“ Genre: Action, Manufacturer: Sega „
Chromehounds is a robot game for the Microsoft Xbox 360 console.
If you are a fan of robots you will absolutely love this one, it has every robot fans fantasies contained within. You can create your own robot from shed loads of different parts customising every aspect from the way you get around to its weapons.
The game is quite dependent on the way you build your robot, if you build an offensive robot you will be able to run and gun your way through the levels, if you build a sniper robot you will be able to take out the enemys from a distance, a light robot will be able to dance around enemys while peppering them full of bullets.
You can take your creations online and battle against the world, this is great fun as you can test how good your robot really is.
If you like robots you will go nuts for this game, it can be yours for a bout 20 to 25 pounds.
Japanese developer, From Software have already built up a good reputation with the previous release of quality mech games such as Metal Wolf Chaos on the XBOX.
With the promise of showing off some of the XBOX 360's next generation capabilities, Chromehounds was an eagerly anticipated game. However, upon release Chromehounds received mostly disappointing reviews from the press and gamers. Reading the forums many have been eager to write off the game. However, Japanese gaming magazine, Famitsu, known for its high standards, awarded Chromehounds a respectable 8/10.
Having been impressed with Metal Wolf Chaos and putting my trust in Famitsu, I decided to buy the game and decide for myself.
Upon loading up Chromehounds, a CGI sequence is played followed by the main screen menu. The menu screens are simple and effective with an easy to navigate and structured layout. The design of the loading and menu screens correspond well to a mech style game of its nature. The main sections of the game are Story mode and online mode.
Missions are set depending on the type of hound to be deployed. Different classes of hounds include: Soldier, Defender, Sniper, Scout, Heavy Gunner and Commander. Each hound possesses its own specialized role founded upon its size, weight, structure, ammunition and mobility to suit its purposes.
A Soldier has general all round capabilities and weapons, while a scout is more mobile and therefore better suited towards scouting and evading enemies. The Heavy Gunner is very slow but potentially very effective since it comes equipped with a large amount of rocket ammunition and heavy armor. With skilled aiming precision, the Heavy Gunner can inflict a significant amount damage from a long distance. Options are also available to build and customize your own hound and choose your preferred parts and ammunition. Building a suitable and efficient hound is half the battle to winning a war.
The game works on a grid structure, similar to that of a board game. A map grid is available at any time by the press of a button, the commander gives the coordinates of the enemy. To be successful all the units have to work together. Without an effective commander to give out readings of enemy locations, it can be all too easy to confuse an enemy from an ally. Although confusing at first, this isn't too much of a problem in single player mode.
Overall the story mode is a lot of fun. Being thrust into different missions one must follow orders directed by the commander. Failure to do so results in mission failure. Missions take on average 15 minutes to complete and the given tasks are specific. Either you follow the given orders or you fail.
All too often in field combat games, we are given a lot of freedom of choice. Chromehounds instills the necessary discipline of following orders effectively. As a rookie, the field commander will frequently remind you not to waste time. You are also told that you are nothing special since there are many others out there who can just as easily follow the given tasks. Rather than building up a false sense of confidence, the game helps prepare you for online battle.
There isn't much to the actual storyline that takes place in the backdrop of all these wars. In a nutshell the game takes place in Russia with some fictional regions at war with each other. While there isn't much depth to the story it remains consistent and sufficient enough to give the game some form of structure to follow.
Online mode is composed of 3 sections: Neromious War, Single Mission and Free Battle. To make good use of the online mode you have to either create or join a squad. This allows you to take part in the Neromious War and implement some tactics with your team mates and agree upon the various roles and tactics. As mentioned previously, to have an effective team it is essential to have a commander to give instruction, snipers and heavy gunners in the distance to provide backup and soldiers to attack from the front line. To get the most out of the online mode requires good communication with team mates. Entering a room full of strangers and embarking upon a battle with people who have their own agenda usually results with everyone scrapping it out in a messy battle. This is where a problem lies with Chromehounds. The game requires planning. Unless you join a squad and have team mates to plan a strategy, the game can easily become frustrating.
With blinding explosions and light reflecting off the hounds, the dynamic lighting makes good use of the 360's hardware. When pounded heavily by enemy artillery, one can often feel the need to eject from the game and escape. Watching your hound crawl along with its cameras malfunctioning brings back memories of robot themed films such as Short Circuit and Robocop. The combination of recoil effects from heavy weaponry, explosive light reflections and force feedback give a real sense of a war situation.
Unfortunately, some detail appears to be lost in online mode with slightly less detailed hounds and fewer buildings and textures.
Good use is made with a wide range of realistic sound effects from the sound of ammunition being fired, hounds malfunctioning and hounds stomping through terrain. The soundtrack is calm, conveying the mood of a tragic and depressing war.
Chromehounds doesn't give instant gratification; this is not the type of game that one can simply pick up and play. At times Chromehounds has a slow pace to the game and due to the strategic element it plays like a game of chess. It would appear that this style of gameplay is not suited to everyones tastes. This is perhaps the reason for the mixed reviews. Chromehounds takes time and patience but similar to RPG's, once you take the time to unravel it, it can be very rewarding and fun.
If you can find the time to take part in a squad, Chromehounds will provide a lot of long lasting fun and replay value. If not, Chromehounds deserves a rental at the very least.