Chromehounds Preview

E3 has been and gone, the hype surrounding Halo 3 is at boiling point and many are still gob smacked at the PS3’s price tag. One game which was overlooked at E3 was Chromehounds, the next-gen mech shooter from From-Software. Luckily I have managed to talk a few people who got their grubby little hands on the playable demo at E3 and for the most part they were very impressed by the new game. So for those who have already read 360Monsters Chromehounds preview, just consider this one to be a big in-depth update.

SEGA in the past few weeks have in fact been releasing quite a few screenshots and even revealed that a demo will be hitting the marketplace (which has of course has been delayed). They have also revealed more and more info regarding the new mech-game including things like the online capabilities, campaign modes and also the different classes of hounds at your disposal. Of course 360Monster started to dig up all the new info including the names of the Chromehounds, you’re probably wondering what I’m on about and no I don’t mean names like Jeff or Fred. I do in fact mean that these new mechs aren’t supposed to be called mechs at all, they are in fact known as Hounds. It seems SEGA hate people calling them mechs so much that they have created a cross breed of sharks and pitbulls and anyone calling the Hounds, mechs will have a one to one with the Pit-Shark (well at least that’s what I heard).

First and foremost we will talk about the plot behind Chromehounds. The main story entails three warring countries, who like many countries seek only to gain more power and the only way to do that is on the battlefield with giant walking robotic warriors. What’s more if you manage to take control of a couple of territories you will see that you will be rewarded with large sums of cash. The game will end once you have completely taken control of a set territory or country within the game. That’s about it; of course to win wars you must fight in your own custom designed Hound which brings me swiftly onto the next topic, your robotic warriors.

The Hounds in Chromehounds will be massively customisable, I don’t just mean a few new bumpers and cool green tinted glass, I’m talking about the works from head to toe the Hound can be customised in ways you never thought possible. You can of course do the basic things like pick your paint job, add decals like flames which make you go faster (at least that’s what SEGA said…) and add your own text or maybe even a little count of all the Hounds you’ve killed. That’s of course not all; you can also change things like the shape of your Hound, also things like choosing if you want the Hound to be a hovercraft, have wheels, tracks, legs will all affect how well you do once your in the middle of a raging battle. The best customisable option is of course the weapons, but as well as being cool you will also have to use your logic when picking your weapons. Now you’re wondering what I’m on about, Hounds don’t require logic you just walk, stop and shoot, well actually in Chromehounds your weapon can be the best or worst aspect of your Hound. How is this so? Well to put it simply the Hound’s will be affected by real world physics that effects everything. For example if you place a massive bazooka on one arm of your hound and a small mini gun on the other you will find that your Hound will start walking in circles due to the Hound being unbalanced. Bigger guns will also cause your Hound to be a lot slower and if in the water will at times sink your Hound. Even so the list of weapons on offer is vast, you can add sniper rifles to your hound, or swords and like mentioned before Bazookas. Your weapon will be your greatest ally and at the same time your scariest enemy in Chromehounds.

Now we move onto the different classes of Hounds which are on offer in Chromehounds. The classes are very similar to that of Battlefield 2: MC first you have the Sniper Hound which will no doubt include improved accuracy, next up is the Scout Hound which will be very quick and at the same time very weak, the Defender Scout will have beefed up armour but will sacrifice speed for security. Then there’s the Solider Hound which is the best all round hound with no weakness’s, but also no strengths, the Heavy Gunner Hound will have really big guns and finally the Tactical Hound will have … well were actually not to sure what will be the defining attribute with the Tactics Hound (Some kind of tactics commander perhaps? -Ed). So as you can see there is a lot on offer, then once you’ve chosen your Hound its time to go into the ever raging war known as Xbox Live.

Xbox Live will be where this game truly comes alive; with massive battlefields to fight across, you can bet that the action will be intense in any battle. You will be able to play in eight vs eight matches online with seven other player controlled Hounds, to win you will have to talk tactics with your team mates and not only use your Hounds to good effect, but also the maps. You will find that you will be able to use things like windows or buildings to gain a tactical advantage over your foe, you will be able to hide your Hounds in buildings (obviously this depends on your Hounds size) and then ambush the enemy as they unwittingly pass by, much like a trap door spider you can pounce when they least expect it.

Online will follow the same story as campaign, where you will be able to join a certain country and fight to gain territories with your fellow comrades. Like the single player mode winning battles will give you more cash which you can use on upgrading your Hound. What’s more the game will also accommodate for clans, so you can paint all your Hounds the same colour or maybe all sport the same logo then go into battle against other clans online.

The next question is just how good does this game look, MechAssault for example was fun to play, but the mechs looked like something out of a Yu-gi-oh card luckily the same is most certainly not said for Chromehounds. Each and every Hound not only looks unique, but they look unbelievably awesome. You can almost picture these giant Hounds side by side with tanks in the middle of an Iraqi battlefield. Everything from the cockpits down to the bullet casings look unbelievably realistic and it was one of the first Xbox 360 games that looked truly next-gen. The surroundings are in no means shabby neither, like the Hounds they all look well crafted and things like water, walls, snow, windows all look really good. You will also see that things like your Hounds footprints or tyre tracks will be left in the ground and you’ll get spray from the water as you hover over it. Overall this game looks graphically amazing, the first next-gen mech game and one of the first truly next-gen 360 titles.

Judging by early screenshots, trailers and fact sheets it’s safe to say that this could be one of the best 360 titles of 2006; hopefully it will also help push the 360 in Japan . The game itself has amazing graphics, an online mode which will blow your mind and such customisation that once you’ve played it you will be thinking about Hounds 24/7. So will it be worth the £40 or £50 pound price tag? Quite simply yes, both mech fans and neutral gamers will enjoy playing this so look out for the official Chromehounds review here at 360Monster.

Originally Written By: Lee Matthews


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