PS3 Fanboy review: Buzz! Quiz TV

It's amazing to see how far Buzz! has come. The popular PS2 quiz game makes an incredible leap onto the PS3, with great success, in Buzz! Quiz TV. Quiz enthusiasts and newcomers alike will find a lot to appreciate about Buzz's first outing on the PS3. The intelligent organization of topics, new online functionality, quickened pace and very easy-to-use wireless buzzers all make Buzz! feel like a new game in the "next gen."

In preparation for the PS3 game, we familiarized ourselves with the earlier PS2 versions of the game. While they were fun party games, we hated the frustrating process of detangling all the wires from our PS2 buzzers. Thankfully, we're able to get rid of those tacky peripherals with this new package. Simply open the Buzz! box, insert the wireless dongle into the system and put AA batteries (not included) into your buzzers. What we really appreciated was how quick the installation process was. The buzzers are already synced to the system, making it quite possible to start a game within just a minute or two of opening the box. When you want to jump into a party game, that kind of speed is quite important.

But, that's not the only thing that's been hastened about Buzz!. The developers at Relentless Software have made a product that's much more streamlined, and much more fast. Players won't be able to choose the length of the game in this iteration, but that's perfectly okay. In the PS2 games, even the shortest games felt a little too long. The PS3 version goes by much faster, and the time reductions come from getting rid of the lengthy explanations found in the PS2 original. The Buzz! games are pretty intuitive, and all it takes is a single sentence or two to really explain how each round will work. An example of smart design: the host of the show, Buzz, will tell players to answer questions as quickly as possible at the beginning of the Pie Fight round. He'll then explain what the pie does once someone has possession of it. There's no reason to sit around and wait to find out about every rule in that round: they come as you need them.

The general pace of the single and multiplayer experiences has become much livelier. Single player only offers one gameplay mode: Fastest Finger, which awards points based on how quickly a player can answer. There isn't much else single player can do, but this mode is enhanced by the presence of smartly designed XMB Trophies. There are awards based on score, and getting a Gold can be quite challenging, if you're not an expert at a particular subject. Getting the Lightning Reactions Trophy is also quite tricky.

We're really impressd by the presentation of the game. There's no real reason why a trivia game should look so good -- but Quiz TV does. Every character model is very detailed and well animated. You can see the tiny wrinkles in a character's clothes, and you can see the small animations that add life to each character. More than ever, Buzz! feels like a real game show, and its lovable cast of characters really adds so much personality to the experience. The voiceovers are as hilarious as ever. Our favorite moment? When you choose the extreme sports category. We won't ruin the surprise, but let's just say Buzz's response is quite spectacular.

The new categories added to the game add a jolt of much-needed variety to the game. Our personal favorites? Toons and Food & Drink. Quiz TV adds a feature, which lets you customize the categories you see in the game. Don't like 80s Music? You can disable that category in games. Only interested in tech questions? You can create a game that only features pertinent questions. This kind of flexibility should be commended.

If for some reason, Quiz TV doesn't offer enough questions, you can always turn to MyBuzz, one of the online features of the game. In this mode, players can go to the MyBuzz website and actually create their own quizzes for use in the game. It's a bit primitive, but it's surprisingly fun trying to create quizzes that appeal to the masses. In the game, you'll be able to browse and play through others' quizzes -- you can even rate them too. You're limited to creating multiple-choice quizzes of eight questions only. Some may complain about the length, but we found it just right.

The other online mode, Sofa Vs. Sofa, has also earned some criticism with its early release in Europe. It's true that you can only use one buzzer per team. However, most of the question types in Sofa Vs. Sofa encourage collaboration. Most questions aren't time-based, giving teams a chance to talk to each other before inputting their answers. If there's one complaint about this mode, it's that the final round takes a bit too long -- and is the only real decisive round in the entire game.

There's almost no reason to put as much effort into a quiz game as Buzz! Quiz TV has -- the casual audience doesn't need online functionality, or complex visuals. Regardless, the team at Relentless has crafted a quiz game that easily outclasses their previous efforts and becomes the de-facto standard in the genre. With great presentation, an impressive amount of content, and easy to use buzzers, Quiz TV is an easy recommendation for anyone interested in the genre.

PS3 Fanboy review: 8.5

This article was originally published on Joystiq.