For the one person out there who is not familiar with the show, Who Wants to be a Millionaire is a gameshow comprising of 15 questions that need to be answered on your way to winning a cool million. With three lifelines available to offer a sneaky bit of help when needed and two cut off points on the way to the jackpot that creates a nice risk/reward conundrum along the way, Who Wants to be a Millionaire has been one of the most consistently popular quiz shows of all time, and in terms of global appeal, is probably in a league of its own.
Given the popularity of the show and the relatively basic set-up, it’s of little surprise that there have been quite so many videogame conversions in the years since its inception back in 1998. Ported to just about every console available since the late nineties, the question isn’t whether Who Wants to be a Millionaire: Special Editions will be any good (you know you are getting a solid quiz-based videogame with Who Wants to be a Millionaire), but rather, whether or not Special Editions on the 360 does enough to set itself aside from the many, many games already released under the banner.
Well, that’s a tricky question to answer. In terms of presentation, this is a step up from previous games, but like any videogame based on the show, it is inevitably tied down to the basic Who Wants to be a Millionaire format. It’s set in the same old studio, with your avatar sitting in the same old chair, accompanied by the same old sound effects. If nothing else, it certainly does a solid job of capturing the vibe of the show. There is nothing here to get particularly excited about, but if you’re a fan of Who Wants to be a Millionaire, Special Editions hits all the correct notes.
Saying that though, there were a few presentational issues that I had with the game; the host for one is a tad strange. He looks like Aaron Eckhart ten years in the future but sounds like an upper-class, condescending Brit. Oh, he also has freakishly large hands. More annoyingly, he tends to repeat the same actions and quotes time and time again. These actions cannot be skipped, and after the first few goes, do become somewhat tiring. The avatars too are little more than vague shadows of male and female forms (although one does look suspiciously similar to Wayne Rooney – surely the last person you want on a quiz show!). It would have been nice to have the opportunity to choose between proper avatars or even get the chance to create your own. Those issues aside though, everything else just about looks and sounds the part. The studio, the lighting, the music, it’s all as you would expect.
With the usual array of random general knowledge available, purchasing the core Who Wants to be a Millionaire: Special Editions won’t deliver anything you haven’t seen before. What actually sets this game apart from its predecessors, however, is the ability to buy additional themed packs that have genre specific questions and can even provide unique set decorations based on the pack choosen. Of course, I can only review this game based on the basic package, but potential buyers should certainly be aware that Special Editions has some very special DLC planned. With a movie pack and South Park Edition already available and many more due in the coming months, Who Wants to be a Millionaire will certainly deliver plenty of content for those happy to put a hand in their pockets for the privilege.
With thousands of questions to answer in the core edition alone and games available for up to four players, there is plenty of traditional Who Wants to be a Millionaire gameplay to get your teeth into. How much you enjoy the game will be intrinsically linked to how much you enjoy the show, but as a quick party game, it’s one of those titles that can always be relied upon. A few presentational issues aside, this is a very solid recreation of the show and does an admirable job of putting you and your friends in the hot seat.
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