Developer: From Software
Release Date: July 2006
It's time to take smashing each other with giant robots to the next level.
From Software's Chrome Hounds is a next-generation squad-based shooter, the first mech game for the Xbox 360, and offers you the opportunity to go after your friends with huge, customizable robots. It's hard to find anything wrong with this.
In an alternate universe where the Cold War ended in the decimation of the planet, you take on the role of a mercenary participating in a conflict between nations, as a member of one of five classes: soldier, scout, sniper, defender, heavy gunner, or tactics commander. Your goal is to help your side, whether it's American, European, or Asian, take control of Eastern Europe.
From Software wants you to feel as though your mech is actually yours, and to that end, allows you to build it from the ground up, using a hex-based design and any of the parts you've unlocked. You can cluster guns together, layer on the armor, equip sniper rifles, strap on missiles, and generally go nuts. Some of the example mecha ("The plural of 'mecha' is 'mecha.'" – Alicia Ashby) they were showing off were just nuts. Imagine a giant metal spider with a dozen guns.
This'll play a role in the online mode of Chrome Hounds. In addition to plain old Deathmatch, Team Deathmatch, and Capture the Flag, there's a special online mode called Neroimus War. It's set in a persistent world hosted on From's own servers, with twenty people to a given clan, and six Hounds to a team of mercenaries. Your goal is to take over as much land as you can by capturing towns and resources, and thankfully, From's included some matchmaking software. According to them, we can look forward to an online experience where n00bs actually have something resembling a lifespan, instead of serving as cannon fodder for over-leveled veterans' gun-festooned mechs.
In any mode, online or off, you can look forward to pitched battles in highly destructible environments, against enemy footsoldiers, mecha, or tanks. You can also jump out of your mech in multiplayer to enter spectator mode.
I'm not much of a mecha fan, but Chrome Hounds looked impressive; imagine Mechassault with more customizability and a generally more tactical feel to it. The multiplayer war mode also has me intrigued, so I'll be in line to check it out in July.
More articles about Chromehounds