Review by topgamer101

Reviewed: 11/09/06

Duck and Cover! Review incoming!

Gears of War has been a debated game for some time now and many have weighed their ideas about it. However, this game is more about a certain kind of play style. People that don't like hiding instead of running and gunning, then you’re not going to be a fan.

Very little is actually done to the story here, and it might be the place that the game suffers. You are Marcus Fenix, a man that was court marshaled for disobeying orders during the Locust invasion. 4 years later, your buddy Dom breaks you out and you rejoin the fight. That's essentially it. The story really doesn't delve into the characters, simply about the current situation. While not really a big deal, it does lose a little bit of being able to care for your character.

Game play:
This is the area that a lot of people might have a problem with. However, despite your opinion on the play style, that does not mean it isn't executed excellently. This game is about cover. If you stick your head out too long your dead. The idea of moving strategically from cover point to cover point with your AI controlled squad mates helping out a bit makes things interesting. Add into that fact that you can have a buddy control Dom on your travels makes things even more enjoyable.
On the lowest difficulty setting things can end rather quickly, however as you amp up the difficulty, you have to be more patient with your kills. On Intense mode you'll probably be pulling your hair out. This is a good chance to get your co-op buddy on the scene and start coming up with strategies to push the locust back. All in all the game play is excellently done in a brand new take on a franchise saturated with many closely related examples.

This game is gorgeous. Not many other games can truly touch this game. If you don't at least have an LCD computer monitor you won't be able to appreciate it. But it's not just how well it looks, but your surroundings as well that look phenomenal. Roman and Greek architecture was used as an example in the building of your surroundings. Now top that with the fact that the Locust Horde has destroyed all these wonderful buildings, it makes you feel kind of sad to see them crumbling. Later on, you visit other areas that look wonderful. Underground you see beautifully glowing yellow liquid, a train running down the tracks at sunset, and a run down mansion. Not only that, but the characters themselves have great detail in their movements and faces.

This game has many situations, a lot like the graphics, where the audio shines. Many of the weapons have unique and devastating sounds. Listening to things blow up, be it grenades or heads of the locust, everything sounds great. The voice acting done by Marcus could maybe have been a little less mono tone, but the rest of his team mates are done well. The eerie sounds that come from one level make you feel you’re playing a survival horror game. It definitely draws you into the experience, especially if you have surround sound.

Replay Value:
With three different levels of difficulty on single player, each harder one giving you longer play time, co-op with a buddy, and X-box live death matches, this game definitely has some decent replay value. The single player has several things that you will mostly likely want to go back and see, including the fact that it's just so enjoyable to play again. On the multiplayer aspect, the number of maps is decent, and more should be on the way. The lack of different modes is a little disappointing, but I can see why Epic chose do it. To keep with the idea of its cover system, they only included three game modes which are all similar to standard team death match. Regardless it's quite fun and you'll want to keep playing.

Final Comments:
This is a spectacular game in its own right. Some people are saying that it's the best game ever. I wouldn't say that. Some say it is junk do to being over hyped. Again I disagree. It's a hell of a fun time to play this game multiple ways. While it's true there are some minor flaws or oversights with it, it's still a stand out title that every 360 owner should at least rent and try. You owe yourself that much.

Rating:   4.5 - Outstanding

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