Chromehounds Review for Xbox 360

On: Xbox 360

Squad based next-gen mech combat

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5Out of 10
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Chromehounds' slow pace makes it hard to enjoy
Chromehounds' slow pace makes it hard to enjoy

Chromehounds' slow pace makes it hard to enjoy

A lot of great people have suffered for their art: Van Gogh lopped off his ear, Salman Rushdie had a bounty put on his head for writing the Satanic Verses, and I played Chromehounds for a week. This may be a tiny bit of exaggeration on my part, although I did once slip with a razor and nick off part of my ear, but I wonder how long those two guys would have been happy to spend aimlessly wandering an apparently barren and deserted battlefield, in a vehicle boasting all the pace of a limping tortoise.

The sad part is Chromehounds starts so well. A breathtaking intro movie, once the star of E3 a couple of years back, shows giant robots crashing through a city in an epic, explosive battle that sends a tingle down the viewer's spine. "This is going to be incredible," they tell themselves before signing up for the kind of war previously only depicted in those awesome Manga flicks.

Hands trembling with barely contained excitement, they click on the Story Mode option and watch another tantalising movie that sets the scene for the action. Despite a disclaimer to the contrary ("This game bears no resemblance to real events..."), the game essentially depicts an alternate future where the Cold War ended much, much worse. Twenty years later and the world is caught in the grip of a never-ending Eurasian conflict where only the side with the biggest robots will emerge victorious. You join the battle as a mercenary ready to fight for the highest bidder in your Mech (sorry, Hound) and make a wad of cash in the process. Trust me, by now you will be at fever pitch - "I want to blow things up and bring peace to this troubled, fictional world. Just let me at 'em!"

Then the training begins and your enthusiasm for a great evening's entertainment couldn't be more swiftly quelled if your telly got stuck on a BBC4 documentary about Polish architecture. (Writer's note: Analogy based on a true, painful story - I was forced to read a book). A series of story arcs are laid out for you to choose from, each based on a particular class of Mech (sorry, Hound) - Soldier, Scout, Sniper, Heavy Gunner and, for the real warmongers amongst you, Commander, and there are a handful of missions to complete for each.

The Hounds do at least look cool

The Hounds do at least look cool

These sorties mainly serve to train you up for the real battles online, with a gradually increasing number of bad guys to blow away and more objectives to complete, but there was really no reason to make them so turgid and unrewarding. The initial missions are especially painful, with an excruciatingly slow talker of a Commander telling you to "move... to... point... E5... on... the... map." It feels like being taught Chess but without the sense you're learning something useful and intelligent. The in between mission updates hardly stir the blood either, thanks to a narrator who sounds like his previous work was recording guided meditations and the dreary animations of flags moving around a featureless map.

To be fair, the later levels are little more dramatic - with more Mechs (sorry, Hounds) and smaller enemies (soldiers, tanks) to fend off - but, even then, the vague instructions from your Commander often leave you wandering the huge battlefields, wondering where the action is. When it does occasionally work, though, like when attackers are coming relentlessly from all sides, Chromehounds is fleetingly a real blast and you can almost smell the leaking gasoline of potential for a truly great game.

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User Comments

nate's Avatar
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hey retard the most u can have in a single nermious war is 12 and the most for free battle is 12 to so dont be bitchin bout "the most ive seen online is 10
Posted 23:49 on 20 February 2008
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xboxer@ Jamey

this game sucks A**! BIG TIME!, if you like your games fast paced, steer well clear of this!
Posted 02:24 on 10 August 2006
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xboxlive@ Jamey

i downloaded the demo and played it
it was not all that good
but i have been told that the online play is relly good
Posted 01:44 on 02 August 2006
Alvy_Singer's Avatar

Alvy_Singer@ Jamey

Very interesting comments, I'm glad you are enjoying the game (as I know a lot of people are).

Sounds to me like you've found some good people to play with, which can make a real difference to the experience (as I explained). Proper team play seemed to prove near impossible for me, as it took so long for everyone to catch up with one another (along with the difficulties differentiating the good guys from the bad). Which was a shame.

Also, near deserted servers last week didn't help matters.

As for 'featureless maps', compare them with those of say Call Of Duty 2 and GRAW - not even close.

However, if you want to PM me your squad name, I'd be happy to join you for a game and see what I might be missing. I've got a pretty sweet Hound now too ;D

There's a lot of potential in Chromehounds and I'd love to see it developed into a great online title.

Posted 11:32 on 01 August 2006
purplezombie's Avatar

purplezombie@ Jamey

Admittedly, the single player game was lame, but a nessessity to unlock parts and introduce you to the game as a whole.

Now the online. While the game does have the occasional glitches =[ i feel, and EVERY one i have played with online, that this is the BEST 360 TITLE YET. Flat maps? Where on earth were you playing? Im fed up of sniping, not looking where im going and falling down a cliff with horrible consequences to my legs. How many online games gives you 110 maps to play on? True, the maps are faily large, but thats another tactictical part of the game. Do you split up and take COMBAS's (which can win you the game) and suffer the risk of walking into two or 3 enemies at once, then your probably going to be toast, or roll out as one big squad only to have a couple or enemy HOUNDS (ppl do refer to them as hounds) sneak around you and kick your sand castle to the floor! And its this type of play that forces your squad to assume roles such as scouts for the COMBAS capture or heay gunner (very slow) to stay behind and watch the base.

Never before in a game that i have played has communitcation been so intergal and important to the game play, which only adds more depth to the game.

Any who, i appologise for a mini rant, but feel so strongly for this game, as does every one i know who has played it. Slight adjustments to need to be made to the strengthen the servers, but other than that its an OUTSTANDING title, and im fed up of all the really negative reviews the game has recieved. Im really sorry for seeming to 'rubbish' your review Paul, but this is a comment box and i can say my mind here.
Posted 09:41 on 01 August 2006
Alvy_Singer's Avatar

Alvy_Singer@ Jamey

Cheers Jamey, glad you liked it.

/tries to leave office but head won't fit through the door.
Posted 13:47 on 31 July 2006
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Fantastic review.
Posted 04:12 on 31 July 2006

Game Stats

Out of 10
  • Still a must-buy for Mech fans
  • A whole lot better online
  • Agonisingly slow paced
  • Offline modes can induce narcolepsy
Agree? Disagree? Get Involved!
Release Date: 14/07/2006
Platform: Xbox 360
Developer: FromSoftware
Publisher: Sega
Genre: Action
No. Players: 1 + Online
Rating: PEGI 12+
Site Rank: 3,513 10
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