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XBox Reviews: Carve


Carve Screenshots


The Final Say!


Carve - reviewed by Tory Favro
Review Date: March 2003
Review Score: 7.9/10 
Distributed By: Take2 Interactive

There hasn't been a jetski game on the market for about a year and a half which I assume would have disappointed those who enjoy the genre.  I myself am a fan of these games and have spent many hours playing Splashdown and Wave Race, trying new tricks and attempting new times.


Carve has entered the fray with developer Argonaut behind the helm. Surprisingly though this game, whilst a lot of fun, doesn't bring anything entirely new to the genre and this in itself is not necessarily a bad thing due to the simple fact that this game is shaping up to be shipped at a discount price if other countries release prices are anything to go by.


In it's essence this is a racer and the first person to get over that line wins. Tricking during the race though can assist in speed boosts or other ways of getting a winning edge over the competition. Doing a single trick will award you with a small boost in speed but stringing a few in a row will see you pounding the water ahead of the pack, or overtaking them in any case. The feeling of speed is authentic enough and the jetskis perform admirably upon the waves.


Getting speed up by doing tricks is also pretty easy with just a few button presses and toggles of an analogue stick. Sometimes I did find that I was anticipating a trick after hitting what I thought to be the right buttons and something else would occur. Nothing major and it never affected my standing in the race, nor caused me to crash, it was just a bit odd when it happened.


Graphically Carve is a very nice looking game with some very nice water effects and animations. Tricks look great when they are pulled and the resulting thud when hitting the water is sensational fun. I think that this game would have scored higher had it been the first in a genre as they do pretty much get it right the whole way through, however one must bear in mind that others have done it just as well and better quite some time ago.


Carve also features XBox Live components including Arcade which is the same as the version in single player and lets you race against up to 7 other players at once. Depending on your connection to the Net, this game is fun, fast and non problematic. Collision detection is pretty solid and it's easy to get in, have a quick game and then log off if you are needing to kill some time. Then there is the slightly longer lasting version called Teamplay where I got to team up with this guy from the States and proceed to get beaten by everyone else on the server.


XBox live also comes with headset support so you can encourage your partner and talk smack to everyone else. Whilst as I said, the game in itself online is not that different from the single player game, the fact that other people are talking to you and you know that you are taking on real folks not just the AI makes a world of difference. Add to that the fact that you can claim bragging rights on the scoreboard that everyone can see and it's a motivation to play the game more to get that elusive best time.


There is only one part in this game that I found annoying and that was the audio. All the machine sounds were authentic enough but the dodgy sound bites that your partner constantly churns out just plain get on your nerves. The music is electronica and you will soon hear the same tracks be repeated over and again.


All things said and done though, I'd recommend this game for fans of the genre without hesitation. It looks good and plays well and at its bargain price point there is nothing really to get upset about. A solid game at a good price with XBox Live support? Get outta here and get this title!

- Tory Favro

Copyright 2004 www.impulsegamer.com