Buzz: Brain of the UK

PS3

Buzz: Brain of the UK is the latest quiz game from Relentless Software to come to the Playstation brand, still promising fun for all the family, and still featuring the amusing/irritating host, Buzz. 

Ah, but this time there’s a twist! As you can see from the title, this is a UK specific game, with UK specific questions. They’ve even slapped a bundle of Union Jacks up around the studio and got (the Jason Donovan-voiced) Buzz to call us all pommies and do (truly dreadful) UK regional accents. And Buzz wears a delightful Union Jack tie. How very British! 

The problem with this idea, for me, is that I never found any of the other Buzz games to be annoyingly international. In fact it never occurred to me that maybe the questions weren’t tailored specifically to a UK audience – they were just good, sound questions.

So, apart from all the cor blimeys, ooo-arrrrrs, ‘appens and the like, what exactly has changed here?

I’d say it’s very closely modelled on the old game. In fact, I’d go further than that and say it’s exactly the same. If you read my review of Buzz: Quiz TV, then everything I said there about that game also applies to this. The choice of characters are the same, the presentation, the different rounds, the music etc. etc. etc.

Now, that’s not to say that this is a bad game, far from it. As I said in the other review, it’s a very good game. Loads of fun with friends or family, anyone can play it thanks to the easy to use buzzers, and you can even make your own quizzes. So it’s recommended, but with one caveat. I think you’d be a bit cheesed off if you bought this having already bought Buzz Quiz TV when you got home and realised just how very very similar they are. You are getting 4,000 new questions and a few humorous regional accents for your money, but this really should have been a paid-for add-on for what is already a very decent game.

I strongly suspect that the only reason this even became a full game is because it is also being released on the PS2, which doesn’t support the Playstation Store to allow you to buy this content otherwise.

PSP

The topic of other systems leads me rather neatly to the second part of this review.You see, I was sent both the PS3 and the PSP version of the game to review, and have tried them both out.

The PSP version of the game shares the same high quality production values as the PS3 version, as well as some of the same questions. I couldn’t tell you if all the questions from the PS3 version are on there, but there is at the very least some overlap. 

One of the best things about playing Buzz has always been playing multiplayer, so the PSP version has a number of ways of doing that. There’s a Pass The PSP mode where players take it in turns to answer questions, plus the PSP’s Game Sharing mode, where you can share the game with a friend’s PSP in the immediate vicinity. This allows you to play the Fastest Finger First mode where answering quickly wins you more points, that (for obvious reasons) wouldn’t work with you passing the PSP around. Also available is Quiz Host mode, where one person is the quizmaster and reads out the questions, then scores the players accordingly. It would be quite a good way to improvise a pub quiz, at a push!

The only real problem I could see with playing the PSP version multiplayer is that each of the multiple choice answers are mapped to one of the four face buttons on the PSP, rather than the big, bold and obvious buttons of the Buzz buzzers you use on the home version. This takes away somewhat from the “anyone can play it” aspect I like so much on the PS2/3 versions, as players unfamiliar with the Playstation layout of buttons would no doubt take a lot longer to answer than regular gamers.

Fortunately, Relentless have realised that the PSP is the kind of console you’re likely to be playing on the bus or train, and so have spared you the embarrassment of trying to start a multiplayer game with a tramp who smells of wee, by adding in some single player challenges. These take the form of rounds where you either get a set amount of time or a set number of questions, and have to score enough points to get either Bronze, Silver or Gold medals. A Bronze is enough to unlock more challenges, but obviously Gold is what you’ll be go-go-going for. Given that Buzz’s forté has always been multiplayer, the single player modes are surprisingly fun. 

Oh, and for those of you who don’t feel like you’ve done anything unless you’ve been awarded a virtual trophy or award, you’ll be pleased to know that the PSP doles out special in-game trophies for things like answering a question correctly in under half a second, while the PS3 version has a full compliment of quiz related Trophies, too.


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