Chessmaster LIVE - Xbox Live Arcade review

  • Varied AI opponents
  • Puzzle mode
  • Ease of play
  • Chess is hard
  • Visually bland
  • Losing to beginners

Board and card games have proven pretty popular on Xbox Live Arcade, so it’s a bit surprising that we haven’t seen more of them. The latest board game to join the party is one of the most widely-known, and one of the hardest to master.

And that might be the biggest thing working against Chessmaster Live - chess simply isn’t that easy to play, to the point that a lot of people just aren’t interested in investing the time to learn. However, Chessmaster takes this into account, offering one of the most user-friendly chess programs ever seen.

With the assists on, simply highlighting a particular piece on the board offers up information on where said piece can move. The game also shades possible moves that could lead to a piece being captured in red. Finally, if you move one of your pieces within range of capturing an opponent’s piece, the game will point that out with a green arrow. If that move will put your piece in jeopardy, the game lets you know that as well.

All in all, the game is very user-friendly. And the A.I. opponents you can choose from in the single-player game all have different personalities. Some will play defensively and shrewdly, while others go on the offensive immediately, often making ballsy - if stupid - moves.

Of course, you can play the game with another person both on one console or over Xbox Live. Rounding out the package is a puzzle mode that offers more advanced chess players creative, game-related challenges.

Chessmaster Live doesn’t look like much. But it delivers exactly what it promises, and there’s not really much to complain about because of it.

Feb 5, 2008

More Info

Release date: Jan 30 2008 - Xbox 360 (US)
Available Platforms: Xbox 360
Genre: Strategy
Published by: Ubisoft
Developed by: Ubisoft Sofia
ESRB Rating:


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