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Hounds Online

Hounds: The Last Hope, or simply Hounds Online, is a 3D third-person shooter that features both cooperative mission based gameplay and traditional lobby based PvP action. The game features RPG elements as players level up and gain skills.

Publisher: Netmarble
Playerbase: Medium
Type: Shooter
Release Date: April 17, 2015 (NA/EU)
Pros: +Unique mix of both PvE and PvP combat in a shooter. +Varied crafting options. +RPG elements
Cons: -Repetitive gameplay. -Getting new gear and keeping up with repairs feels very grindy.

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Overview

Hounds Online Overview

In Hounds: The Last Hope, players take on the role of humanity’s last hope, a group of survivors battling an alien invasion that has turned most of the population into a variety of terrifying, zombie-like creatures. Players team up to fend off hordes of zombie-like creatures and accomplish objectives, or take to competitive play and face off against other players. The co-op feels similar to similar to the buy-to-play game Killing Floor 2, except with additional RPG elements. Players can choose between one of four unique classes, each with their own abilities and special weapons.

Hounds Online Key Features:

  • PvE and PvP combat – PvE is cooperative and mission oriented where players fight off waves of undead enemies while PvP is lobby based where players play against other players.
  • Four Playable Classes the classes are Assault, Tech, Specialist, and Support. Each class has access to different weapons and skills.
  • Unique Skill System allows players to differentiate themselves.
  • Co-op Missions – story driven and feature varying levels of difficulty.
  • Item Crafting and Enchantment System – df.

Hounds Online Screenshots

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Hounds Online Featured Video

Classes

Hounds Online Classes

  • Assault – uses a Shield Pistol as its primary weapon. This affords them both a high offense and defense, making them exceptional frontline troops. Their special skills are Poison Shot, Sonic Wave, and Rush.
  • Techs support heavies, rushing into fights with their grenade launchers. They also have many tools to help their team in battle such as Ammunition Supply Tools, Sentry Guns, and Shield Generators.
  • Specialists offense-heavy classes, using a large minigun. The class also uses HP Recovery Resonators and Smoke Grenades.
  • Support more comfortable from afar, using their sniper rifles to quickly take out enemies. They have the special skills Impact Mine, Freezing Grenade, and Enemy Detect Fire abilities.

Full Review

Hounds Online Review

By Dimitri Jordan

Hounds: The Last Hope is a 3D MMO developed by Reborn Games and published by Netmarble EMEA that was released into open beta on April 17th, 2015. Players take on the role of humanity’s last band of survivors, a small military operation hoping to fight back against the Wickbroke attack. The Wickbroke descended on Earth and have turned much of humanity into twisted, mindless creatures reminiscent of zombies. There are several mission tiers which help advance the story as players capture key locations, investigate the Wickbroke, and strike back against the enemy.

When players need a break from the tense story and unending hordes of enemies, there are also competitive PvP game modes. Players are able to show off their skills and gear over five different game types. While story missions often payoff better in experience and gear, PvP games often give better gold rewards, letting players buy gear and afford repairs.

Hounds: The Last Hope is available on its own website and on Steam.

Starting Up

When first starting the game, players will be led through a tutorial mission. Players will learn to move, shoot, and interact with the environment, all the basics needed for gameplay. Further missions highlight more advanced options like using and improving skills, crafting, and the consignment shop. After this mission, players are able to create their character. They choose their name, class, and appearance. Sadly, Hounds has very few options for character creation. Players can choose their gender, and their appearance comes from a small set of predefined avatars. Their clothing is chosen from three sets of armors, which players can mix and match to some degree. Aside from these options, further customization only comes from gear upgrades obtained by playing through the game.

The controls are easy to grasp. Players move with the WASD keys, while E and F are both melee buttons. The Spacebar coupled with a WASD key makes the player roll in that direction and the R key is for reloading.

Hounds: The Last Hope has an interesting skill mechanic. Players are given a set number of skill points, with each skill costing a number of points. So if players have 165 skill points and assign a weapon ability that costs 35 points, there are 130 points left for skill allocation. In addition, there are several types of abilities. Class abilities are inherent to each class, while weapon abilities are inherent to each weapon. Some abilities are active, meaning they have to be activated in combat, while others are passive and grant the players boosts like reduced reloading time. In addition, players also have access to “Recruit” abilities. These skills cost a large amount of skill points and are also very powerful. For example, one grants unlimited stamina to the player for a certain amount of time, handy for a quick getaway in a fight.

The First Few Levels

Early missions in Hounds: The Last Hope are dedicated to teaching the player more gameplay mechanics. For example, players can break down unnecessary gear to gain crafting materials and those materials are combined to make better materials that can be used to craft gear.

Materials are also found during story missions. Glowing boxes are scattered through each stage and shooting them awards players with random materials. Most advanced materials require a large amount of base components, making grinding for materials and shattering unnecessary gear essential to advancing in the game.

Many of the story missions are difficult to solo, especially with the basic gear players start with. Players are encouraged to form parties or join clans and up to six people can participate in a story quest at a time. When multiple players are on the same mission, there are more enemies and tougher varieties will spawn. For example, an area that normally has trash mobs with one player may spawn a touch Wickbroke that uses flamethrowers when multiple players are on the same mission.

Gameplay

The gameplay in Hounds is similar to a variety of other games, but most closely resembles Warface. Players can act somewhat independently during the cooperative missions and still survive as long as they do not separate and get swarmed by the enemy. However, in the competitive PvP modes lone wolves are easy prey for a team working together. Players would do well to communicate effectively with their team or even better to play with their own clan members.

Story missions are divided into separate parts, with a break room splitting each part. In the break room, players are able to refill their ammunition and repair their gear before proceeding into the next area. It should be noted there are several different cooperative mission types. Main Missions advance the story while Sub Missions supplement them. In Boss Missions, players have to face off against larger, tougher foes. Finally, Daily Missions rotate constantly to provide players with fresh mission choices. The mission based gameplay is a bit similar to Warframe and provides players with direction.

Skills play a large role in gameplay, especially in the PvP modes. Each class has its own special abilities, with Techs and Specialists having abilities that impact the entire party. Specialists can create resonation fields that heal HP while Techs can bolster shields, lay down automated sentry guns to attack enemies, and lay down ammo containers. This skill in particular is invaluable in story missions where refilling ammo can become a large strain on gold, offsetting any gold earned for playing through the stage.

Shattering, Crafting, and Consigning

Shattering in Hounds: The Last Hope is a mechanic that is seen in many other MMOs. Players are able to take weapons and gear that they don't want and break it down to create components for other items. The time is takes to shatter an object depends on the rarity of the object. Regular gear will shatter quickly while rare or legendary gear will take some time.

Crafting goes hand-in-hand with shattering. Once players receive enough components from shattering, they can combine them together to form stronger materials or craft gear. The gear created from crafting is often much stronger than those found as drops, and will provide a strong advantage to players that are patient enough to grind for the materials. This crafting mechanic ensures that no piece of gear is wasted as it can always be used to craft something else.

Finally, Consigning is Hounds’ version of the auction house. Players can put up their gear or weapons for sale and sell them to other players. There are a variety of search options, helping players to find exactly what they are looking for with ease.

PvP

There are currently five PvP modes in Hounds: Death Match, Annihilation, Close Combat, Sabotage, and Occupation. Death Match is straightforward where two teams fight until the first team reaches fifty kills.

In Close Combat, there are no guns and players must use the grab skill to kill other players. In other game modes, the grab can become bothersome as it is an instant kill if it connects. In Close Combat, not worrying about a hailstorm of bullets makes trying to grab the other player first exciting.

In Annihilation, players play a quick round of Death Match. In this game type, players are only given one life and the first team to have all its players killed loses. It’s a great game for those with less time to devote than for story missions.

In Sabotage, one team tries to plant a bomb while the other team attempts to stop them. In Occupation, teams fight to hold designated areas around the map to raise their score.

All said, none of these game modes are new or unique. However, Hounds: The Last Hope does execute all of these game modes well, and none feel terribly one-sided or lacking in fun.

Cash Shop

The Cash Shop in Hounds: The Last Hope has a lot of the standard Cash Shop fare. There are items to revive in the middle of battle or at the next rest stop during a story mission. There are items to increase the player’s skill point total, or decrease the time it takes to shatter gear. The biggest problem is players can pay for a random equipment box. These are split by gear slot, letting players try for gear that they specifically need. While it is random, it can create a pay-to-win situation, with some players getting lucky with great gear while others are simply wasting their money on crafting materials.

Final Verdict - Good

The issue with the Cash Shop aside, Hounds: The Last Hope is a solid game. While nothing new is done, it is an enjoyable game with a growing community. There are ample options for cooperative and competitive play and affording new skills and gear, clearing harder missions, and becoming part of a clan are all worthwhile features. Those looking for a fun cooperative shooter should give Hounds: The Last Hope a try.

Screenshots

Hounds Online Screenshots

Videos

Hounds Online Videos

System Requirements

Hounds Online System Requirements

Minimum Requirements:

Operating System: Windows XP / Vista / 7 / 8 / 10
CPU: Core 2 Duo E4300 1.8 GHz
Video Card: Nvidia GeForce 7300 GT 256 MB or better
RAM: 1 GB
Hard Disk Space: 5 GB

Recommended Requirements:

Operating System: Windows XP / Vista / 7 / 8 / 10
CPU: Core 2 Duo E6600 2.4 GHz
Video Card: Nvidia GeForce GTS 250 512 MB or better
RAM: 4 GB
Hard Disk Space: 5 GB

Music

Hounds Online Music & Soundtrack

Coming soon...

Additional Info

Hounds Online Additional Information

Developer: Reborn Games
Publisher: Netmarble

Open Beta Date: April 17, 2015

Development History / Background:

Hounds: The Last Hope was developed by South Korean based game developer Reborn Games and published by Netmarble. The game is available worldwide and has been localized in several different languages including English and Turkish. Netmarble's EMEA subsidiary is responsible for the game's publishing and distribution.