IGN Review of The Price is Right
The Price is Right has never been the same without Bob Barker. The hit game show that attracts everyone from old women to Midwestern frat boys lost a lot of its charm when Drew Carey took the reins and immediately started dialing in his performance like he was doing community service. It's hard to imagine how the show could become less entertaining, unless of course you happen to play the Price is Right video game. It's like standing in line for four hours to get into the audience, then being told it's full and you only get to watch from the lobby.
Ubisoft released three versions of The Price is Right. The PC version is the best, and cheapest of the three at $20. The Wii version is just a port of the PC title, with double the price tag. And the DS falls in the middle of the price range, but is by far the worst of the bunch. The only "right" price among these seems to be the PC version.
The video game not only doesn't have Bob Barker, it doesn't even have Drew Carey as the host. There is no host, just the disembodied voice of the announcer, presumably Rich Fields, the sound alike replacement for the late Rod Roddy. Both the Wii and PC versions feature full voice work for all the games. The announcer describes the prizes in his overly excited voice while video clips of the beautiful models play. Most of the time it's actually clips taken from the show from the last few years. The videos are extremely small, making it hard to see. Why can't they be bigger? I don't need to see the contestants when I'm trying to look at a "NEW CAR!"
Unfortunately the DS version features considerably less voice work. Rich does say a few key phrases (Come on down!) and yells out dollar amounts when you win big, but the descriptions of prizes are handled by a scrolling text box. For whatever reason, most of the time the text boxes cannot be skipped or sped up, so the pacing of the game just crawls along.
What's bizarre about the DS version is that the description is the exact text the announcer would have said. So during something like the Showcase, when the models put on a little skit, all the text is there, but there's only a picture of TV or a car. I guess the developers just want you to imagine what hilarious things those ladies are doing.
It's actually probably a good idea that no real celebrities are represented in the game, because if the other character models are any indication, they would have looked like deformed monster people. The eight different contestants (only four in the DS version) are all supposed to represent typical Price is Right audience members. There's the military man, the grandmother, the college guy, the housewife, and others. The models are so bad that not only is it hard to tell what gender some of them are, it's hard to tell if a couple are even human. Their limited animations (excited, pretty excited, really excited) are so jerky and terribly animated that it looks like they're having seizures.
For the most part the games aren't too terrible if you like Price is Right games. All the versions have about 15 different games, all taken directly from the show. The sound effects on the Wii and PC are spot on, and the DS has most of them in there, too. Plinko could have used a physics engine to actually mimic the game, since it's clear that the game just runs on a formula. The DS version in particular doesn't even try to make it look realistic, and the plinko chip smoothly slides down the chutes.
The game operates on a three strike rule. So if you don't guess the right price in the contestant corner at the beginning, you still go on stage, but take a strike. Likewise, if you lose on the wheel you get a strike. Players get to keep playing through the game, from contestant corner to showcase, until they get three strikes. Except for a few times on the DS version, I could never get past the wheel. It's like the game is rigged. I've been up to the wheel over two dozen times on the Wii and PC and have never won. Some old granny will magically bet my score (sometimes as high as 95 cents) and I get a strike and start over. It's total crap.
Multiplayer is a mode in the game that should be fun, but the rules to it are so broken that there's no point in playing. The players go through a whole game, and at the end the player with the most money wins. Anyone that has watched the Price is Right knows that the games don't give the same amount of money. If I play Cliffhanger, I win $40,000. The other player gets something like checkout and wins $7,500. He may go on and win the showcase (which would mean he's the winner of the show) and get another $21,000, but then I still win the game because my random minigame was worth more money. There's no way to control it.
All three versions of the game have Challenges in the game. So every time you win a game, or do something like win a Showcase with less than a $1000 difference, you win the challenge. On the DS these are just useless achievements, but on the Wii and DS they unlock video clips. They're usually bloopers, which are varying degrees of amusing. Some of the videos have commercials in front of them though. Yeah, there are commercials in this game about a show that is really just an hour long commercial to begin with.
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