If there's one problem with the physical version of Trivial Pursuit, it's that there aren't enough klaxons. Without loud noises and bright lights, how are you supposed to know how awesome and attractive you obviously are? Ubisoft's latest adaptation drops most of what made the question-and-answer board game such a huge success, making it perfect for a generation of players that don't want to demonstrate actual knowledge. But, despite all of this, it's brilliant fun.
Trivial Pursuit Live! is effectively just a quiz show, where players compete for wedges by answering questions on a number of subjects. Aside from some visual things, the wedges and topics that you'll be quizzed on are about the only similarities between the original and this adaptation. There's no board, no dice – just your soft, abused brain, and three other contestants to beat. Anybody totally in love with the physical game should probably give Live a complete miss.
You can choose to play either three or five rounds, each with a different structure. Some have the category change each round, while others have everybody competing to pick the most likely answer as quickly as possible, with points scaling down as you reach the least likely. There are plenty of variations, some more interesting than others, but none of them bad.
The best thing – and something that it would have been so easy to get wrong – is that each different minigame is totally based around general knowledge. If you're not able to answer the questions, you'll sink to the bottom of the pack and there's nothing that you can do about it. The questions aren't, by and large, as difficult as you'd find in the board game, and some of them are laughably simple, but you'll still end up scratching your head, especially if you're weak in certain areas.
Like with the original game, you'll need to know everything from ancient history and nature, to video games and modern literature if you want to come out on top. There's a huge variety of questions and, cynics that we are, we wouldn't be surprised to see more released as DLC in the future.
Once you've established that this isn't your yuppie uncle's Trivial Pursuit, there's plenty of fun to be had, especially with local friends and family. If you can't stomach the idea of an actual physical game – perhaps because you like your family and want to continue speaking to them – then this is the perfect solution.
It's perhaps not quite as perfect as it could be, though. As good as the base idea is, there are issues that ruin the overall experience. These largely stem from extended or online play, so if this is something that you want to buy to play locally on a Friday night, you can purchase in the knowledge that it probably won't let you down.
However, like RISK and Tetris Ultimate, Ubisoft has managed to release this game with inexplicable issues that just shouldn't be there on the PlayStation 4. If released on a console that can run The Order: 1886, inFAMOUS: Second Son, or Metal Gear Solid V: Ground Zeroes smoothly without any issues, why can this game not twirl four contestants slowly around a television set without a frame rate drop? There are only two possible answers: either the developer didn't properly optimize the game before release, or maybe we're underestimating it, and it really is the title that has maxed out the PS4.
There's also only a limited amount of things that the presenter can say, which means that you'll be hearing repeats within your first game, too. It's an odd oversight when other sections of the game seem so diverse, and one that grates very quickly.
Trivial Pursuit Live! is best played locally, but there's an online mode as well. But there's a caveat: you can't rely on it. We've played with people from around the world, impressing them with our incredible knowledge of quantum physics, the works of Charles Dickens, and Spanish soap operas, but we've never actually managed to finish a game. It always manages to cut out, usually in the last round, and almost always when we're winning. More seriously, there doesn't actually seem to be any rhyme or reason to the issue – you'll answer a question, the timer will run out, and nothing will happen until you decide to leave.
For a game that's so much fun locally, you're not able to take that fun online. Whether the developer thought that it would encourage cheating or if it's a technical problem, you're not even able to get together with a friend and play against others around the world. This is a terrible design choice, because it leaves you and your friends to play versus the computer, which is naturally incredibly intelligent. It's easier to beat actual people than it is to beat the system, which, of course, always has the answers.
Given that online doesn't actually work, the variety in play is incredibly limited. There's the two aforementioned variations, and that's all there is to it. Once you're bored with that – and you will be if you rely on just playing against the artificial intelligence – there's little else to see. For that reason, we can't recommend this as a single player game. For those of you without friends, this game holds all the appeal of sitting with the board game, alone, answering questions and eating butter with a wooden spoon.
Trivial Pursuit Live! is an amusing, original adaptation of the original board game. Its terrible online mode, visual slowdown, and lack of variations let down what is otherwise great fun with friends. For the right people, under the right circumstances, you won't see a single problem. For everybody else, this is one to buy later down the line.