theuselessgod's You Don't Know Jack (Xbox 360) review

Turns out, I really don't know jack.

The Short

Pros

- Same irreverent, silly, weird trivia questions as the original series

- Funny and entertaining while still making you think about some pretty tough stuff

- Four players is a hoot, and with the changes everybody gets to play on every question

- Fast paced episodes mean you can go from one to the next very easily

- "Wrong answers of the game" always keep you on your toes

- Cheap; went for $20 it's first week shipped

Cons

- Since the questions aren't randomized, once you finish an episode you can't ever play it again

- Replaying episodes for achievements sucks

- Single player, this game is pretty boring and makes you feel lame

- Some of the jokes can come off as a little grating. The puppet one, for example.

- The "Jack Attack" at the end pretty much renders the entire game previous irrelevant in terms of earning money

Ready for trivia?

The LongYou Don't Know Jack was a pretty big series back in the 90s, with it's style of inappropriate humor mixed with some actually very solid trivia questions appealing. It had that good mix of stupid humor, smart humor, and smart questions that worked, and since you could play it competitively four-player that was just icing on the cake. They tried to make an actual game show about it on TV, but it flopped pretty hard and You Don't Know Jack was put into retirement.

Now, several years after the last iteration, Jellyvision is trying to bring You Don't Know Jack back for a newer generation. They got the original announcer, the bald upper half of Jack's head (now CGI), Screws, and a freaking boatload of trivia questions (and if it isn't enough, the DLC is cheap and there's tons of it). So what are you waiting for?

Different modes are constantly mixing things up

The core concept of You Don't Know Jack is simple: ask trivia questions. The trick is in the way they do it. They constantly drop weird references, explain bizarre things in silly ways, and just generally go out of their way to be both funny and confusing in order to throw you off track. Half of the game is just figuring out exactly what is being asked, and then figuring out the answer is a whole different ballpark. There's trick questions thrown in the mix that also can mess you up, as well as a "Wrong Answer of the Day" concept I'll go into in a minute.The biggest improvement for me over the previous Jack games is the fact everybody gets to answer every question. In the previous game people buzzed in and guessed, one at a time. Now there's a timer and all four people answer at once, revealing who was right when the timer runs out. The faster you answer the more cash is at stake, to either gain or lose, so stalling to the last minute if you don't know an answer is certainly an option.

The questions are silly while still being intelligent and difficult.

They mix up the regular old "answer the multiple choice question" idea with some variations. DisOrDat takes the current lowest scoring player and has them pick whether or not a word on screen (presented in rapid succession) is one thing or another (for example, a Pope or a Brittney Spears Song). There's also the ending "Jack Attack," where you have to match a word with another one based on a theme, and it's pretty much based entirely on player speed. It goes a long way to make it not just silly trivia the time, and it's appreciated.

Wrong answers of the game also mix stuff up.

Speaking of which, the "Wrong Answer of the Game" is another great new addition. Every episode has a "sponsor" for a totally off-the-wall product, and one question has a wrong answer that's relevant to that product. Pick it and you win tons of bonus money. For example, if the sponsor had something to do with vampires, keeping an eye out for wrong answers with the word "Blood" in them might be a good idea. It makes you pause and decide if the gamble is worth it, because if it's just a regular wrong answer you are out the money.With friends, Jack is a hoot. The humor hits much more frequently than it misses (though it does miss from time to time) and with a group it can be very easy to do the "just one more episode" thing. It's a great party game that can be played quickly, since each episode is only about fifteen minutes long.

The questions are easily the highlight.

So what sucks about You Don't Know Jack? Well, not a whole lot to be honest, but there are still a few hangups. The biggest one is if you don't have any friends (or buy the DS version), because playing Jack alone is just...not very fun. Yeah, you still get the funny questions or whatever but the main point of this game is to be played with friends. Playing with yourself (hur hur, irreverent humor) is lame and unfun, and you won't be getting the full value of the game if you do.Another issue is the episodes. You get over 90 in the game, so that's a boatload of trivia questions, but since each episode never changes once you beat one you essentially can't replay it (unless you want to cheat and smoke all your friends). 90 episodes is a lot, though, so it isn't that bad, it just means this game has literally zero replay value. You can buy DLC packs for super cheap, however, if you really need more content.

There's a lot of content, but once you burn through it you are done.

Lastly, it still has the weird balance problems of the first Jack, the biggest one being the Jack Attack at the end is basically what determines the winner, not whoever did best on the previous 10 questions. Since each Jack Attack question is worth so much (to either gain or lose), it is very easy to pull ahead fast or lose it all at the end, especially in a close game. It's kind of lame, but that's how Jack has always been, I guess.

Also the PC version doesn't have online multiplayer, and playing online with strangers is dumb since they all are just looking it up on GameFaqs. So play with people you know.

The Jack Attack can completely turn a game around.

You Don't Know Jack, kind of like Deathspank, relies entirely on its humor to sell itself. So if you are the kind of person who enjoys this sort of thing (dig up a few questions or watch a Let's Play to get a feel for it) than You Don't Know Jack is certain to entertain you, especially if you have like-minded friends. Considering the game retailed at $30 and is now easy to pick up at around $10-15, I'd say that's pretty much a no-brainer if you had any fondness for the older games or are looking to dive in for the first time.Just know that this is 100% trivia. That's the game. You aren't shooting aliens or stabbing dudes or anything. I don't know why you'd think that, but I figured I should bring it up just in case.

I personally think this game is a riot, and was absolutely worth the $20 I spent on it. We played it a lot and only got through half of the episodes, so unless you and your friends are total trivia nuts it'll still maintain its good value. Give it a shot! You might find you are smarter than you think (but not smarter than me, because I'm a You Don't Know Jack god, ha ha!")

Four out of five stars.

Whoops, spoiled this answer for you.

More at http://nathanvsvideogames.blogspot.com

0 Comments

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