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After the success of the first season of 1 vs 100 on Xbox 360's live service, season 2 is back to challenge our general knowledge between 19th of November and February 14th 2010. The format has been updated a little, but essentially remains to be a fresh quiz game format that captures the thrill and tension of our beloved Friday night TV shows.
The first difference here is that live games now take place on Tuesday and Friday nights instead of Friday and Saturday. I think this is a good idea as the games are quite long, often over two hours, and this new format makes it more likely that people will turn up to both sessions. It still holds that Firday night quiz show TV slot so I was happy - many memories of staying in watching The Generation Game, Family Fortunes, Blankety Blank and more recently Who Wants to be a Millionaire.
Another change is that season two offers Xbox live achievements.12 achievements are available this time around for a total of 200 points. This is a slightly odd step as, although it's always nice to get achievements, I don't believe Microsoft allow other software producers to include them if the game is free.
One small tweak that I actually got right into were the little awards you can now pick up - like 'Top 100', 'Beat the One' and so on. These appear with an enhanced post game summary where your avatar stands on a little pedestal of a height that represents how well you did against the other players in your party. Then, as you gain points you'll also get assigned a title to match your progress - like 'smart cookie', 'wise guy' and the rather bizarre 'bell ringer'. Nice, if a little American.
It still holds that Saturday night quiz show TV slot so I was happy - many memories of staying in watching The Generation Game.
The live host seems not to have made it into Season 2 of 1 vs 100. I remember from last season that even though the commentary could be a bit flat the presence of a live host made it feel like you were taking part in a TV game-show. The consequences of its absence this time around is that during games, the pre-recorded host (who was sporting a nice new hairdo the other day!) still introducing the live host. We then snatch a glimpse of the live-host animated character before a sudden cut to other material takes place. She'll even say 'thanks host' at the end! Playing in the UK it was obvious we simply weren't getting the same amount of Microsoft 360 love as they were in the US, where I suspect the live host still exists.
Also, and this may just be me here, but the lip sync on the pre-recorded host's speech seemed much worse this time. I'm sure I would have noticed this before and I don't recall thinking it was bad, but now her lips seem to keep going way after the speech has ended.
All these comings and goings though do little to effect the actual 1 vs 100 game play. Actually playing the game is just as much fun as before, especially if you can convince a couple of friends to play along. Playing on your own is still OK, but its better when you can have a spot of banter when you get a question right and your mates get it wrong.
Being picked for the mob is still a great experience.
Being picked for the mob is still a great experience. I only managed it once last season and blew out on a stupidly easy question that I felt really embarrassed to get wrong. But then in Season two, last Tuesday my chance came again and I acquitted myself much better - going down to a question that I really didn't have a clue about. It was still frustrating because I got all the subsequent questions correct and The One got one wrong so I would have been in for a couple of hundred points. Even for a grown man such as myself, it was actually quite tense being in the ring. I had to shush my children who were talking behind me and I was really quite nervous.
The rules about being picked haven't really changed - you can only be in the mob once a night, and only the One once in a season. So I shall persevere and try to do better next time. Mind you I tried the following Friday night game and had a nightmare of it - it was the night after our office Christmas party though, so I'm blaming that!
This is still just what Microsoft needed on their 360 console, a strong quiz game experience that is fresh and imaginative.
It was actually interesting to see which people were being picked for The One. When I got into the Mob it immediately followed me being in the Top 100 scorers so that must have triggered a higher chance of me being picked. And after that I watched who became the one, and several times they were either the previous rounds winner or at least in the Top 3. So it's clear that if you can do well you'll definitely have a better chance of being picked for The One or The Mob. But there is still a good chance that anyone will get picked - as was seen from the trouble some had with even the simplest questions!
1 vs 100 on the 360's Xbox Live service has added polish for the first proper season and done a pretty good job. It feels a little odd not to have the live host and the game doesn't handle their absence particularly well, but it's not a major problem. This is still just what Microsoft needed on their 360 console, a strong quiz game experience that is fresh and imaginative. There were around 10,000 players per game on Friday who obviously agree.
With so many different perspectives it can be hard to know where to start - a little like walking into a crowded pub. Sorry about that.
But so far we've not found a way to streamline our review output - there's basically too much of it. So, rather than dilute things for newcomers we have decided to live with the hubbub while helping new readers find the columnists they will enjoy.
Our columnists each focus on a particular perspective and fall into one of the following types of gamers: