i'll sum it up quickly first
"realistic" mech combat
fully customisable hounds
deep gameplay mechanics
teamplay is a mixed bag, get a good team and your set
the online servers have some teething problems at this point
the war is playing out ridiculously fast
you will need a decent connection, broadband isn't enough. 256Kb upload should be considered minimum
finding a game against other squads can be a problem, and when you do the 15 minutes of hound setup they seem to do is usually twice the time the game takes to play.
now for the more in-depth look
single player is little more than a training mission for the real game, the real review summed it up well with anemic. but it's not a negative thing, there are many games out there that are multiplayer first and single player second. this is one of them.
my interest is in the multiplay so that's what i'm going to write about, so i'll start with how the game itself starts
your first port of call is to setup your account with the chromhounds server, next up you select your affiliated country, this is NOT permament so don't panic. the three countries all offer differing perks, morskoj favours heavy armour, while sal kar favours high tech gadgets and tarakia favours the middle ground. you can change later to purchase other parts if need be, but only every fortnight.
you next step is to find a squad, i started my squad so there is always that option, but in most circumstances you'll be joining someone elses. your first server problems begin here, but stick with it as it's a minor issue at best
the first thing to do is to destroy the supplied hound and start again. the game more or less guides you without being invasive about it, little lights illuminate if something is too heavy, drawing too much juice or not assigned to a weapon slot. it will take a little practise but hound building is very addictive and soon enough you will have members that never seem to join in fights, they just tinker with the setup's.
also ignore the "RT"'s it doesn't matter what the game thinks you built, it's how you use that. a sniper can have six plates of armour and still be a sniper, despite the game labelling you as a defender. and you will gain experience based on your actions NOT you hounds design. if you built a scout but keep attacking things you'll gain soldier experience. and yes it never gets mentioned in reviews but there are experience levels, ranks, ratings,reknown. you can become world famous within the community.
finding matches against human squads is problematic, i'm an aussie so most games we find are foreign, this is not an issue of language barrier, you can't talk to the opposing team. nor is it a problem of racial concern, i'd kick anyone from squad for that. it's the gigantic bodies of water between us and the rest of the world! but our problems aside there is also the 15 minute window in which you can modify your hound and the impatience in the opposing teams while that one late joiner asigns that last sniper cannon to weapon slot 4.
the game on the whole impresses me and i feel this is the game the xbox really needed to rise above the ADD crap we're usually subjected too. the game moves at a realistic pace, a 6000 tonne robot shouldn't have the athletic ability of a footballer. it should move like every wrong step it takes could snap it's legs in two. this is not halo in tanks, if you want halo in tanks wait until "coming soon 2007" and buy halo 3.