FROM SOFTWORKS’s Chromehounds was the first of the Xbox 360′s few mech/action games. The mechs, or HOUNDS if you want to get technical, are massive, lumbering machines that decimate anything in their path with a huge array of weaponry.
Off of the battlefield you’ll be in the garage, this is probably where you’ll spend most of your time. In the garage you’ll be switching weapons or strengthening your defenses. If you don’t like how your mech functions simply delete it and start from the ground up; unlike most mech games where you can only choose your legs, body, arms, head, and weapons, in Chromehounds you are no longer held to those restrictions since your mech doesn’t need to resemble a human at all. I’ll cover all of that in a minute, but first let’s start with single player.
So… single player. Well let’s be honest with each other Chromehounds was designed specifically to be a multiplayer game and is not afraid to show it but it’s single player holds some fun-factor as well. You start off as a rookie mercenary learning the basics of each class, or RT, of HOUND. Once you learn the basics of each RT( Soldier, Sniper, Defender, Gunner, Commander, Scout ) you go on to do each classes’ respective missions. Each class has its own bracket, so you’ll never be playing a Soldier mission then get blindsided with a random Gunner mission. The missions consist of destroying the enemy, tracking then destroying an enemy, destroying buildings or fighting another HOUND or three. Basically the single player acts as a giant tutorial for multiplayer, you can unlock some weapons for use in multiplayer, and some EXP for different RTs, but basically all the single player story does is set you up for the massive online war that is multiplayer.
Multiplayer is where this game shines the brightest, so bring your sunglasses because it might just blind you. Welcome to the Neroimus War, a never ending battle between three countries: The Democratic Republic of Tarakia, The Republic of Morskoj, and the Kingdom of Sal Kar. Each country holds its own territories and one Capitol. The goal is to capture the enemies’ territories to create a route to the enemies’ Capitol, then your country must capture the Capitol to take control of the enemies’ nation. Whichever country captures both of its enemies’ Capitol first wins the war and everything starts over again.
The best part about the multiplayer however is the squad aspect. First you join a nation, then you join or create a squad. Your squad may consist of twenty members and you all share one giant lobby where you can chat with each other. From this lobby you can also access an even bigger garage than the single player’s garage where you can purchase hundreds of parts for you mech with money that you earn from winning online battles against live enemies or CPU controlled AI. In the garage is where you will create your masterpieces. Do you want to create a speedy wheeled craft that captures communication towers and relays enemy positions? How about a long range sniper with inversed legs that can take out an enemy with one precise shot? Or how about a pink flamingo that poops bombs, sure why not…I’m serious.
So you’ve built your mech, strategized with your squad, and found an enemy, only thing left to do is go shoot some robots up! Now in battle you can have up to five other squad mates with you, make sure you know what they look like however since there is no other way to distinguish between friend or foe. Before you fight you will be sent to a briefing screen were you can tweak your mech, select you base( this is where you spawn )and strategize some more. Once everyone is ready you get deployed to the battlefield, here you can win by killing everyone on the other team, finding and destroying the enemy’s base, or securing a majority of the comm-towers on the map and letting the time run out( the latter two are usually frowned upon online, but hey it’s all about winning ). Once the battle is over you pay for your fuel consumption and ammo fees and then receive your pay and EXP.
Chromehounds isn’t known for its cutting edge graphics but it gets the job done. The mechs look very detailed and realistic and there is wide array of level designs. The levels however are somewhat bland, they consist of either a grassland, forest, desert, snowy forest, or city. Each level is different but they tend to look very similar to each other and to tell the truth are quite bland.
The game’ soundtrack is nothing spectacular. The menu music is repetitive and rather annoying and there is a lack of any music during actual game play. The sound effects however accent the game play quite nicely, whether it is the sound of your gargantuan metal footsteps or the blasting of cannons.
Chromehounds is a very entertaining game, it hold tons of replay and has a very addicting multiplayer. Sadly many people may be turned off due to its slow game play, it involves strategy not run-and-gun “tactics”. However once you start playing it is almost impossible to put down, I personally have clocked over 3000 hours of game play, some of the Chromehound veterans have twice that. In a way this game feels and plays like an MMO, if only it had more players. Nowadays it can be hard to find a match but you can always do a Free Battle and fight your friends in what is sort of a Chromehounds equivalent to a Player match. Chromehounds offers something different and innovating to a console that seems to be suffering from monotony. If you get tired of the countless FPSs and sandboxes, try picking up a copy of Chromehounds, you might be surprised.
Decent graphics, somewhat bland landscapes, good explosions. Menu is plain but practical.
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Flat storyline, amazing online multiplayer.
Music is mediocre at best.
Online keeps you coming back for more.
A must by for mech fans, strongly recommended to anyone else