film clips), and when it looks this last-gen, I'm not complaining too much. The lip-synching is some of the worst I've seen in a game.

The voice acting in this game is painful; it's like they took the annoying advisors from Sid Meier's Civilization Revolution and taught them how to speak English. The film clips sound good enough, but that's not exactly to the credit of this game in particular. All of the other idiosyncrasies of the sound design, from the boring music to the limp sound effects, work against the game.

Movie trivia. How simple could it possibly get? I don't mean to be facetious, but there's more to Scene It? Bright Lights! Big Screen! than that. Not much more, mind you, but more all the same. You and up to three other players compete in a game show of sorts; one in which movie buffs have the upper hand. You'll answer several questions, most of which are presented in starkly different ways. These questions have to do with movie clips, titles, posters, stars, and much more. As far as the questions go, most of them are not all that bad, but it starts to get a little pointless when the game starts asking "What was the first line in this scene?" That's less of a content-based question than it is a test to see who was paying the most attention. Is that really what a movie trivia game should be all about?

There are some fascinating questions in this game, but you'll need to dig around for a while before any of them come up. Of course, Scene It? isn't a series that just lobs question after question of general multiple choice trivia at you. Unfortunately, this is where it suffers.

The game I enjoy the most is the one that revolves around self-assembling movie posters. It's really interesting to see all the people, places, and things that are normally upstaged by the often heavily-edited pictures of the main characters.

I wish I could say I enjoyed the other games as much as the aforementioned poster game, but if I had, the score would not be as low as it is. For each of these games, there are a few sketch-based games. The central concept behind these games isn't bad at all, but the execution is simply terrible.

Another huge flaw with most of the games is that many of the questions have little to do with the films themselves. Instead, they go off on an initially subtle tangent that eventually progresses into a "Six Degrees of ::insert any random Hollywood culture staple::" game. That's not movie trivia. That's tabloid trivia, and let's face it: who really wants to be the winner of a game that can be conquered only by someone who watches Entertainment Tonight religiously? Not I.

This is one of those rare cases in games where the difficulty level is purely subjective... or at least, it's supposed to be. Scene It? Bright Lights! Big Screen! would have you believe that those who know movie trivia better than others are going to be the victor at the end of each and every game. However, there are some pretty severe flaws with many of the games -- the sketch-based mini-games in particular. I know this is the second time I've referenced these games, but I will have to save the full explanation for the following section. All you need to know right now is that these games affect the difficulty level... and not in a good way.

Bright Lights! Big Screen! has a solid number of viable replays in it; the amount of time it takes for you to get every question pitched to you is more than likely going to be the exact amount of time you will want to keep playing this game. Of course, the Scene It? games aren't best played in long marathons. Once you're done, however, you're done. No number of Trophies will keep you from either getting rid of the game or leaving it on the shelf to collect dust.

Game Mechanics:
In Scene It? Bright Lights! Big Screen!, there is a mechanic-based flaw that has to do with... well, the primary gameplay mechanic. Of course, I'm talking about buzzing in. I've always ridiculed low-scoring Jeopardy! contestants who act like they're trying to buzz in as an attempt to save face. Every time someone else buzzed in first, they would get a puzzled or disappointed look on their face, as if to say "Hey, I got a busted buzzer here!" If these contestants were indeed being truthful on the show, I can honestly say that I now know what that feels like. You will never know who is buzzing in unless it's painfully clear that nobody else knows the answer.

Perhaps it's the timer that cripples Scene It? Bright Lights! Big Screen! most of all. The second a question is posed, the timer starts to countdown. After about two seconds, the score potential begins to fall rapidly. I'm sorry, but two seconds isn't enough time for the average person to read the question, look over the choices, and settle on an answer. That has almost nothing to do with movie trivia at all; it's all about reading speed. This is even worse during the picture-based challenges, because the picture isn't immediately presented in its entirety. The clip is sketched or unblurred as the clock winds down. More often than not, crucial hints on the film's title or the general answer to the question don't make themselves known until the time is nearly out. This is just plain stupid.

It doesn't matter whether you're an elitist who would rather watch and re-watch The Godfather or Citizen Kane, nor does it matter if you're a celluloid junk-food addict who tweets about every Michael Bay splode-a-thon and ::insert genre:: Movie abomination. Most moviegoers can enjoy movie trivia when it's done right. Scene It? Bright Lights! Big Screen! is not movie trivia done right.

-FenixDown, GameVortex Communications
AKA Jon Carlos

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