reviews\ Dec 2, 2009 at 7:00 pm


Ah, those great family nights, mocking and taunting each other, laughing and playing a board game. The video-game market has made inroads in the kinds of entertainment options available to families, but not every board game translates well to the video medium

Hasbro Family Game Night 2, from EA, has noble intentions of taking some of the most entertaining party and family-oriented games and putting them into a collection and game-show style setting. But the problem is that these games just don’t have the pizzazz the board games do and the Wii remote hinders the game-playing process markedly. You can, of course, play the games individually, or compete in the Mr. Potato-head game show setting with your Mii representing you in the spin-the-wheel-to-determine-the-game format.

There are five games in this collection – Pictureka!, Bop it!, Jenga, Operation and Connect 4. Most of these titles should be familiar to anyone growing up, but the take, in this game, is slightly skewed on what one expects – if you jump into the Remix versions offered.

Operation has the normal mode, but the Wii-mote makes this difficult to play, especially with the representative icon dancing all over the screen when you need it to be steady. There are three phases for the original game mode – cavity entry (you fly down an extraction tunnel and aim at the ‘funatomy’ piece; you grab the piece to remove it; and then you align it with the cavity shape in the tunnel you are exiting. In the Remix versions, you can pump the Wii-mote to give Cavity Sam more oxygen,  tilt the Wii-mote to give the patient anesthetic by keeping the needle in an accompanying meter in the green, use the Wii-mote to keep a pulse rhythm, swab an infected area or aim the on-screen cursor and zap germs.

Bop it! is a game where you use the Wii-mote (hold down the B button first) to match indicated movements given by on-screen prompts. In the Remix, several new motions are tossed in, but the prompts either are too fast or simply too confusing. A house with a pair of younger gamers simply could not figure this out and failed 90% of the time.

Pictureka is fairly straightforward and not that confusing, unless you are one of those people that walk around looking for your glasses when they are perched atop your head. Jenga has several Remix variations, but suffers from the same lackluster controls that hamper other games. Connect 4 also takes on some variations but generally is easier to play, in spite of the fact that you have to think in terms of the two planes but are working from a 2D platform.

The games, in and of themselves, are not that bad. The frustration creeps in, though, with the controls. For a game that is supposedly for a family setting, it just seems like not all members of the household will get past the shaky controls.

While the interface is easy to navigate, the graphics are merely Ok and the sound may be less than stellar, but it is repetitious.

The intentions were good, but the controls make this a more frustrating-than-fun experience.

Review Scoring Details for Hasbro Family Game Night 2

Gameplay: 5.0
There is a decent variety of games here, but the controls are not that good to allow players, especially those not as adept at finite manipulations with the Wii controller, ease of use.

Graphics: 6.5
Serviceable, but that’s about it.

Sound: 4.5
Repetitious and not that terrific to begin with.

Difficulty: Medium

Concept: 5.0
The games – as board games – are compelling; not so much here.

Multiplayer: 5.5
Much more entertaining than the single-player efforts, but still somewhat frustrating – you should be battling the other player’s time or score, not struggling with the controls.

Overall: 5.0
Pass on this unless you are someone who would rather play games on a console that don’t translate that well to the video-game platform. The controls are not that good and grind the frustration level even when trying to play the games on their original settings. Some of the retro games are decent, though.  


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