Chrome Review

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Graphics: 9.0
Sound : 8.0
Gameplay : 7.0
Multiplayer : 7.0
Overall : 7.5
Review by Kurt Knudsen

Chrome is a new FPS that offers quite a bit of visuals and an intriguing story. The graphics are fairly competitive with today’s rising standards. The audio is superb, and the game play offers something for everyone.

Graphics:

The graphics for the most part are splendid. The only major complaint I have is with the faces. They look ridiculous. The faces look alien-like and the mouths move like something out of South Park. Other than that, there are no major complaints.



The floral graphics are incredible, the way they move and look is very realistic. The ground is littered with various floral arrangements that please the eye. Many of the bushes and such can be used for cover and sneaking up on enemies. The trees look amazing and flow together with the other plants and bushes very well: it looks remarkably realistic.

While walking in the grass and dense bushes you can see your shadow cast on the bushes themselves. As minor of a detail as this is, it is important to notice that Techland actually took time to include this, adding upon the realism. Even when you duck and get really close to the bushes they still look somewhat real, instead of becoming blurry. Also, the foliage moves with the wind in several directions, giving an incredible effect of being outside.

While the flora looks incredible, it’s really all there is to most levels. There is a lack of other details; while this won’t bother most people, others might get bored of the scenery. As you walk through the somewhat dense forests you can look up and see rays of light penetrate the trees. This definitely looks scripted, but it is a neat effect nonetheless.



The texture work is equally impressive. The high detailed textures on some models are absolutely stunning. The clothing on the human models is a prime example: it looks very realistic, if you can get past their hideous faces. When you shoot your guns you can see the bullet decals. While this is becoming a standard in most game genres, there are decals on a lot of objects including human models and windows.

The planets you land on offer a variety of settings for you to master. From deep jungles to desert landscapes, you must complete your mission in all types of weather. Variety is a must in games nowadays; it takes away from the monotonous tone some games set. All of these worlds look just as good as the last, incredibly. While the lack of detail is still an issue, the eye candy produced is nice.

Other various effects like explosions and smoke clouds are one in the same, awesome. Throwing a grenade into a room you can see the enemies fly and watch as the smoke clears. Also if you shoot paper on a desk you can watch the paper fly around the room, I was amazed when I first saw this.



The vehicles in the game move and look great. It feels like Halo, to be honest. While it may not offer the same exact physics that Halo does, it does a pretty good job trying to copy it. The vehicles move pretty well, although their animations are what you would expect, nothing out of the ordinary.

The rag doll physics on the enemy models are fairly impressive. Tossing a grenade at them, watching them run away from it and still get blown 15 feet just looks great. There are quite a few tricks you can do with these physics, like making the guys do flips and spin around if you hit them just right. Obviously that wasn’t the plan, but it is still fun to do stuff that wasn’t meant to be done, and I think tossing grenades at them yields the best results.

Sound:

After that longwinded graphical explanation, the audio falls short in some areas. The voices are my biggest complaint, and since it’s always a major component in any game, the audio suffers.


The voices just don’t sound real; they lack enthusiasm. If you compare this game to Mafia, the differences are obvious. The voices are well done for what they offer, but the lack of emotion and expression really brings them down. Sometimes you can tell when they had a good recording day, while on others it’s just bland. Of course other games have done far worse, but in this day and age, great voices make for a great game.

The sound effects for the guns and whatnot are above average. They aren’t anything remarkable, but definitely get the job done. Since the guns don’t have any real life counterparts, there’s no way in telling their authenticity. The sounds do sound somewhat realistic for the most part, although some could be redone for a better effect. As you move through various terrains you can hear the sound of the bushes rubbing against your clothing, or the 'clack’ of your shoes hitting the pavement. There are a ton of sound effects for various types of terrain; this really fills any gaps of silence.

The music, when it plays, is very well done. When you approach enemies you can hear it go into a climactic adventure driven beat. While you aren’t in combat, or doing something the game thinks is important, all you hear are the ambient sounds. In the jungle your ears are flooded with birds chirping, and crickets and frogs. These noises are extremely realistic and really put you into the setting. The combination of the music and sound effects draw you into this game like mad. They are a perfect combination that compliments each other very well.


Gameplay:

Right when you start the game you are dropped into a very short tutorial that explains the basic controls. This isn’t mandatory; all this information is available in the control configuration or the manual. Once you continue you are driven into some instant, but short, action.

While you can have a lot of weapons to use at your disposal, you can only fit a certain amount in your inventory, so you are always making decisions. All of the enemies you kill can be looted for their weapons and ammo and various items, such as health and grenades. What really is different about the inventory system is that there is only room for one primary weapon and a few secondary ones, mainly a handgun and grenades.

As you progress you get implants that help you. These range from targeting improvements to armor and even thermal vision. When you turn them on, they have a little bar that goes up as you keep using them. Once the bar is full they turn off and the bar slowly progresses down, so you can reuse them again. The implants, depending on the situation, can help greatly.


The game itself is pretty challenging. I’m currently playing it on very easy, and I’m having some difficulty in some areas, mainly when it comes to taking out snipers. Another thing is you must follow orders given to you. In the first mission if you don’t follow your teammate you will fail the mission, so much for going out on your own. The AI is pretty advanced even on Very Easy; I can only imagine what it is like on the hardest setting.

The AI in the game, like many others, has its good and bad points. It runs away from grenades, but it’s usually too late and they still get blown up. They will also try to surround you, but if you chase after some, they just end up going in circles. If you kill someone that is part of a group, you can notice the other guys get their guns out and start looking around. If they are close enough to you they will attack.

Each level has a load sequence, but unfortunately these are fairly long. At times I felt like the game has frozen because the status bar just stopped moving. It gets to about 20%, then jumps to 100%, kind of pointless. Hopefully future patches will address this issue and fix it. There are even load screens for the cut scenes after the missions: the scenes can be skipped, but the loading can’t.



Overall the singleplayer is fun at times, but sadly it seems to be lacking something. I find myself bored when I play this game. The levels offer a lot to do and a lot to look at, but the story and game play is just mundane. It could be so much better; perhaps it’s the fact that the enemies blend in so well with the surroundings that it is really hard to see them. Perhaps it’s something else, whatever it is I really can’t explain it. Depending on your personal preferences this game will be hit or miss.

Multiplayer:

The game offers a little taste of some multiplayer action. As everyone knows, multiplayer is one of the biggest things that keep games alive. With a game with as good as graphics as this one, it will be interesting to see what modders can come up with, if the game is popular enough.

There are Team Death Match, Death Match, Capture the Flag, and Assault modes. Assault, I believe, is based on objectives. The rest are standard and self explanatory. You can either host the game on LAN or the Internet. Just as the single player, the MP is hit or miss, depending on the player. It can be fun at times, while other times it can be dull. However, just for the record, I enjoyed what I played.



Conclusion:

Seeing as it offers great graphics, decent audio and mediocre game play, this game is a mixed bag. The multiplayer option sure is nice to have if the game becomes popular. I enjoyed playing this game, despite its somewhat boring game play; it does have its finer moments. The battles you can get into can be pretty intense and heart pounding. As I said, it’s a mixed bag.