IGN Review of Family Feud Decades
In the realm of game shows, few have the staying power of Family Feud. Having first premiered back in 1976, the show has a long, decades-old history on television in the United States. In the game, two family teams of five players each answer basic survey questions that the producers of the show have purportedly asked normal, everyday people. After an initial head-to-head round that determines control of the board, one family attempts to fill out the survey as completely as possible by making guesses that best answer the posed question. They're only allowed to get three wrong answers, however, and if the survey isn't completely filled out by the third strike, the other family gets to steal with a single correct answer.
Family Feud Decades is the latest iteration of the Family Feud formula on the Wii. It's a functional, no-frills version that purports to be different from earlier efforts by celebrating the real life game show's existence over four decades. Gamers can expect to find questions, sets, and even character outfits straight out of the 1970s, 1980s, 1990s, and 2000s. Unfortunately, none of these differences are game-changers by any stretch of the imagination. The questions tend to blend together regardless of time period, while the sets and outfits suffer from the game's poor graphics.
Gameplay options in Family Feud Decades are decidedly limited. The game is designed to be played by one gamer against a computer opponent, or versus another human player locally. Playing against a computer-controlled family works well enough, especially since you can cater the computer's intelligence to your own skill level. A lack of any online play, however, is bound to turn off many gamers, especially those who don't have human opponents willing to play with them.
Regardless of limited features, it's the gameplay itself that's bound to frustrate most gamers. For whatever reason, Family Feud Decades forces you to play with the Wiimote as a pointer, which makes absolutely no sense. Why couldn't developer Ludia have given gamers the option to turn the controller sideways, using the d-pad to navigate the in-game QWERTY keyboard in a more succinct fashion? This particular qualm isn't a matter of preference, either. Even gamers who would prefer the Wiimote to be used as a pointer will find that the inherent control scheme will stymie them from doing what they want to do. The on-screen pointer is bulbous and clumsy, and will force you into making plenty of unintentional mistakes.
Gameplay also has an inherent, game-changing flaw. As you insert answers to various surveys, the game will begin to suggest answers to you. This starts after you've inserted two letters. The thing is, if an answer is a correct one, it will virtually always appear after those two letters are inserted. Likewise, if an answer isn't correct, you'll likely know after inserting the first two letters, because the answer doesn't show up. This is a crucial flaw that takes away a lot of the game's guesswork and allows gamers to essentially cheat, since they'll almost always know if an answer is the correct one or not before actually selecting it.
Making matters worse, because of the fact that the game doesn't give you infinite amounts of time to insert your answers (which it shouldn't), you'll often succumb to its poor controls when you realize an answer isn't correct. The Wiimote is used so clumsily that you're going to be hard-pressed to circulate more than a few answers in rapid succession before the time runs out. This simply wouldn't be as big of a problem if you were able to control the keyboard with the more exact d-pad, but that option isn't given. So even with the game's little extras, like an in-game Achievements-like system and unlockable character outfits and customization options, the bad controls alone will likely vanquish any desire you may have to keep on playing, compounded by the game-breaking flaws present throughout the experience.
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