Return To Home Page
March 8, 2003
Chessmaster - Preview
Release Date Publisher Developer Anticipation Players Price
24/4/2003UbiSoftUbiSoft1-2$79.95

Click To Enlarge Image
The classic chess viewpoint.
Personally I have always had a deep love of chess. Every since I was a young boy I would play against my rather skilled Grandfather. It wasn't until the year of his death that I manage to defeat him. Although he wasn't happy I am sure that it was one of proudest moments of his life to see his Grandson do so well. That was 10 years ago now, but how things have change. Back in the early 1990's there were few chess video games, and certainly nothing overly exciting. In the last couple of years however UbiSoft's Chessmaster games have become the most well known on the market, and a Playstation 2 version is more then welcome.

Click To Enlarge Image
The pieces look somewhat crude.
Chessmaster is the most comprehensive chess game available and the only one that will improve your level of play. The American version of Chessmaster allows you to compete online against other real people and while this component will almost certainly be removed prior to PAL release this game still has a wide range of game modes. These game modes in Chessmaster include Quick Game, Rated Play, Handicap, Set-up Position, and Puzzle. The developers have also promised special features which can be unlocked as your progress.

Click To Enlarge Image
The battles should be fun.
Along with the most powerful chess engine available on the console, Chessmaster also includes features just for fun. For example, 3D Battlefield Chess sets will recreate the atmosphere of a fantasy battle played on a checkered battlefield. View special 3D chess pieces as they attack each other at each move. Feel like you are playing chess in a dynamic environment, see "news" of your chess opponent or info of your scheduled tournament appear as a short message from the newspaper, and see chess personalities change over time. Take your chess-playing skills to the next level, or just have fun playing chess.

Click To Enlarge Image
Just starting the match.
During the game International Master Josh Waitzkin gives advice and easy-to-understand instructions for improving your game. This could make this game an invaluable tool for people wishing to learn how to play chess. As you can imagine a chess game is rather limited in the ability to have flashy visuals with stunning effects and surround sound, and you don't get any of that in this game. This game does however look quite impressive. All of the pieces are fully animated and when you defeat an opposing piece they enter into a small battle. Nice.

With a release date currently set for late April in Australia gamers looking for a chess game on PS2 really have no other option. Fortunately the Chessmaster series on PC is easily the most impressive chess game available and as long as it has been translated faithfully to Playstation 2 there is no reason for this title not to satisfy gamers needs.