The giant robots in Chromehounds are slow. Some of the ground textures in Chromehounds aren’t very attractive. The single player game is dull and relatively easy to complete. All of these statements are true, and you’re going to hear that from several other sources coupled with low scores. Why should this review be any different than those? I’ve played the game on Live.
If you do not have Live, or do not want to play online, then don’t even bother. The single player content is easily beaten within just a few hours and isn’t very rewarding in the first place. That’s not to say that you can’t get a little entertainment from playing through the campaigns, but that’s not the reason to play this game.
Multiplayer is definitely where it’s at in Chromehounds, and it’s easy to see why. Chromehounds offers a squad interface where you can join up with friends and go participate in up to six-on-six battles against either the AI or human opponents. In this regard, Chromehounds is near perfect as there is hardly ever any wait time. If no humans join your game, just hit a button and you can play against the AI.
In the multiplayer area of the game, you can either play in the war or do a pick-up game of some sort. The war is by far the most interesting choice as it’s in a persistent world where each battle counts. The rewards vary depending on if you play against the AI or human opponents, but the goal is always the same: destroy the enemy. When you win a fight you get a certain amount of experience and money. The money can be used to customize your Hounds, which is strangely addictive.
Building your own Hounds can be as complex as you want it to be. Among my friends, there are people who take hours on end designing the perfect Hound while others just throw some stuff on a frame and go to work. From emblem design to choosing your color scheme, the customization in Chromehounds is fairly advanced.
Once you have your Hound put together, it’s time to get out there and blow some stuff up. The main objective of most battles is the destruction of the enemy base, which can be located at one of three different locations. Whoever either wipes out the enemy base or the other team wins the match, and thus, gets a reward and some experience.
The maps are fairly large and have pretty decent view distance for all of you indirect fire guys and snipers. Of course there’s plenty of terrain to hide behind for those of us who don’t like to get murdered from two miles away. Tactically, there’s room for both heavy, slow Hounds and light-weight, quick ones. No matter your style of play, there’s definitely a place for it in Chromehounds.
What ultimately hurts Chromehounds score is the lack of any real single player. You have the few missions for each role, but most people can finish those without breaking a sweat. Other than that, your only option is either replaying the missions or playing on Live. Thankfully, the online play is so fantastic that we can overlook the single player failings.
Overall, this is the best multiplayer experience on the Xbox since Steel Battalion: Line of Contact, and so far, minus the awesome controller, it puts that game to shame. The interface isn’t even remotely as confusing and you’re never very far from jumping into a battle. The option to play against the AI if no humans are available is a welcome addition. If you like multiplayer, this is about as good as it gets on the 360. Otherwise, keep moving; this isn’t the game for you.