Scrabble Complete – PC – Review

Scrabble has been released yet again for the computer in this new edition from Infogrames, Scrabble Complete. As in the last version, released in 2000, this Scrabble offers traditional play, hints, personal strategy insights to individual play, multi-player options and mini-games. New to this version is Scrabble Blitz (a mini-game), new graphics and the program Boggle.

Players can play Scrabble against friends at home or on the Internet. Playing at the same computer with friends works pretty well, as the new racks don’t pop up until each player’s turn so other players can’t use opponents’ letters against them in their plays. Word Maven is back, and helpful as ever in analyzing each player’s scores and methods of playing. All the mini-games such as 2 & 3 Letter Words, Best Play (play the best word from your rack), suffixes and prefixes (add to the suffix or prefix on the board), anagrams, bingos and Hook Words (add a tile to an existing word) are back, as well as a new one, Blitz, which has players making as many words as possible with a timer. The Merriam-Webster’s Official Scrabble Player’s Dictionary, 3rd Edition, is also featured.

Scrabble is one of those few board games that are actually sometimes more fun to play on the computer. For serious players, Word Maven will offer hints and suggestions on improving performance, and the mini-games will aid in practicing various word skills. Playing against the computer’s AI is certainly a challenge especially in the harder difficulty settings, and shows the effort put into designing an AI that is “intelligent”. The Word Lists option that will display different word lists of anagrams, “Q” words without “U” and the like may appeal to some, but in my book, that’s cheating. The boards are attractive and are displayed against pleasing backgrounds. Although the program does have new graphics, the overall appearance is still the same from before. There’s not enough new in this version to warrant purchasing if people already have the 2000 edition, but for those who don’t have a recent version of Scrabble, this one is an excellent choice for people who love word games.

Gameplay: 8
Playing scrabble on the computer is fun with this version, with its many features that really add to the board game experience.

Graphics: 8 
The board actually looks better here than in real life.

Sound: 7
The music is average and not noticable at all, really.

Difficulty: Medium
This program makes Scrabble as easy or as difficult as wanted.

Concept: 6 
Essentially, it’s the same game that was released 2 years ago, with just a few new additions.

Multiplayer: Yes
The multiplayer means there are unlimited opportunities for opponents, if one can get past the laborious and invasive registration process at GameSpy.

Overall: 7.1
This edition of Scrabble is a great game to have on the desktop and offers plenty of amusement, but there’s not enough new features to justify a new release.