Family Game Night 3 Review

It’s time to look at an old party game I have for the PS3. Oddly enough, even though I played the games back in the day I never bothered to actually upload it to the site or anything. Well, it was a good excuse to go back and replay the game for the review, but unfortunately it isn’t as good as I remembered it and I already knew that it was a bad game. I dare say that this could be the worst party game of them all and that’s saying something. At the very least it gives the bottom tier ones some competition.

There are 5 minigames total. That’s already a pretty sad number when you consider that this is a PS3 game. I mean, you could have a little excuse for this if it was for an older system, but for the PS3 I expect more. There is nothing else to do in this game so if you’re looking for some good replay value look elsewhere. I mean, I suppose you could go after the Platinum trophy, but you’ll have to sink in a decent amount of hours for that and with how many luck based trophies there are it could be a while. I think you can cheese most of them through two player mode if it helps. You will also be gathering some Potato Head costumes along the way which I guess should be interesting.

Lets look at the actual games though as a party title lives or dies on those. We’ll start with 2 of the good ones. The first is Twister. It’s pretty self explanatory except they misspelled Dance Dance Revolution. After all this Twister game is nothing like Twister. You hit the right buttons as they pass the screen. It’s the exact gameplay of a DDR game, but without having to actually dance and hit the buttons yourself. It’s an easier way of doing it, but less engaging. Still, on its own I actually like this minigame. There was a reasonable amount of effort put behind it and the core gameplay is just fun. Not to mention that there is less waiting on this one since I believe each player tries to match the notes simultaneously.

The next minigame is Yahtzee. This one must be easy to develop or something since it seems to be the old standby for pretty much all of the party games on the block. Well, that’s not a bad thing I suppose since the gameplay isn’t half bad. The problem is that they add a Hands Down! mechanic where you have to get a certain combo and then fight someone with the same one. I don’t get the point of this and it just takes away some of the fun. It drags the games out more than they should be since it forces everyone to keep going until 2 people have the exact card combination. Of course dragging things out is exactly what this game likes to do as you’ll see in the next 3 games.

Next up we have got Mouse Trap which is basically a movie. You roll the dice and move through the board that has no ending. The goal is to pick up a lot of cheese which you get by landing on a cheese spot. Thing is, you can’t control anything except for dodging some traps by pressing x at the right time. Beyond that, you just follow the dice and keep on rolling until you get your cheese. This can take over 15 minutes, likely longer if you play multiplayer. The problem is that the cheese traps take your cheese away and the odds of getting a lucky roll to land on the cheese 6 times is quite low. At least, it’s low if you want to finish at a reasonable time. I think my problem with this is that you aren’t really doing anything so is it really a game at that point? It’s 100% luck and that’s not cool. There is absolutely no point to the game and it takes too long to finish. Making it more interactive would have helped a lot.

Life falls into the same traps. This one has you on a long, straight board without any real mixups or elements to make it interesting. You want to retire and whoever does so first wins. So, to do that you spin the dice and watch where the road takes you. You do get some slight options like choosing 3 cards out of 9 but they are all random so you can’t see what it is anyway and then you pick your favorite card which will give you some effects. You won’t know which effect you’ll be getting though since you have to wait until you roll the dice for that. Everything is just so random and nothing is explained properly. It’s another really boring auto game where nothing is happening.

Finally we have Clue. This one is a slight improvement over the last 2 but not by much. At least you are trying to solve a case and you can choose in what direction you move. On the other hand, a lot of time is wasted for the many special effects that happen every turn. Whenever someone turns on the lights we get a cutscene and either a suspect is eliminated or one of the players will lose a turn. Either way it takes up time and if someone rolls a house party effect then everyone is reset back to their original positions. This is the longest cutscene by far as it’s almost a full minute and the computer activated it multiple times during our encounter. The minigame is pretty faithful to the board game, but it’s nowhere near as fun.

Family Game Night just didn’t realize how to make the board games fun in video game format and that is the big problem here. The game could and should have been a lot of fun, but instead it is just too drawn out. There are also loading times between every game that take up a lot of time. It’s the same cutscene for each loading time as well which doesn’t help matters. Each game also gets an unskippable intro that isn’t as amusing as it seems to think it is. The game is definitely not optimized.

As far as the graphics go, it’s certainly not PS3 level. I doubt that a lot of serious effort was put into this game. It was probably slapped together very quickly and rushed out to stores for the $$$. Hopefully it didn’t work as I can’t imagine buying it for full price and then realizing how terrible it was. At least Game Night 4 heavily improved upon this game but there is still no excuse for starting out this badly. At least give us a good soundtrack!

Overall, This game is brutal. I’m not going to mince words here, the game is terrible! There’s no heart behind the game and the actual game selection is bizarre. You shouldn’t have 3/5 of the games be all about rolling the dice and hoping that you get the right number. It probably saves on production costs since the games are so similar, but it’s not great from a player perspective. There won’t be any point where you are actually enjoying this game enough to justify buying it. I highly recommend avoiding it and if you want a decent party game check out the Mario Party series. That one gets in a proper balance of skill and luck while also making sure that no minigame overstays its welcome. That’s how you make a party game.

Overall 3/10

Twister Review

It’s time for a fairly old film. Twister may have come out in the late 90s, but for some reason it always feels a whole lot older than that. I dunno, maybe it’s just me but since it’s so iconic it just feels like it has to be ancient. Well, I’ve seen this film twice and it’s fairly solid. Some parts of the story are a bit iffy involving good ole Bill, but chasing the Twister is always fun. If only the characters realized how outmatched they were.

Bill used to be a storm chaser. He’d find a Twister and drive after it to collect more data. His team had even started to create a machine to stop it, but then Bill had enough of this life. He tried to get a divorce from his wife Jo and went off to find a new lady. Well, he found her so now he’s back to make the divorce official. Unfortunately, Jo seems reluctant to do so and convinces him to go on “One Last Ride” to stop a current Twister and prove that their invention will revolutionize early warning systems as we know it. Bill is skeptical, but once his old rival Jonas pops up, he realizes that he has to finish this.

Here’s my problem with Bill, it’s hard to sympathize with him at all. We never really get much reason for why he split up with Jo. They definitely seem to have some disagreements, but nothing major. It also comes across as rather fake because he found someone else so quickly. He got together with her and even planned to get married before the divorce was finalized. It was all very rush rush on his part and I just can’t like a main character like that. As you’d expect, he also ends up going back to Jo by the end of the film. He was dumped first, but he sure made it easy on his new fiance since he jumped back into the fold so easily. At least one good thing about Bill is how he’s always ready to jump into a fight. When he notices that Jonas has stolen his invention, Bill quickly steps in. After all, now it’s personal! It was nice to see that side of him, but it’s not enough to make this ex professional a good character.

Jo is a decent heroine I suppose. I’d probably take a while to fill out the divorce papers too just to mess with everyone. She takes everything in stride and pretends to be oblivious to what everyone else is thinking. Jo can come across as a little selfish at times and the whole 3 way romance plot is still tricky for all of the characters involved. At least Jo is more down to Earth though and prepared to go anywhere to stop the Tornado. Unlike Bill who quit, she stuck with the project the whole time so that definitely deserves some credit.

Meanwhile, we have good ole Jonas. I actually liked this guy. Sure, he stole the idea to give himself some credit and is not heroic by any stretch of the imagination. That’s what makes him such a good antagonist. He’s not trying to destroy the world or anything, he just wants to spite his old pal Bill and get rich. At least he’ll be stopping tornadoes along the way. Unfortunately, he does underestimate the tornadoes at the end and proves the heroes right when they thought that he just didn’t have the right knack for the job. The guy was good at working the crowd, but that simply wasn’t enough. I did miss having him around though as he had most of the good banter.

There were a few other supporting cast that hung around during the film. After all, Jo had a whole crew with her. Unfortunately, these guys weren’t great. There was one guy who whined a lot and really liked cookies, but I can’t say I was crazy about his gimmick. He wasn’t very smart and that was basically his whole character arc. The rest of the staff are all right, but they don’t actually do anything. Bill’s new fiance is all right as well. She’s pretty reasonable considering what she has to put up with during the film. The movie does make her exaggerated at one point though as she doesn’t want to eat with everyone at the table. It wasn’t even dirty and the staff weren’t eating like pigs. She just didn’t like that everyone was passing the food around like in those movies where the table is too big. Honestly, I thought everyone was doing well all things considered so that was clearly just to make us want Bill to change his mind. It felt out of character for her. She probably made the right move in breaking things off at the end though. Nobody wants to play second fiddle and it’s clear that Bill had been starting to waver.

I also have to give the film some props for not self destructing in the opening minutes. In Jo’s origin story, her dog nearly doesn’t make it to the shelter in time because her father was getting ready to close the hatch. Fortunately, the dog did make it though and then the father was taken away in the tornado. That’s an ending that I can live with and if the dog had died this review would be very different. The mother has a tough time overall though as she gets a pretty rough turnaround in the present as well. Still, animal violence would have been a huge no no.

The effects for the Tornado look pretty good as well. A giant black tower of destruction is exactly what you would expect from one. The driving around the country side could have been boring, but the writing/script were solid enough to keep the pace up. I was entertained at the very least and I have to give Jonas some credit for this again. He certainly kept the stakes high since he meant that the heroes would have to keep going fast. They’re also lucky that Bill did stick around since his 6th sense saved them quite a few times. They would have been in the wrong direction otherwise.

Overall, Twister is a good film. The characters aren’t really a strong suit though. They are reasonably charismatic I guess, but when you actually think about the characters they get a little tricky. I did like the rival though and the banter between the characters is good. At its core, the light tone and bond between the characters is what makes it fun. As much as Bill keeps claiming that he isn’t here to stay, the members of the group don’t believe him for an instant. It’s fun to just see them all having fun and referencing the good ole times even if we don’t actually get to see them. Don’t get the wrong idea though, I’m not proposing a prequel film. A “Twister” film without the twister could be dangerous. The writing is pretty solid and the Twister scenes are pretty fun. If you haven’t watched the film yet, you should since it is one of the original Disaster films. There aren’t too many destruction scenes so prepare for a lot of down time where the characters eat and have fun, but those scenes are handled pretty well. I could definitely see a remake of this doing well since the core plot is interesting as it is. They’ll just have to make a few adjustments since modern times have changed the situation a bit.

Overall 7/10