If you had to borrow this mag from your neighbors mailbox, Carve might be for you. A no frills, no thrills watercraft racer, this game proves that even budget-ware can look sharp on Xbox. Sea spray mists the screen as you slalom past buoys and scythe through surf in colorful courses that include arctic ice floes, Amazonian mangroves, and sun-bleached Pacific shores. Yet, with the exception of online play, Carve offers nothing you havent seen every other jetski game do better. Tricks are either idiotic whoa! Hes riding with one hand or so difficult to perform that theyre useless. If Im gonna take the trouble to tap Up, Down, X, Y, X, Y during a half-second hang time, it better make my opponents head implode. It gets even sillier when you discover that its easier to take first place in all but one of the tournaments by avoiding ramps and stunts altogether, even with the speed burst the latter generates. Still, if youre strapped for cash and sick of Splashdown, there are worse ways to spend your loot.
This game is fundamentally unremarkable. Its neither all that terrible nor all that great it just sort of...is. The environments and water sure look nice, but the screen gets too cluttered with water droplets on the camera and the visual effect that accompanies your Rush boost. Plus, the boost is almost worthless in many races; youre better off just running a clean, efficient course with your pedal to the metal the whole way. Props to the mildly amusing Xbox Live component, although communication gets clunky, since you can speak to only your closest opponent.
Carve sports instinctive control, a decent tricks system, eye-catching visuals, plenty of well-designed tracks, and enjoyable Xbox Live play (its almost worth it for that alone). But two things sour the solo game for me. First off, catching the wakes of opponents slows you down too much its as if your engine suddenly stalled out. Second, the difficulty is too unforgiving. A.I. foes run perfect lines and they seem to always boost when you do, canceling out the edge you wouldve gained from that just-performed trick.
- PC compatible
- Operating systems: Windows 10/Windows 8/Windows 7/2000/Vista/WinXP