As sat there unwrapping Buzz! Master Quiz I only had one thought: How are they ever going to turn this crazy four-player party game into a PSP game? I've played and enjoyed buzz (I even reviewed Buzz! The Hollywood Quiz
a few months ago), but the idea of bringing this franchise to the portable market seemed ridiculous to me. But while I was more than a little worried about what I was getting myself into, I also was excited to see if Sony could pull off what felt like an impossible feat.
Now that I've played through both the single and multiplayer modes of Buzz! Master Quiz I'm here to say that Sony managed to make me a believer. The problem is, while I fully believe that this kind of game is possible on the PSP, I'm not a fan of this hastily thrown together quiz game. It's not the worst thing Sony has unloaded on their handheld, but it's also completely forgettable and hard to recommend.
For the few people that haven't been keeping up with recent PlayStation 2 franchises, Buzz! is a series of game shows that allow you to compete with other players to see who knows more about movies, general knowledge and more. On the PlayStation 2 the series featured four buzzer controls, which sort of gave you the feeling of being part of a real game show. Of course, you didn't win any real prizes for your participation (not even a year supply of Slim Jims), but when you won you could rub it in the face of all of your friends and family members. The game was the perfect party game, even if that meant only bringing it out a few times a year.
Unfortunately there were some obvious changes that had to be made when porting it to the PlayStation Portable. Gone is the party atmosphere. Gone is the sense of competition. And worst of all, gone are the game show-inspired buzzer controls. Instead of being the kind of game that everybody can pick up and enjoy, Buzz! Master Quiz becomes a fundamentally broken game with multiplayer modes that require quite a bit of explanation. Who knew the kind of damage it would do to simply take away the cool buzzer controllers.
Buzz! Master Quiz is split up into two completely different sections, one for multiplayer and one for single players. Considering that most people will probably find themselves playing this solo most of the time, we might as well just start there. Sadly, there really isn't much to say about the single-player mode. For starters, you are given a map with 16 different quizzes on it, your job is to go through each one and earn a medal (be it bronze, silver or gold). The nice thing is that these different quizzes are varied, so in one you may be answering as many questions as you possibly can in a minute, while in another mode you will trying to solve a puzzle by answering a series of questions correctly. Either way, the quizzes don't take more than three or four minutes, which means that it won't take you more than an hour to complete these tests.
Thankfully the various multiplayer modes are more interesting, though even they seem to lack some of the charm and excitement of the original PlayStation 2 game. The good news is that two of the three multiplayer modes don't require more than one PSP, while the other can be played with only one disc (and four PSPs). The most fun multiplayer mode is the one where you pass your PSP around. The concept is simple enough; each player takes turns answering questions. What's cool about this mode is that there are a lot of different kinds of questions. Even better is that players will be able to sabotage their opponents (take points, etc.), much like the PlayStation 2 original.
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