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XBox  Review: Yager


 

Yager Screenshots


 
The Final Say!
Gameplay
9.5
Graphics
9.0
Sound
9.0
Value
9.0

Yager
 - reviewed by Alex Cuming
Review Date: 08 May 2003
Review Score: 9.2/10
Not based on an average 
Distributed By:
THQ

As with most difficult games, this being one of them, once you know what strategy to implement, itís easy.  It just may mean that even experienced gamers such as me find it frustrating getting through the first few levels.  This game Iíd just like to add is one of the better sci-fi flight-sims made.  The sci-fi part brings license to creativity in the graphics and imaginative locales. 

Yager Features

  • Players 1
  • Genre: Flight Sim (futuristic)
  • Rating: G8+
  • Custom Soundtracks

The trouble is that with these fantasy settings the sense of realism and tension is not as great as titles such as Ace Combat 4.  Donít get me wrong these games and particularly this one are fun itís just that the immersion level is not as high.  Although to fans of this genre will be in digital heaven whilst soaring through the skies of this futuristic world.  Another facet to Yagerís credit is the storyline, complete with voice actors and rendered cut-scenes.  This is a good idea and is done well whilst being a little different. 

You are Magnus Tide who after a little down and out spell has bought himself a ship with the leftover cash he had after selling everything he owned.  With this new set of wings Magnus did a bit of freelance work to keep the bread on the table.  He is then hired by the Proteus corporation which is a part of the mega corporate world of the future.  His job is to destroy all pirate activity in the Proteus sector and be a watchdog for the remainder of the planet. 

After a fantastic intro to prick the ears up you are thrust into training, which Magnus reluctantly takes part in.  The reward at the end is real missions where fighting the onslaught of the pirates is the name of the game.  There are about 20 missions to work through and the fist few are relatively easy until the difficulty curve goes through the roof.  Suddenly after blowing up some submarines which once sussed out are a breeze.  The missions suddenly involve so much more strategy, and are longer than before.  In one mission where you race the spanners and then take out a pirate base camp, you must sneak around and use the sniper gun.  This is a bit of fun too with the power of the sniper rifle making silent espionage a more challenging and lengthening the time-span for the player. 

The way the controls are done is there are two modes of flight either hover or jet mode.  These modes are alternated with the clicking in of the right analogue stick.  This is a perfect choice as the hover mode can be used to slowly creep around hills and accurately take out gun emplacements and then if the heat is on, jet mode to safety.  There are a few different viewpoints all of which are useful. 

The 3rd person viewpoint is handy for looking behind while shooting backwards.  The in cockpit view has some nice glass transparency effects whilst containing all the flight controls that youíd need.  Then there is the true first person view mode with a few vitals on the side to keep everything in check.  Changing view is done with the d-pad.  Looking around the sides is commandeered with the right analogue stick.  Weapons are changed with the y button, zoom with the x button, lock-on with the b button and lastly special secondary function with the a button.  Jet mode uses the right analogue stick for barrellrolling recommended to masters in these games.  When in hover mode full up down control as well as strafing is done with the right analogue stick.  A recommendation to all who play, keep up-down, on the left analogue stick true up- down to avoid confusion.  Having pitching inverted is a royal pain in the proverbial as the up-down hovering is the opposite in default. 

The missions are varied enough to keep the average gamer amused.  Tasks such as protecting other ships, blowing up submarines, destroying enemy bases as well as a lot of dogfighting for good measure.  The graphics and sound are excellent especially the water effects, thanks Nvidia!  Obviously a lot of effort has gone into the graphics as well as the story.  The voice acting is nothing to write home about but is functional.  The one liners can be a little lame but there is the odd one that will bring a smile to your face. 

There are also some gunning sections which are pretty hard especially shooting small fast moving spaceships.  The training for this is good fun and the constant chatter amongst the NPCís (the local pub attendees) is amusing and direct sound is implemented to great effect. 

The involved PC like approach will be a bit much for some.  The requested depth to strategy is what the best games are about.  Some levels take ages to successfully complete and are challenging to most players.  There is a slight vagueness to the structure reminiscent to many PC Flight sims. In one level for example, Magnus must race a loose cannon (Spanner) through a course guided by green lights.  Why they donít make this obvious is a mystery as he says you must stay on the track but what he intends is that it is the path of lights suspended above the ground.  The ambiguity in this is that there is a track on the ground as well, which leads somewhere else.  He said track not lights, then to add another spanner to the works (pun intended) your flight buddy says ďitís a lot more challenging if you stay on the trackĒ even though you are on the track.  Whether this was intentional from the designers to do this rather important detail remains to be known.  The open ended, strategy intense characteristic of Yager is a little silly.  When buying a game of this type it should be focused on weapons and wanton destruction so the content is vibrant and brimming with thrilling gameplay.  Some better weapons to spectacularise the design, never go astray. 

Flipping the coin on the last statement however, I enjoyed the fact that I couldn't just ride on in and win the day. The fact that I was piloting a craft and having to make tactical decisions appealed to me, and your allies reaction when you inadvertently shot them was great as well.

Overall this epic game is what the Xbox is good at and the programmers have done well to make use of the power of the mighty black brick.  There is a little slowdown in some spots but nothing too serious, they are usually near to the end of the mission when all objectives have been cleared.

- Alex Cuming

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