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     " ...its exceedingly reasonable $20 price point...means that if you're in the mood for a water racing game and don't have one Carve should probably be the absolute first one you look at. "

      Title: Carve by Take2 Interactive

      Format: Yet another Xbox aqua racer? Say it ain't so…

      Reviewing Monkey: Mojo Jojo

      The Hype: I don't remember exactly when it happened but some time ago some great dark force reached down from on high a pile of cheesy clones and said, "Thou shall not make a racer lest thy game be motor cycle/atv, 'extreme', or jet ski." And so it came to be. So when we got yet another water waster in I was less than excited. But seeing that it was both Xbox Live compatible and "value priced" at 20 bucks I gained a shred of hope. Will it be dashed on the rocky shore? Read on and find out.

      What This Monkey Thought...

      Graphics: No bones about it, this is one hot looking game. The water effects, always a benchmark of graphical innovation, are nothing short of phenomenal, the modeling and animations are solid, and the scenery is bright and pretty. Added to this is a very pleasant, and much needed, mass variations in environments (you race everywhere from down Italian water ways to ice caves to gorgeous tropical shores) that create a very pretty package over all. My only complaint is the relatively sterile choice of riders but that's hardly a major issue. 4.5 out of 5

      Playability: At its heart Carve is just another water racer. It has basically the same courses, essentially the same physics, and very much the same feel as other games to come before it (and undoubtedly as those that will follow). In its defense, however, Carve does manage to be at the top of that morass-providing good solid play and a smooth racing experience overall. Also included, of course, is the required quantity of ramps and tricks so that you can get wicked sick on your stick…but in a nice (though certainly not unique) twist is that tricks earn you speed bonuses and thus make it easier for you to win. What is unique though, at least in my experience, is that the AI is actually skilled enough that you will definitely need some strategy through these "rush bonuses" in order to beat the harder racers. 3.5 out of 5

      Story and Drama: Though it does have different racing factions that each get their own philosophies and, theoretically, advantages in fact Carve's got no story…so don't bother looking for one.

      Multiplayer and Replayability: Supporting split screen, system link, and Live play, Carve does it's best to try and add longevity through a multiplayer experience. Unfortunately, as you may guess, their options are fairly limited and so it'll only have as much appeal as racing against other players provides. Though supporting voice, teams, and stat tracking, all in all it is much the same experience as you'd get single player but with the joy of trash talking added. 3.5 out of 5

      The Verdict:

       All in all Carve is a good, if a bit average, game that will likely get lost in the pack. The exception to this, however, comes from its exceedingly reasonable $20 price point-which means that if you're in the mood for a water racing game and don't have one Carve should probably be the absolute first one you look at.

      The Good: Very pretty, some nice strategy, and a good game overall.

      The Bad: That doesn't really bring a lot to the genre.

      The Overall Ugly: Definitely worth the money…especially since the money required is so incredibly reasonable.

      What it's Worth: Market.

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