sequel to Chrome is in need of some more spit and
polish. by Mike
13, 2006 - Chrome:
SpecForce is a generic futuristic shooter. It's the
kind of game that I imagine would be created from
a template by students taking a videogame development
course. It's basic and has its share of faults. I
might pass the student that created it but I would
certainly give him a C minus for his efforts.
Logan and his SpecForce squad are called upon to put
a stop to the training of terrorist supersoldiers
on the planet Estrella. Presided over by a ruthless
corporation, these terrorists-in-training are poised
to take over the planet where they will launch an
assault against the rest of the galaxy. SpecForce
will be confronted by a variety of missions including
hostage rescue, seek and destroy, recon and combat.
Although the missions are run-of-the-mill, there is
some variety to how they are played. It's just unfortunate
that the combat is so lackluster.
and foremost there are no cutscenes. This keeps the
story from reaching us emotionally as most of the
information is presented as text-based briefings before
each mission. There are a lot of games where the cutscenes
are really just a waste of time and I wish we could
just skip them and get on with our mission. But in
a game such as this, with virtually no personality
to distinguish it from the myriad of shooters out
there, it really would have benefited from a good
storyline with interesting characters.
of the game involves running and gunning but there
are some added features such as the ability to drive
a bike, pilot a mech and man a turret that keeps the
gameplay somewhat fresh. These elements are required
to compete various areas of the game and are therefore
integral to the gameplay. If there's any complaint
it's that these elements may be a little too simplistic.
I'm thankful that they work well and they don't require
navigating a huge learning curve but it just doesn't
feel like much of an accomplishment to complete the
objectives using these weapons and vehicles. They
feel as though they were included just for the sake
of breaking up the gameplay - like an over-enthusiastic
developer giving you a tour of his game and all the
neat things he included in it. Let me try another
analogy. It's like a stew that doesn't totally blend.
You can taste all of the individual ingredients -
even those mushy vegetables that I'm not crazy about.
AI on both sides is not well programmed. The enemy
AI can be very unfair as they lie in wait around corners
and in bushes to pick you off as soon as you enter
into the region. Just about every time you peek around
a corner you can expect to take a few hits. The enemy,
thanks to your weak firepower, can take up to three
times as many hits as you before they kick the bucket.
members of your squad will stand up in the middle
of a fight and take on severe damage as though they
were unaware that they were in the middle of a fight
to the death as opposed to a tea party. This is not
exclusive to Chrome but it is confined to poorly developed
games worldwide. Fortunately for your character there
are plenty of health kits to pick up and store. You
can even store weapons that you scavenge from dead
enemies although the inventory makes this more complicated
than need be.
main weapon of choice is the assault rifle. All the
other guns, from the pistol to the shotgun, are virtually
useless since you can use the assault rifle's scope
to pick off enemies from a safe distance. It also
makes a great melee weapon. The inventory has limited
room and you have to enter the weapon's stats in the
various grids which is a real pain. You can't beat
the rocket launcher for sheer destructive force but
the best overall weapon, and handiest, is the assault
is available but it's not as effective as it could
be. There are four components to the armor: powershield;
motive support; camouflage, and neural boost. As long
as you've got your meter filled you can use the various
armor features. The powershield will give you some
protection from enemy hits. Motive supports gives
you a speed boost which makes you move quicker. The
camouflage rarely fools the enemy and even though
you may be invisible, you aren't invincible from projectiles
should the enemy fire in your direction - and they
will. The neural boost slows everything down like
a form of bullet time but it also slows your character
down with everything else. What's the point of that,
the game looks like a virtual training environment.
The forests and plant life is 2D and flat which looks
totally fake. The various buildings and compounds
are relatively clean and empty. The music is sparse,
highlighting the emptiness. Clipping and slowdown
accompany the appearance of enemies. The sound effects
of the guns and explosions are weak which belie their
overall impotence. The voiceovers are few and far
between but what is presented here isn't that bad.
to 16 player can take part on the online modes which
include King of the Hill, Deathmatch and Capture the
Flag. Even though the game has been out for a couple
of months it was difficult to find enough people online
to fill all the available slots. I tried for three
days and nights and I was never able to find more
than 10 people to play with. Not that you would be
missing much since there are a lot of better games
that do these various modes justice.
you're going to acquire this game, do it for the offline
mode. You can expect to get about 10 hours out of
it, but don't expect much more than that. Good luck
with the online modes. Rent this game if possible
and if you like what you see then pardon me all the
way to hell.
Special Forces of the future.
your Power Armor systems and ultramodern military
equipment to maximum efficiency.
part in covert operations deep inside enemy territory.
alone or cooperate with your team members.
against cunning AI opponents
your tactical planning skills and quick reflexes.
the vast landscapes of Estrella.
land and air vehicles for transportation and combat.
over the Internet and via LAN.
part in complex, fast-paced multiplayer arenas.