This game has existed for thousands of years. All that's needed to play it is 32 peices and a checkered board. It's established ruleset is very specific, with no room for interpretation. It's a game whose sole purpose is to tap it's player's skill in a battle of wits and strategy. It's timeless, perhaps even perfect.
Now, as a reviewer of the latest computer chess game, let me tell you what I see. I see a game that cannot be reviewed based on its gameplay, because the gameplay hasn't changed for thousands of years. I see a game that cannot be reviewed based on graphics, because that's completely missing the point of the game. I see a game that's been reiterated hundreds, perhaps thousands of times on computers, with each featuring identical gameplay. I see a game that's been available to computer owners as part of multi-game collections, as a free download in any number of fan-created versions of the title, and as a free online game on Yahoo and undoubtedly numerous other websites.
What's more interesting is that this is a Chessmaster game. Ever since the Chessmaster series first came to be, it's been seen as the best chess game on the market, period. And each successive version adds more features and improvements so that the new title, by default, is the best chess game on the market. Yet... well, there's not really much that can be added. I mean, chess is still chess.
For the record, this game does tout an admirable set of features. It has numerous board styles, ranging from simple 2D sets to nice-looking 3D sets, all of which can be tilted and rotated to your heart's delight. Some, like a cartoonish fantasy-themed set, even have cute little animations when a peice takes another (though not nearly as entertaining as Battle Chess or Star Wars Chess). There's tutorials to teach, there's guides that can help you improve your game as you play, there's numerous ways of tracking your performance, multiple opponents, a solid online mode. As advertised, this is certainly a good game for those serious about chess, from those looking to learn, to the grand master seeking a challenge.
However, I think this game is definitely made specifically for the chess enthusiast and not those with only a casual interest in the game. The interface, with its plethora of options and features, is confusing, even intimidating. Even knowing the feature I was looking for, I had to poke around to find it, and there's a lot of stuff in here I doubt I'll ever use. Furthermore, the price tag ($40 MSRP) would scare away everyone but those that need the best chess game on the market, especially when free chess games that are so readily available are... well, free.
Aw, man. These Chessmaster folks thought of everything. They even thought of a chess tutorial for Forrest Gump (Bonus points to anyone who catches the hidden joke)! But for the rest of us, those who aren't dedicated to learn chess, dedicated to master chess, dedicated to be challenged in chess, dedicated to immerse ourselves in chess... for those of us who aren't really dedicated to chess, but just want to play it a little, you can save $40 and just get one of the free versions floating around. This is almost certainly the best chess game in the world, but in the end, chess is still chess.
To visit the official website follow the following link: chessmaster10.ubi.com/us/