Tuesday 8 August 2006
Screwing the lids on bottles of pop, bomb disposal and putting little boxes in bigger boxes: there are many jobs that we rely on robots to do for us, tasks too dull, dangerous or repetitive for fleshy humans to bother with.But look! Here comes Chromehounds to show us exactly how dull things can get and how boring it can be when you've got metal skin and cameras for eyes.
It should be great. It should be 60-foot towering titans blasting buildings and tearing across a scarred next-gen battlefield. Sadly, it's closer to spending a two-week rambling holiday lost and cold in sodden Lincolnshire, with rocket launchers and guns.
It's hypnotically slow. Each robot takes minutes to amble into battle, each objective takes days to destroy, and each mission lasts for months. There's no direction, no dynamism and no dynamite.
Instead there are vague levels that have unimaginative objectives and crap maps. And when you destroy a rival robot they fade out, instead of exploding in a shower of gears and next-gen fireworks.
It's beyond boring. This is a whole new realm of suffering for which there isn't an English word. There probably is in German, something like 'Gleschinzenflouden' which could mean 'like trying to force a wounded oilrig to march to Aberdeen while someone removes your contact lens with a blunt claw hammer'.
Okay, so it's better online. Human foes aren't as willing to be slaughtered as AI bots and this makes a difference. The missions seem less of a mess and some good ideas like creating your own mech and co-operating as a team emerge.
Too simple to be strategic, too slow to be a shooter, too basic to be next-generation, you'd have to have a silicon heart and a metal head to love this soulless, repetitive, dreary dog of a game.