Review by Crotalus02

Reviewed: 11/13/06

Unconventional shooter, not your standard FPS.

Overall, the game is very divergent from standard FPS. Because it features a cover system, playing Gears of War is dynamically different from something like Halo. It takes less to kill someone, but it's harder to hit someone in cover. Gears of War requires tactical competence and good squad management (if playing online). Be warned, this IS NOT a standard FPS, you will make heavy use of tactics and planning. Do not except something akin to Halo or Call of Duty.

The game is very tactical. This is because of several reasons. Firstly, you don't normally have an aiming reticle. This prevents you from running and gunning effectively. The only way to get accurate shots is to aim; much like in the Call of Duty series. Secondly, it doesn't take much to kill you. All it takes is a few shots from a machine gun to bring you down. This means you will need to find cover as much as you can. These two factors lead to a game very divergent from a standard FPS. Gears of War possesses a very tactical feel, you will need to consider multiple options because simply "moving in" will result in a quick death.

Cover System:
The game focuses heavily on the cover system. Because of your relatively slow move speed, you must take cover to avoid being killed. Of course you can sprint, but this is primarily to get you into new cover. From cover, you can either hide, peek, aim shoot, blind shoot, or pull off stunts into new cover. Obviously, this presents many situations that require tactical competence. The more you play Gears of War, the more you will find yourself planning out assaults and defences such as flanking, diversions, troop placement, and squad commanding.

Reload System:
Instead of a normal reload system, the game has something called Active Reload. When you reload, you will see a small bar with a slider. You can either wait for the slider to travel through the bar to reload. You can also speed up the reload process by hitting the button again to stop the bar at a specific zone. If you score a perfect, you not only reload faster, but you get a damage bonus. If you miss it, your gun jams up and it takes a couple of seconds longer than normal to reload.

Visuals are great. Enough said. Sound is perfect, so whatever. The story is your standard "aliens attack humans," but it's attention grabbing not because of the plot but because of the cinematics. The cutscenes are very good, with multiple camera angles and sounds. This gives the game a very edgy feel; it absorbs you and makes you care about the characters.

Maximum online is 8 people, whether it's 4 on 4 or free for all. When you kill someone, they will fall to the ground. From there you can finish him off. If you aren't fast enough, his teammate will come and revive him. You can also run up to his vulnerable figure and smash his head into the ground, lay him open with a chainsaw, or point blank execute him. Finishing someone off is a very fun part of online mode. It's a very bloody and loud affair, letting everyone know you just kicked someone's ass. Also, there is no health. Basically, just don't get hit too much. If you do, duck back into cover and regenerate.

Rating:   4.0 - Great

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