Chrome
by Strategy First

Reviewer: Tim Ceradsky
Review Date: 11/07/2003

Forget steriods and HGH, in the future, you can use cybernetic implants to get the edge on your opponents

GZ Review Ratings:
Gameplay 8.2
Graphics 8.9
Sound 8.8
Difficulty Easy
Concept 8.0
Multi-player 8.9
Overall 8.8

Reviewer's Scoring Details

While the gaming world awaits the advent of the next round of first-person shooters, there are several interesting candidates coming up on the horizon and Chrome may just be the sleeper hit you are looking for to tide you over until Halo 2.

The tactical FPS genre has created a new, more realistic approach to fragging, with just as much emphasis on strategy and planning as there is in twitching and shooting. Chrome strikes a nice balance between the strict tactical FPS and the more arcade based Tournament type of FPS.

You play as Logan, a bounty hunter/mercenary who is betrayed and setup by .... oh, but that would be giving away too much. Suffice it to say, don't trust anybody and always check your six. You are able to carry an assortment of weaponry, health packs, and ammo, which is limited through an inventory system. This limitation is not too confining, however, as long as you remember to pillage the dead bodies you leave in your wake as you complete your mission. They all carry med packs, ammo, new weapons, etc, so you rarely need to go without.

A unique feature of the warriors of the future is the implant system. As Logan himself says, "Implants used to give a guy an edge in a fight. Now, you need them just to compete with your opponent." Gadgets such as dermal armor, super binocular eyes, enhanced reflexes, accurate aiming, etc give you a decided edge, but you pay a penalty for using these implants. Every use of the implants puts a drain on your neural energy pool, and it will drain very quickly. This limits use of the implants to sporadic, quick uses, rather than equipping them and running roughshod over the opposition.

The graphics of Chrome are outstanding, outdoors. The open air environments show a great attention to detail and a very realistic treatment of wind effects, etc. Indoors, each room looks pretty much like the next, which tends to make sense when you realize we are talking about a future where the stellar equivalent of Home Depot probably makes the prefab panels that everyone uses to build structures.

The weapons load out available to players going into a mission is straightforward, with the usual knife, pistol, SMG, assault rifle, shotgun, sniper rifle, and rocket launcher. More variety comes in the 8 different vehicles that you get the chance to drive. The controls for the vehicle are simple and easy to follow, sort of like Halo-type vehicles.

The fourteen missions in the single player game provide a decent amount of content, taking the player through such places as a jungle island killing space pirates, salvaging cargo, rescuing prisoners, etc. The game's real success may be found in the online multiplayer community, however. Chrome makes an excellent case for online multiplayer, supporting up to 64 simultaneous players. While the computer AI may be weak on the single player side, playing with this game engine against live players is just what the doctor ordered.

Don't wait on the big guns to come out before jumping back into the FPS waters. Chrome may have a few flaws, chiefly on the side of the enemy AI and game balance, but it looks gorgeous and plays very smoothly. If you liked Halo and Deus Ex, you will enjoy Chrome.

Reviewer's Scoring Details

Gameplay: 8.2
Tactical FPS that plays as well as the more arcade-like FPS games, it takes the Deus Ex model and creates a new universe. The implant system adds another layer of strategy, about when to use your advantage and when to go it alone.
Graphics: 8.9
As with many current games, the Chrome engine will really tax your processor and video card. My Inspiron with GeForce2Go struggled at times, but the quality is there, the game just looks very polished and shiny.

Sound: 8.8
I like for the sound in a FPS to add to the experience of the game, and Chrome did not disappoint. When you are walking through the forest and can hear birds chirping to the left and the right and then gunfire makes you drop, that's immersion.

Difficulty: Easy
If you have played any FPS in the recent past, you know how to play this game. The hardest part is remembering that the enemy can see and shoot you from a really long ways off.
Concept: 8.0
Chrome's storyline is somewhat contrived, in that you don't really have much choice on what missions you take, it is a very linear progression through the game. Bounty hunter/mercenary has been done before as well, so it is hard to give credit for that. However, the clean, straightforward flow of the missions engages the player and gets you into the game easily, which is a big step towards creating a fun gaming experience.

Multiplayer: 8.9
I believe this game has the chance and the skills to be a really good online multiplayer favorite.
Overall: 8.8
Chrome is the type of game that you know you should find fault with, because the enemy is not real bright, but it is so much fun to go through the levels, solving the puzzles and completing your objectives while liquidating all opposition. Isn't that what gaming is all about anyway?


Test System:
CPU - Dell Inspiron 8100 P3 1.3 GHz RAM - 256MB
Video - 32MB GeForce2 CD - DVD/CD
Modem - DSL




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