Review: Gears Of War
Posted 08 December 2006 - 12:22 AM
Gears Of War:
Published by: Microsoft
Developed by: Epic Games
Genre: Third-Person Shooter
Number of Players: 1-8
US: November 7, 2006
Europe: November 17, 2006
Features: 16:9 Support, 480p Support, 720p Support, Dolby Digital 5.1, Xbox Live, Memory Unit, Custom Soundtrack, Downloadable Content
I think we have an emergency…
-Overall: Finally, after much anticipation throughout the year, Gears of War hit our shells mid November, questions were answered, and more were raised. And did it really live up to the hype? Oh your damn well right it did.
With the game being already nominated for Best Game of the Year before it had even gotten to the retailers, Epic had a big hype and demand to fill. And for the first time in a long time, a game really has delivered everything to feed the ever growing desire held by all gamers. And the needs to be able to chainsaw your opponents into chunks of meat always have been a request by even the sanest of players.
-Music/sound: No real heavy metal songs to this, which is good. The game was made and set out to be almost like a movie. The occasional orchestral score for battles and to point something out is good enough, the banter between the four COG’s can be amusing at times which also releases a little bit of tension in the game and can also make you lower your guard.
The guns sound…well, pretty damn good. Each sounds as if it really is the kind of sound that weapon would make, and even hearing the chainsaw’s revs will strike a chord in your heart, either in glee at what your about to do to some poor locust, or that strange thought normally recognized as ‘Oh ****’ followed by watching your character squirm and struggle against a cheerful looking Locust thrusting his Lancer at you. The sounds of your surroundings are precise and when mixed with some surround sound also give a nice bit of extra detail in your gaming experience.
One thing which I hope was added for comical reasons and the production team having a laugh is a rap song sung by one of your team mates in the credits, unfortunately, the song is pretty pants, but It’s something to listen to through the credits.
-Graphics: Clearly, it’s a game using a lot of the 360s true potential. Fires dance with embers falling to the ground. The light, shines off your armor and even water bounces off you as you pass under it. This game has the environments details to the best they can currently achieve. Each play through you find yourself noticing something new about your environment, whether it be the destroyed cities or the underground caverns of Act III. I personally find the final level on the train a great example of all the detail, with all the Nemacysts coating the sky almost like a sheet of black. If you’re buying purely for graphical excellence, look no further for the games of 06.
-Gameplay: The gameplay is simple yet unique. The controls were specifically designed for any gamer, so a new comer to these kinds of games can play at get the hang on it easily, but even the die hard Third Person Shooter hard cases can pull off some fancy maneuvers with that lovely cover system. All cover moves and extra movement is simply one direction and A. Cant get any more easier for control.
A new thing that games are doing now is incorporating the use of cover more. There finally taking away the ability to just run in with a handgun with 10 rounds and take out a room of twenty by running like a maniac. As fun as this can be, to a more serious gamer, realism is a key feature. And as for you who don’t like the cover and shoot idea. You don’t have much of a choice.
Health (although being gradually regenerative) is short, take too many hits and one time and you’ll be down on your knees, or depending on your game mode, dead. Weapons like shotguns at close range, rocket launchers at any range and other weapons can have one hit kill affects like your usual suspects your all familiar with.
The story is quite linear, paths are usually following through the areas that haven’t been destroyed completely or inaccessible, the player will often get a chance to go two ways. The team of two or four will then split into 2 or 1 and they will go both ways, all with areas to help the other group out from a distance and vise versa.
The way the game was visually created for the way you play is also unique to the game. It was purposely made to have a cinematic style to the game, with things happening in your surroundings, the camera positioning and even the impressive ‘Rodeo Run’ when you run in a crouch position, making the camera go to ground level, bobbing up and down as if someone was running behind you filming it. The HUD is simple, but it’s all you really need. When aiming, your current weapon, ammo and a aiming reticule will appear on the screen, when not aiming, there is nothing on the screen other than occasional small diagrams to tell you what button to press (like to go into cover or to look at a point of interest) This makes the action easier to see and adds more cinematic feel to it.
One thing I’m not to impressed with however, is your team A.I. Although it being great, with them taking cover almost as much as you do and using good tactics, occasionally, I’ve ran out into an area filled with locusts, and Dom’s miles back, still in cover of a place that we’ve already emptied. Thankfully, I’ve only had this problem once on Insane. So nothing to worry about too much. The enemy A.I. is great; they use tactics and also use cover well. Occasionally trying to push us back with a few locusts running at our positions, but its always a different experience whilst playing, which is great.
-Storyline: The story, in my honest opinion is (excuse the lack professionalism) absolutely awesome. With a world not far from us, humans are gradually fighting each other. This is known as the ‘Pendulum Wars’ whilst this is all happening, deep underground an army of Locusts is building their army and awaits for the perfect time to attack. By the time of emergence day, some say it was a little too late. The conflicting humans were forced to become allies as a new problem had emerged from the depths. After much fighting and slaughter, the final few humans took refuge in a city, and stowed away in a city currently impenetrable to Locusts from underground. They then released a weapon which destroyed every city and corroded every inch of land, killing surviving humans not in the protected areas and Locusts alike. Unfortunately, Locusts still kept on coming…
14 years later from emergence day and the war between the remaining COGS is still going on. Your prison cell door is burst open and an old friend is there to greet you. All people, even prisoners have been pardoned and made to fight in the war. You’re the last one left in the prison. And with your military experience, you’re a good asset to the COG’s. The game then starts from there, and to save spoilers I’ll leave it at that.
-Replay value/play time: The game is, relatively short. With 5 acts and a small training mission all together the game will only keep you in one place on the harder difficulties and only because your trying your damn best to survive. The achievements for playing it through on every act in each difficulty may make you go through at LEAST 3 times, purely because it’s some of the easiest gamer scores to get. After completing it the first time on either Casual or Hardcore, you unlock the final difficulty Insane. Insane AND Hardcore are quite challenging, but its not one of those frustrating things, its fun to me at least because I enjoy a game that really makes me work and think proper tactics to win. This certainly does the job.
For the online play, I’m not a huge fan, but the maps are really fun and its good when you find your self with a good set of team mates. The achievements for each weapon are 100 kills for each weapon. It’s not an easy feat with the ranked matches, and will keep you going for a really long time. One problem I find with online matches is the fact that a key to winning, is keeping contact with all your members, staying relatively close and informing your team of your position and what you can see at all times, and them doing the same. I’ve played through with a few people who do this and we win each time. If you have a player who doesn’t have a microphone, or spends his time blabbering about what he had to eat last night and not about the game at hand, you’ll find yourself losing sorely.
There is only three match types, all basically death match orientated, with the winner always been the team who’s killed the other first. Sadly, for all hardcore death match fans. No respawns at all, there are chances to be revived, but unless a fellow team member is around, prepare for a shot to the head with their weapon of choice, or get ready for your face to meet the pavement, with head popping results. So once you’re dead, you’re dead for the whole match. Which can be extremely annoying and tedious when the final two people on the map decide to ‘wait for the enemy to come to them’ with both of them waiting on opposite ends of the map till the time runs out. You can observe the match through cameras or following the surviving players, but it can become irritable having to wait so long, especially if you die early in the match.
The Co-op is also something that brings life to the game. Either online co-op or offline co-op is just as good. I’ve helped quite a few friends on acts they struggle on with an online co-op game, and it also makes the game a little easier. Since as long as your character hasn’t been blown to pieces or cut into pieces, the other player can simply run over and revive you, which makes large battles easier, but on parts where your split up with the paths, you have to look after your own hind. As the team mate A.I. can’t revive you. Typical, eh?
-Conclusion: In a nutshell, if you haven’t got this game. Where the hell have you been? I bought the collectors edition on emergence day, I even allowed myself to be tricked into buying an ‘exclusive to this shop in my town only’ faceplate. I knew what they guy said was a load of rubbish, but I gratefully turned down the walkthrough offer and couldn’t help but have to buy the faceplate, purely because it’s Gears Of War. And I got to say, my 360 looks the dogs with this faceplate on. Maybe ill post a picture or two. I read the book ‘Destroyed Beauty’ on the way home and could get the disc in the drive fast enough after I arrive home. It’s the one game for the 360 that’s had me like that since I was a kid.
If the news about this game hasn’t had you thinking ‘God I cant help but be strongly interested in this game’ then your either mentally ill, too young to understand or one of those people who only play sports games and arcade games. Still, I bet even they try new things once in a while.
The game appeals in everyway. If you want the best graphics…its here. Best sound? You can’t get much more of a crispier sound here than real life. Compelling storyline? Damn, having played through it enough times, I know for a fact Epic Games aren’t going to miss out on a Sequel or 2, perhaps even a prequel too.
For those not interested. You got this far down to the review, you might as well check it out a little more. For those of you who are. Get it, there’s no demo on the marketplace and no plans to put one up there. Perhaps if your still not too sure, rent it out? Borrow it from a mate. But at least give this game a shot, after all, it is the best game of the year.
My Rating 9.6
Posted 08 December 2006 - 02:19 AM
I won't pick holes in it as to why i think (personally) that it should score a fraction below a perfect 10.
Giving the game a largish dollup of downloadable content will get it there though.
Anyone who's not at least tried the game - shame on you.
Posted 08 December 2006 - 02:58 PM
Very good review though
Posted 08 December 2006 - 03:37 PM
9.5 from me
Posted 08 December 2006 - 05:20 PM
Posted 08 December 2006 - 10:46 PM
Still, its the longest review ive written, i was worried about the length, but theres so much this game gives and has worth talking about its hard not to fill afew pages of microsoft word.
Posted 09 December 2006 - 06:54 AM
Quote removed, you ran my mouse batteries out!
This post has been edited by Mush: 09 December 2006 - 06:39 PM
Posted 09 December 2006 - 06:32 PM
Haha glad you liked it mate. And it worked ! Epic will love me now hahaha
Posted 17 January 2007 - 07:29 PM
This post has been edited by mymatejd: 17 January 2007 - 07:29 PM
Posted 17 January 2007 - 08:34 PM
Its set itself up lovely for some sequels.
(Oh wow, im a silver member, how did that happen? XD)
This post has been edited by Mechanical R: 17 January 2007 - 08:40 PM
Posted 17 January 2007 - 10:53 PM
Its set itself up lovely for some sequels.
(Oh wow, im a silver member, how did that happen? XD)
cos you have over 150 posts you can now change the writing under your avvy too
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