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Overall User Average: 7.50 / 10 (75.0%)
Gameplay User Average: 8.00 / 10
Graphics User Average: 9.50 / 10
Sound User Average: 8.50 / 10Young_Fledgling
Date reviewed: June 20, 2005.
Overall: Yager will perhaps go unnoticed by the gaming public by and large (thanks mainly to its non-appearance in the US), but those that have a means to grab a copy should do so. Yager represents an apotheosis of console shooters dating back to the 16 bit era. Currently, it is by far the best 3D space shooter available on a console (leaving aside Smilebit?s efforts) and one of the best games available for the Xbox.
Gameplay: You can see elements of other games in the main gameplay dating back as far as the Strike games on the Megadrive (Genesis) and Super Nintendo systems. More recently, Yager shares many similarities with Gunmetal and Battle Engine Aquila. You take the role of Magnus Tide pilot of the Sagittarius, a hybrid craft capable of sustained flight (Jet mode) and a Hover mode that allows you to fire from a stationary position. Yager is set in the world of the near future where there are no longer any nation states. Rather, allegiances are defined by which Trade Zone you belong to. Two of the more powerful Zones are Proteus (a conglomerate of old Western ideologies i.e. the good guys) and the DST (a fascist, militaristic organisation hell bent on total domination), both of which are at each other?s throats. Into the mix comes Tide, an ex-Proteus marine turned freelancer (mercenary) who has come crawling back to Proteus for one last score. The story has a black comedy tinge to it as it unfolds over the 20 or so missions. You?ll encounter a raft of humourous support characters (the Spanner Brothers being the best, they have interesting uses for furniture) and you?ll have a front row seat to Tide?s attempts to get back into Sarah McDavid?s (his superior and former lover) good graces (long story). Needless to say, while the back-story can be cheesy sometimes, it manages to remain interesting throughout.
Each mission takes place within a Zone, a large patch of terrain littered with power-ups, repair points and ammunition caches. At the beginning of each mission you are given a brief overview of what the coming objectives may be, however, these usually change dramatically as you?re forced to run off to defend an encampment or destroy a DST Carrier. Mission objectives vary from level to level, with a healthy mix of offensive and defensive stages. The Zones themselves are quite massive. While most of the action is confined to one section, there are instances where you?ll be able to go off and do a little exploring between objectives. The control of the craft in both modes is very intuitive. I was initially surprised to find how similar it felt to a first person shooter. In this regard Yager Development have successfully nailed the divide between the two modes on offer unlike previous attempts (read Gunmetal). One must note that Yager isn?t entirely a conventional space shooter. Some missions require you to keep you distance from your target in Hover mode while others require the full frontal approach in Jet mode. Yager balances between the modes of play admirably. There are a number of ways you can approach a mission and dogfighting that lends to Yager to a style of non-linear combat. My only gripe is that the craft in Jet mode is quite slow. While speed isn?t an issue when you?re dogfighting with DST cruisers or pirates, it becomes evident when you have to traverse large areas of terrain on your way to the next check point. Overall though, while it may take time to get used to the controls, once mastered you won?t be struggling with them throughout the entire game. Yager Development has successfully produced a title that is better because of the sum of its different parts Graphics: It?s no secret that the Xbox is a graphical powerhouse, and Yager Development has made full use of its capabilities. Yager may very well be the best looking game on the Xbox to date. Everything is extremely detailed and crisp. The Sagittarius is fully animated and articulated in the chase views and you can even see your ship taking damage from all angles. In the cockpit view, your visor will crack and spider as you take hits from enemy fire. Special note must be made of the sky. It looks incredible, especially at dusk. Every hue in the rainbow is on display, sometimes I found myself distracted from the action I?d fly off just to look at the horizon. When you do remember to do battle, you?ll witness wonderful lighting effects as ships explode and laser fire reflects off the ocean?s surface. The Zones themselves look fantastic, the best being the Free Trade Zone. Throughout the FTZ you can see freighters hauling cargo along trade routes. Commercial craft zipping around the ocean. There are evening reporters buzzing about who will take your picture if you?re not careful. About the only fault with the graphics is that there is no landscape deforming, no matter how much you shoot that hill it will remain unmarked. That said, most of the action takes place in the sky, you?ll hardly notice what you have destroyed on the ground. Overall, you?d be hard pressed to find a better looking game on any system available. Sound: Like the graphics, the sound is very well done. The voice-overs in particular show what a little effort in a game can do to the overall package. All of the major characters are extremely well done (Sarah in particular is the modern definition of the confident woman) but the NPC?s for change are also well voiced. You?ll hear all manner of different accents and when you manage to !&%$@#* someone off, they let you know in no uncertain terms. The music is sometimes incidental to the gameplay, but it is a stirring orchestral score nonetheless. Craft engine noises are also superbly done so much so you can distinguish the whine of DST fighter from the hum of a pirate one. Well done overall.
Overall: overall, yager is a unique game.. featuring a good free will mission system... brilliant graphics... some of the best I have ever seen! but it is let down purely because of slightly repetative gameplay, and ships being to slow. Gameplay: game play is easy to get used to, and there is a very good tutorial section... but the ships seem to slow... and you can get a boost... but you have to collect them, and it gets a bit annoying. overall, good gameplay, let down only by slightly repetative gameplay, and ships being to slow. Graphics: the graphics in this game are brilliant, and it is an excellent example of what the xbox is capable of. some of the best graphics i have ever seen... brilliant water effects, great detailed environments and amazing looking ships. I am tempted to give it 5/5 but i wont.... just because i am hard to please...(graphicaly) Sound: sound is good, but in some areas doesnt give you the impression of being where you are... but in others it does... overall, it is good Suggestions: well if THQ decide on another game, there will need to be, bigger areas... (well they are already quite big... but i want bigger!!) and much faster ships.... come on it is like the year 3000, and were flying around in ships that are about as fast as a bicycle! oh... and a different character.. he is so cocky!