IGN Review of Trivial Pursuit
Trivial Pursuit is the classic board game that everyone loves to hate. Its questions are so difficult that most people raise their hands in the air and say "I have no idea" on most every turn. But when you finally get a question right, the feeling of knowing something that would generally be considered useless knowledge to everyone else in the room is addicting. Very addicting.
EA has brought the game to the PS3, Xbox 360, Wii and PS2 with a handful of twists on the formula. It's actually a surprisingly well put together take on the board game, one that completely surprised me of its quality and level of fun. It's not perfect, but it's actually damn good.
The biggest and most obvious change to the formula is that instead of having to pull most of the answers out of thin air, the console variants of Trivial Pursuit are largely reliant on multiple choice answers. While you might think that this ruins the experience, it actually works really well as EA has done a very good job of putting the question difficulty at just the right level. While you can make educated guesses and score a much higher percentage of correct guesses here than with the board game, it helps to keep it moving quickly instead of going round after round of missed answers.
One thing that was done fairly well here is that EA has taken advantage of the medium and incorporated images and maps into the questions. So you might have a question where it shows you a picture of an animal, and the question asks you to pick its classification. Or, it might ask you which sport features a certain club, and then show four different sports images to pick from. Fortunately, questions like these are used sparingly enough where it doesn't feel like the game relies on them, while offering them up often enough to help distinguish it from the board game.
The other cool twist to the question answering has to do with maps. You might get a question asking where something takes place and then it'll show you a map with four areas highlighted with circles. You need to not only know the answer, but where the correct geographical spot lies on a map.
Trivial Pursuit features three main modes including Classic, Facts and Friends and Clear the Board. Classic is essentially just the standard Trivial Pursuit board game rules. Clear the Board is a single-player challenge where you attempt to collect all six wedge pieces and answer the final question. The twists are that you earn a point multiplier for every question you get correct, but you can only attempt a question at each space once. Whether you get it right or wrong, that space is now used up and you can't land there anymore. Your game is timed and you're playing for a high score, so you can try to top your score over and over again if that's your thing. It's a fun mode for when you don't have any friends around.
Facts and Friends mixes up the game quite a bit by having each of the players use the same puck. Each correct answer nets you some points towards that wedge, but each wedge can only be owned by one player. So if your friend claims the pink entertainment wedge first, you can't go for that one anymore. Well, except that the bonus events and betting throw huge wrenches into the mix. You can bet on whether an opponent will get a question right or wrong and earn points for yourself, while bonus spaces (which replace the Roll Again slots) kick off any number of crazy challenges, included a Wedge Challenge where you can steal another player's wedge that they've already earned.
Facts and Friends is actually a really fun way to play the game, and it's much shorter than a regular round of Trivial Pursuit, making it perfect for killing time when you don't have a ton of it. There are some design choices that I don't think work perfectly however. The big one is that the Wedge Challenge comes up way too often, and the person initiating the challenge is able to steal a wedge from another player, but not the other way around. So really it just puts you at the defense time and time again with no way to actually gain anything when another player starts this. It doesn't break the game, but I wish that this either happened less often or that the victim could also steal a wedge, or at least earn some points in another category. As it is, trying to get a Wedge Challenge is far and away the fastest and best way for players that are behind to catch up at the end of a game since there's no downside.
While I think that EA has done a great job presentation-wise with a ton of questions and a very clean interface, one thing that is most certainly bothersome is that the game doesn't feature online multiplayer. The pitch is that it's supposed to focus on the couch experience with your friends at your side, but you just can't help but wonder why online play wasn't included.
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