For those who don’t remember the history of the Xbox, one of the games that really got Xbox Live started off in the right direction was a game entitled Mech Assault. It was a game from Microsoft that combined both stellar online multiplayer and good single player, and was really for a long time one of the more popular games around. Now that Microsoft has moved onto the 360, we have yet to see a Mech game, until now. Sega has managed to fill the void by publishing a game from developers From Software entitled Chromehounds. So how does the first next generation Mech game turn out? Read our full review to find out!
There are a lot that goes into making a Mech game great. First off, the gameplay mechanics have to be right, controlling the mech’s must feel accurate, and the mech’s themselves need to have good variety to do well in multiplayer action. And last but not least, there has to be a good comprehensive multiplayer element as that is truly the heart of Mech titles. So how does Chromehounds do in these categories?
Chromehounds is a game that doesn’t really take all that direct of an approach to controlling the mech’s. Where some of these games are pure arcade style games and others are pure simulation, Chromehounds is what I would consider a hybrid between the two. Controlling the Mech is not all that difficult, but to master the art does take some serious practice. Practice comes in the form of the single player experience, which lets you go through six different storylines. The different stories are very bland and run dry quickly, but it is nice to see the effort.
The one nice part of the single player is the fact that it does work as a great practice ground for the online play, which is where the bread and butter of this game are found. In fact, I found myself going online a bit too early in the game process, and went back and really enjoyed learning the ropes on the single player. You can see that it was a bit of an afterthought during the development cycle, but it still works well enough for practice. Unfortunately for those who don’t go online, then this is definitely not enough to warrant a purchase or even a possible rental, because there just isn’t a whole lot to it.
Ok so now it is time to go into the multiplayer, which is based on this squad system that is difficult to start. But once that initial process is good to go, you have one heck of an experience awaiting you. Basically the idea of the squad based gaming is to have team based missions, and when you find a good intense squad. That is when this game is really rolling on all cylinders. The missions can be setup to be against computer AI or live opponents, and the latter of the two works much smoother and I have to say makes for a swell experience.
Through these missions you earn money, which in turn allows you to customize your mech’s by adding new parts and new weapons. You can also have more than one Mech in your collection. This allows you to really pick and choose which Mech you want to use online, which is a pretty fun experience.
To me Chromehounds doesn’t have the perfect Mech experience, but it has a game that is almost there. The online experience is great but the single player is extremely dull and the online does start to become a bit tedious after a while. Although you just never get that "great" feeling with Chromehounds, it never overwhelms you, and it just works. So for that I would say, Chromehounds isn’t broken but it isn’t perfect either.
Visually I have to say that I did want to see more from Chromehounds, especially in the environments, which I thought needed a lot more work. When you play Chromehounds you want to see these huge Mech’s swarm around in expansive environments, but instead they are roaming around in pretty dull terrains. There are some environments done right, but unfortunately the whole thing seems like a mixed bag. The upside to this Xbox 360 game are the Mech’s, which are full of bright detail and great customization. To me this game had the potential, but not enough to get it all the way.
I can’t say I am the biggest "Mech" fan in the world, but as an honest and straight forward editor I can easily tell you that anyone can sit down and enjoy this game. However everyone that does sit down to play this game will need a bit of patience as well, as I did find myself needing a good deal of time to become accustomed to the controls. The game itself thrives online and given some more patience you can really be rewarded by a great squad based system that plays beautifully.
In the end, I have to say that although Chromehounds is not the perfect Xbox 360 Mech game, it is a great first outing. For those fans of the genre that just can’t wait until another Mech games hits store shelves, then for you I would recommend going out and giving this game a try. To me it is a game that works but doesn’t go beyond that point.
The owner and editor-in-chief of Darkstation.com. I've been apart of the website since 2002 and purchased the website in 2010. Owning and running Darkstation is a dream come true. I love video games and I love writing and talking about them even more.