Review: The Price Is Right
As an only child growing up with two working parents, I watched a lot of TV. More specifically, I watched a lot of The Price Is Right. There was something about Bob Barker’s casual charisma, the colourful and creative pricing games, and the vicarious elation when someone won the car that made the show one of my childhood favourites. It is my sad duty to report that The Price Is Right game available on the Playstation Network contains very little to appeal to a Price Is Right fan like myself. Worse, it doesn’t offer much as a game show video game, making it hard to recommend to anyone.
After creating an avatar from an anemic set of options, you can decide to play one of two solo game modes or have a “party” game with up to four local players. Here’s strike one against The Price Is Right: none of the available options make me feel like I’m an actual contestant on the game show. Of the single-player modes, Classic comes close to offering an authentic experience, but even it is marred by small details. In Classic you have up to six tries to pass the initial bidding stage and move on to a pricing minigame. You then spin the wheel and try to make it to the final Showcase. However, your fellow Contestants never change even when they win the bidding game. You are also always last to spin the wheel and first to play in the Showcase, regardless of how the other “contestants” have fared. I understand some of these complaints relate to deliberate choices made in the service of making a video game. However, these choices in turn have detracted from the authentic Price Is Right experience, and they honestly don’t make the game more fun.
The local multiplayer sounds like it could be fun. Unfortunately, it’s really not. For one, the game scales in length based on the number of players, so pairs can look forward to very brief games unless they decide to throw two more dummy players into the mix. There’s no option to include AI characters in the Party mode, which kind of seems like a no-brainer; there are AI characters polluting the single-player modes, after all. Also, letting everyone play a guessing game just so only one can move on to play the mildly enjoyable parts alone isn’t exactly a formula for fun. To that end, the pricing games are faithfully reproduced and fairly well done, aside from the issue with the prizes. It’s a shame that they appear in random order across the various modes. I really wish there was a way to pick these games from a list and play them individually; how else can I practice my Plinko drop?
The Price Is Right is known for it’s multitude of prizes, which the game version delivers in the form of badly cropped and horribly compressed video clips that run in a tiny window. They also appear to be very out of date, made apparent when they feature Blackberry phones or cars from 2007. Worst of all, there aren’t many prizes in The Price Is Right, and after an hour with the game you will begin to see the same items repeated. Since they are always the same value, someone with a keen memory can easily win any game in The Price Is Right simply because they’ve seen the prizes several times before. The Showcases are the biggest offenders; they consist of a trio of videos each, and a pair of Showcases are always presented together. Not only are there a small number of Showcases, but they are always linked in the same pairs. You will always see the same two Showcases together, an annoying feature that could have easily been rectified with better randomization.
The sole saving grace of The Price Is Right comes from unlocking archival footage of the actual game show. These clips, while still suffering from poor compression, are the only mild bits of entertainment this game has to offer. It all adds up to one simple fact: The Price Is Right doesn’t lend itself well to video game adaptation. This clunker proves it. Don’t even bid $1 for The Price Is Right; whatever price they ask is so very, very wrong.
For more info on our review policy click here. This review is for the PlayStation 3 version of the game.
What I Like:
- Archival footage of actual Price Is Right bloopers
What I Dislike:
- Tiny, compressed videos
- Repeats itself often
- Doesn't capture the game show experience at all