Giants: Citizen Kabuto
Developer: Planet Moon Studios
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"Astounding graphics bring all this action to life: Giants is a visual tour de force that's practically without peer." - Scott Osborne, GameSpot Review
Of the many distinctive qualities in Planet Moon Studios' quirky action game Giants: Citizen Kabuto, its graphics are definitely the most noteworthy. It's the single best game this year for showing off the sheer quality of modern computer-graphics technology - although, of course, you'll need a very fast processor and a state-of-the-art 3D graphics card to see the game at its highest level of detail.
Actually, the quality of the 3D graphics in Giants is practically surpassed by the sheer level of creativity in the game's art design. The beautifully realized islands that are the setting of the game look like something out of a fantasy vacation resort. However, the characters featured in the game - the Meccs, the Sea Reapers, and the monstrous Kabuto himself - are rather out of the ordinary. The game's incredible 3D engine manages to depict these characters to scale, such that the towering Kabuto stands many times taller than his enemies. Nevertheless, all the characters still look remarkably detailed and remarkably expressive.
The 3D engine renders the game's brightly colored, beautifully lit terrain practically as far as the eye can see. The game also makes use of some of the latest advances in 3D graphics technology, such as bump mapping, which lends the textures in the game a nearly palpable quality; hardware transform and lighting, for smoother performance and higher polygon counts; and high-resolution 32-bit-color texture maps. Regardless of whether you know the details of how these technologies work, the end result is still the same: Giants looks absolutely phenomenal.
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The game's 3D engine was designed specifically for use with Giants, which is an achievement in itself. Since the practice of licensing 3D engines has become rather common, many games this year have started to take on a homogeneous appearance. But with the possible exception of the surreal real-time strategy game Sacrifice - which, ironically, was published just shortly before Giants, and by the same publisher - it's safe to say that absolutely nothing this year looks like Giants, let alone nearly as good. Simply put, the game sets a new precedent for high-quality 3D graphics. And since it's such an enjoyable game, it's all the more reason for you to go out and upgrade your computer. Giants was in development for a long time before it was finally released in December 2000, but remarkably, its graphics still look totally state-of-the-art.
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