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Platform

PC

 

Genre

Shooter

 

Publisher

Strategy First

 

Developer

Techland

 

ESRB

M (Mature)

 

Released

Q4 2003

 

 

- Excellent production values

- Challenging but not too hard

- Story driven

 

 

- Very bland weapons

- Environments too large

- Micromanagement of inventory

- Implant powers not explained

 

 

Review: Unreal Tournament 2003 (PC)

Review: Return to Castle Wolfenstein (PC)

 

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Chrome

Score: 7.0 / 10

 

Playing this game reminded me a lot of watching a mediocre action movie late at night. You canít remember if youíve seen it because the action blends into every other memorable action scene, but you still keep watching because itís just enough to keep you entertained. Besides, itís keep watching or go to bed earlier than you had planned. As a not-too-bad first-person shooter, Chrome is likely to be adequate but not much more for even passing fans of the genre. Those awaiting Unreal Tournament 2004 and Painkiller, will likely breeze through this little romp and promptly forget about it. With the serious trashing out of the way, Chrome is actually a wholly decent entertainment experience although it wonít change anyoneís opinion about the genre it unfortunately sits in. (Did I say the trashing was done?)

 

chrome review          chrome review

 

Chromeís presentation is quite good. The graphics and cutscenes are all very tight and the textures in the outdoor environments are also adequately impressive. Also, the outerspace cutscenes, which are all done in-engine, are also quite impressive. The voice acting is good enough and is on a par with the just-above-cheese-level of acceptability. The storyline tries to be more complicated than it needs to be as most of the greater storyline can be swept aside for the more streamlined plot.

 

You play as a mercenary named Logan. After being betrayed by your partner on the first mission you play, it sets the stage for the rest of the game. After acquiring a new partner, you continue doing mercenary work and soon your work leads you back to the incident where your partner betrayed you. Without giving away too much of the plot, the game is driven by the storyline and lends it a cohesiveness in the missions which is lacking in a lot of the games today.

 

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For instance, in one mission, you will need to defend a refinery station from a raiding party. Rather than just forcing you to defend the station without any sort of purpose the story that leads you to such a mission is well explained and gives you more of a sense of purpose. One flaw that Chrome has in executing this involvement of the player is that the environments can seem too large and expansive. There is a lot of wasted space especially in the outdoor environments. While 

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this may add to the realism of the game, I donít think many gamers will appreciate running through a full 30 seconds without any other action than moving through a jungle.

 

Another problem that interrupts the flow of the game is the level of micromanagement that must be done in order to take care of Loganís inventory. Logan has only so much inventory space broken up into blocks, and the game forces the player to manage this space manually. In certain cases, you will have enough room to pick up an item, but you will be required to adjust the placement of your items in the inventory. As your enemies carry quite a lot of loot that you can pickup, it makes the pack-rat player, such as myself, devote too much time to moving everything around to make that one extra grenade fit. At any given time, Logan can only usually carry two weapons; a pistol and a rifle.

 

Herein lies my major beef with the game. The weapons of Chrome are absolutely boring. There are a selection of rifles, submachine guns, heavy weapons, and pistols. However, the discharge of each weapon appears to be the same. The only difference between each is the accuracy and amount of damage that it does to the target. By pressing the right mouse button, you are able to take closer aim and focus the crosshairs of your selected weapon to a greater accuracy. This is good for about a mid range distance, but any further and your accuracy drops to about fifty percent. This is not challenging just plain irritating. At that point, my skills as a gamer are not being challenged, but my patience as a reviewer is.

 

chrome review          chrome review

 

Logan also has implants which serve as powerups that are never really fully explained or given a proper tutorial. Using them drains power, but does so at different rates depending on which ones you use and their level of integration into your body. As such, I rarely used these implants in the game and got by fairly well, which doesnít speak too well of the game design surrounding this aspect of the game. If there had been some in mission tutorial surrounding your additional talents, this part of the game would have been a welcome addition. Also, you have no control over the progress of which implants you would like to upgrade. As it is, it seems more of an unnecessary addition than anything else.

 

The game however, does have a couple of things that do spice things up a bit. For instance, the inclusion of vehicles adds a nice dimension to the game. One of the best levels in the game has a timid scientist driving a dune buggy while you man the rear-mounted machine gun. Also, Logan must hack into many security computers. There will be a grid of blank squares. Each square has a symbol on the other side. This is a simple memory game of matching symbols until all the symbols are matched. While not the most creative mini-game ever, it does show the initiative of the developers to try to include some variety and I did like this part of the game.

 

Beyond the single-player portion of the game, there is a multiplayer portion, but with the boring weapons at your disposal and the sheer amount of online attention devoted to the UT2004 demo, you wonít find many players for Chrome online.

 

As a budget title, Chrome would make the cut, however, even though it is a decent game, I canít wholeheartedly recommend it. For those of you out there who only play FPS games, you may want to give Chrome whirl. However, for the majority of you out there who are waiting for the heavy hitters in the genre, you may want to take a pass and play one of the better games in different genre.

 

- Mark Leung

(March 11, 2004)

 

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