Gears of War Results

9
Gears of War
  • Fun Multiplayer
  • Epic artwork
  • Great voicework
  • Buggy
  • Unbalanced multiplayer
  • Short campaign

Gears of War

August 17, 2009 by Aaron Green  
Filed under Reviews, Xbox 360

Overview

Title: Gears of War
Release Date: November 10, 2006 (UK and Europe)
Developer/Publisher: Epic Games/Microsoft
Genre: Third Person Shooter
Platform[s]: PC, Xbox 360

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Storyline

Gears of War is a third person shooter set on the fictional planet of Sera.  Prior to the events of the game; Humans had a home on the planet, built cities and expanded their population only to have them torn apart by a powerful race of underground creatures called the Locust Horde.  There after Humans came to call this Emergence Day – players will hear about this event several times in their playthrough.  The main character, Marcus Fenix is the focus of the story – a veteran soldier imprisoned (for reasons explained later) who is brought back into service during a Locust raid on the prison.

 GoW isn’t heavy on the story and yet it manages to introduce a vivid interesting world, with a variety of characters (though some better fleshed out than others).  What the game does; is hint at events through cutscenes and in-game character dialogue.  Fans intrigued by this will explore content outside of the videogame whilst others will simply ignore, play on and enjoy the action.  This is a big achievement because ultimately Gears is all about combat and multiplayer… not story.       

Gameplay

The campaign can be played alone or with a friend; this isn’t an uncommon gameplay element these days but understand Gears of War was the first Xbox Live title to truly succeed at this kind of implementation on a global scale.  So alone or with a friend there’s plenty of over-the-shoulder tactical shooting to enjoy but be warned the five acts will go quickly and the way to better enjoy the experience is on one of the two higher difficulties (Insane/Hardcore) because this makes the already tough AI almost perfect. 

The way to best succeed when playing is to take advantage of the run n’ cover and blindfire system that the game itself introduces in the opening tutorial, basically expect well thought out levels and a tonne of tactical action more in-fact if you play co-op as when one character goes down, the other has to revive them before bleed-out.  The COG Lancer is a brilliant singleplayer weapon, the perfect blend of machine gun and chainsaw.  In co-op one player can flank while another sneaks behind for instant chainsaw death but that’s not to say playing alone doesn’t offer its share of Lancer action.

The last element of the campaign I should mention is the way the levels play.  There’s quite a variety.  First you’ve got point “A” to point “B” sections – the aim of these is to fight your way through to a certain location.  Then there are support missions, your squad splits in two and one covers the other.  Vehicle portions feature a tiny part of Gears too but the real fun comes from the original ideas: such as navigating a crypt while controlling what sounds are made due to the Berserker inside, a giant creature that can only be harmed by the Hammer of Dawn (a weapon that utilizes a powerful laser aided by satellite positioning) and then later in the game Marcus and his squad have to make their way through a dimly lit street whilst getting light wherever possible to avoid the bat-like Kryll.        

Chances are most people interested in GoW won’t buy it for the campaign but rather for the delicious multiplayer experience.  Sure it’s just TDM with a Last-Man Standing twist and yes the maps are a little small but this is all part of the appeal the thing is, even I can’t deny that (for the most part) the maps are very well designed.  This mode is called ‘Warzone’, it can be played in its most basic format or within that there are two variations: ‘Execution’ and ‘Assassination’.  The first is all about finishing off your enemies with execution moves the second has each team having to bring down the opposing team’s leader.  All this plays out four players per team and COG vs. Locust with no difference in gameplay between each team.  The way to win a match is to use cover efficiently, make sure your faction secures the best weapons and kill the opposition – the way to score highly is to be varied in how you do these things.  Melee, headshots, reviving and executions all add up!  When they’re down be sure to curb-stomp or chainsaw because it all adds up.  There has been a lot of hype in my description of Gears and its MP features so far but please don’t think that it’s perfect.  There are quite a few bugs and people will get the Lancer out from behind to grab a cheap instant kill.  Also firing from the hip is difficult but necessary to survive.  If not for these things then the game would surely rank 10/10.  Shame!

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Graphics

Visually Gear of War is an asset to the Xbox 360 and to the Unreal 3 engine.  By today’s standards some will find it a little lacking but there is excellent attention-to-detail, fantastic character models, amazing scenery and brilliant use of special effects.

 

Sound

GoW is built from combination of horror ambience (for the lonely, dark areas) and pulsing military scores (the crowded combat scenes).  Sound effects such as a Locust grunt or Marcus Fenix (aka voice actor John Di Maggio, Futurama’s Bender) all fit in and are never out of place.  Spot on for sound!

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Overall Score & Replayability

Play it alone.  Then play it with a friend.  Finally lose a few months on the multiplayer.  There’s a heap of replayabiltiy in the game, even if it’s just to hear Baird’s rambling or “The Cole Train” one more time.  The fact is Gears of War is a must try for any 360 owner, some people will like it, some wont but whatever way it’s a well designed game with only a few flaws.

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