Long recognized as the king of chess games, Chessmaster has been through many iterations through the years. With previous versions, Ubisoft had hit the nail on the head in terms of game variety and learning tools. What the tenth incarnation brings to the table is a lick of paint and some extra lessons, because you never can get enough of chess!
Anyone that has played either the 8000 or 9000 versions will immediately notice how much better the design is, with solid colors that are easy on the eye and finally a true 3D board that you can rotate exactly as you want to get the best angle for viewing all the pieces. The multiple windows still exist but for some reason don’t seem to be as intrusive as before. The structure of the lessons that make up such a large part of the appeal for the game is unchanged, which is probably for the best. Why try to fix something that isn’t broken?
Another superior aspect of Chessmaster is the range of difficulty levels that are available. Each one is represented by a character, with individual attributes and game styles. With over two hundred opponents to choose from, absolutely everyone is catered for and as you play tournaments and individually rated games, you build up a database of statistics letting you check out how many times you’ve played and beaten particular characters and also the evolution of your rating as you improve. If players feel that they have hit a wall in terms of progress, then they can turn to the academy section, which is packed with basic, intermediate, and advanced lessons that can then be backed up with follow-on drills and quizzes. The depth of these lessons is very impressive although in some cases you might need an entire afternoon to complete a topic at one sitting.
As you'd probably expect, more boards have been thrown in, although most will rarely stray from the default look. The developer has also included a few animated boards which should keep the kids happy, even if they don’t know what chess is! As such Chessmaster 10th Edition is a chess game that you can dip in to now and again or into which you can become emerged and involved in the many varying aspects of play. Those with CM 9000 might not consider the aesthetic difference to be worth forking out for, but with this version being regarded as the complete chess package, it won’t need to be replaced for many years to come.