Become a highly trained soldier of the future
Chrome is the sequel to the 2003 first-person shooter Specforce. Like its predecessor, the game asks players to assume a role in the Specforce, an elite combat unit tasked with ridding the galaxy of security threats and ensuring the survival of its parent organisation.
Most missions require you to simply shoot anything that moves, but the game is mission-based and progression depends on the completion of set tasks.
The basic mechanics of play will be familiar to most players, but there are a few elements that are intended to help spice things up. As well as the standard weapons (pistols, automatic rifles, shotguns and grenades), you can use various 'power-ups' such as the Neural Booster, which increases player reaction speed by slowing the game down.
Many of these power-ups are more gimmicky than essential, but a few of them add variety to the gameplay. The camouflage layer is particularly impressive, as it makes the player virtually invisible to the opposition.
Its effects are wasted if you start firing or move around too quickly, but the ability to sneak past guards in heavily fortified areas is welcome.
The original Chrome involved a lot of solitary shooting, but in Specforce the emphasis is more on teamwork. Working with a group of computer-controlled soldiers gives you plenty of additional firepower, so you won't have to do all the work yourself.
The artificial intelligence is generally quite impressive, but there are occasions when it forces the computer-controlled squad members into dangerous firing positions, with the result that you need to rescue them.
Futuristic first-person shooters often seem unrealistic and Specforce is no different. Eliminating opponents in games such as Call of Duty is very satisfying, but in Chrome even frantic battles can be rather impersonal.
One of the major causes of this was the toy-like sound effects of weapons. We were also disappointed with the 'hacking' system for opening new doors. Gaining access to some new areas requires players to match pairs of icons in a tedious mini-game that is a hindrance to the pace of the action.
Some gamers may also have an issue with the unusual inventory system. This requires you to manually fit weapons and other items into a virtual backpack by dragging and dropping their respective icons onto a rectangular grid.
We're not opposed to characters that can't carry an unlimited supply of equipment, but having to manually rearrange the position of individual items is about as much fun as packing for a real-life trip.
While generally good, the graphics aren't that far removed from the original game, and textures can look rather muddy and repetitive in places. These gripes aside, you can have a lot of fun with Specforce.
The original game had a variety of usable vehicles, and that's also the case here. There are five transport options on offer, including anti-gravity speeders and mechanised walkers.
There's also a 32-player death match option, although it isn't as sophisticated as those in Battlefield or Unreal Tournament 2005.
There are six maps available, each supporting death match, team domination, team death match, and capture the flag play modes. You can also create your own levels with the 'Chromed' map editor.
Chrome doesn't live up to the standards set by more high-profile titles such as Half-Life 2 but, if you're a fan of futuristic first-person shooters, it's certainly worth considering.
Good blasting action, but not as immersive as some of its rivals
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