Electronic Theatre In-depth Review: Hasbro Family Game Night Vol. 2

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            After the success of Hasbro Family Game Night on Wii and Xbox LIVE Arcade last year, the eventual release of a sequel was inevitable. Hasbro Family Game Night Vol. 2 brings five new games to Wii, once again presented by the welcoming face of Mr. Potato Head.

            Hasbro Family Game Night Vol. 2 offers Connect 4×4, Jenga, Operation, Bop It! and Pictureka within the package. Each game features a two gameplay modes – a standard presentation inline with the traditional rules and a Remix version, which either builds-upon or alters the original ruleset – and some a third. All the games feature some degree of customisability, mostly connected to game length or Artificial Intelligence (AI) difficulty. The game utilises a player’s created Mii throughout, associating progress and high-scores with the animated caricature, and features a fully customisable 3D Mr. Potato Head, with is actually presented very well.

            While each game acts as it’s own, singular play experience when chosen from the menu, Hasbro Family Game Night Vol. 2 features in-game Trophies offering unlockable rewards, such as new parts for your customisable Mr. Potato Head, forElectronic Theatre Image successfully completing additional challenges. The challenges range from winning a set amount of Game Show events to winning Pictureka without the opponent scoring.

            Of the games included in Hasbro Family Game Night Vol. 2, Pictureka is perhaps the most enjoyable. The game tasks the player with finding items across a board, or a number of boards. Upon the roll of two dice, a card will be picked with a number, and the player must find the number shown on the die of the item listed on the card. The animations during each round grant the game unique character and the speed at which players must find their items makes for some challenging gameplay. The Remix gameplay mode brings new cards into play, such as the Spelling Card, with which players must spell the word using letters placed upon the boards, and the Memory Card, which will show a number of images for only a few moments before turning over and asking the player to find the images from memory.

            Operation features an interesting videogame interpretation representative of the original game. Players must find the object presented to them using an x-rayElectronic Theatre Image monitor, and then carefully guide it through a scrolling tunnel to secure its’ extraction. The Remix gameplay mode brings additional emergency procedures which do add to the replayability, but are unfortunately reliant on stock gestures with the Wii Remote.

            Perhaps the most frustrating of all the games packaged on the disc is Jenga. The control method is possibly the most unintuitive adaptation that could possible be imagined; rather than simply selecting a block and gesturing the Wii Remote to pull it out, the player has to wiggle the Wii Remote to give their removal some leverage, then pull the block using an overly complicated guideline and fishing-esque gesture. It’ll take most players quite some time to get used to the nuances of the games’ control system, and few are likely to bother. The Original Mode functions as you would expect, while Remix features a range of different coloured blocks and sets you specific tasks such as removing a certain colour, or two blocks in one turn.

            All of the games allow four up to four players, while the simultaneous release on Nintendo DS is limited to just two, and Hasbro Family Game Night Vol. 2 performs better with more human players available. In addition to the option to play each game once as a single game, players will be able to take part in the Family Game Show mode when at least two are present. Selecting either a short, normal or long game, players will spin the Challenge Wheel and compete to win the coveted Golden Potato. Single players can take part in a seemingly watered-down version of the Family GameElectronic Theatre Image Show known as High Score Mania, playing through ten randomly selected mini-games, attempting to achieve a set score within the time limit. Challenging though it may be, however, High Score Mania is a poor substitute for bringing in at least one additional player for a full Family Game Show event.

            Hasbro Family Game Night Vol. 2 may not be a particularly unique game on Wii, with many publishers having realised over the years since launch that family-orientated recognisable brands will most likely perform well on the system. And with Hasbro Family Game Night Vol. 2 featuring some of the most well known board games and supported by the strength of videogame publishing giant Electronic Arts, it’s easy to see how the game has shot to the top of it’s field. Aside from Nintendo’s own Wii Sports Resort or the Mario & Sonic at the Winter Olympics with SEGA, there’s currently no finer family title for a Wii Christmas afternoon than Hasbro Family Game Night Vol. 2.

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