Review by SuperShadow9999

Reviewed: 11/13/06

Gear up for war, Emergence Day has arrived!

I must confess I had very little faith in Gears Of War. Like many I had pre-ordered this game back when I bought my 360 (June of this year) upon hearing promises that this was THE game to have on the 360. As the months passed it seemed to me that Epic wouldn't deliver, cut some corners and release some crappy product hoping to make money (like a certain other game released 2 years back). Sure the concept of Ducking and Covering sounds good on paper, but what about in game? Will it be boring and repetitive? On November 7th, I went to Game Stop hoping to pick up Final Fantasy V Advance, when I saw the boxes for Gears Of War arriving. Since it was a short line I figured might as well put my pre-order to use. I think I made the right choice....

Graphics - 10/10
Despite not owning an HDTV, Gears Of War's graphics are amazing. Epic did a fantastic job, with the environment and character models. From the littlest crack on a pillar to the dismembered parts of a locust after a vicious Curb Stomp, Gears Of War really shows off the Xbox 360's power. Not to mention the game running smoothly through all the action. And this was just on a SDTV!

Sound - 9/10
Amazing musical score, I find my self humming along to the music occasionally. It really captured the location's feeling. The weapon sounds are top notch as well, and as expected the enemy;s grunts are done excellently (especially while being torn in half by a chainsaw). The Voice actors are pretty good too, but sometimes they feel a bit monotonous. I understand the voices are supposed to be deep for the "bad ass soldier factor", but it would've helped to mix it up (mainly in Marcus).

Gameplay 9/10
Cover - that's what is going to save your hide in Gears Of War. Epic added various moves to use while moving from cover to cover and all are going to prove useful as you tackle Single Player and Multiplayer. If running from cover to cover sounds boring to you, you're gravely mistaken. The game is intense as you try to stay alive, with enemies pouring at you. The Enemy A.I. is superb once more, with many Locusts flanking you, throwing grenades to drive you out, or jumping over broken walls in order to chainsaw you. The A.I. forces you to move from cover to cover, and really helps break up the repetition of gameplay. The game also features some limited Squad orders you can give, but most of the time they're useless. The Teammate A.I. is a worse than the Enemy A.I. most of the time , since many times they'll get killed and you'll have to revive them, or they'll block your path. But then there are the times they pull off miraculous moves, but the teammate A.I. really doesn't affect the experience since you'll be too busy trying to survive to care about them.
Multiplayer is fantastic, despite being a bit glitchy. The game is 4 on 4, with one team controlling the COGs (Humans) and the other playing as the Locusts. Each player has 1 life, but can be revived by teammates or after a certain period of hitting the 'A' button rapidly, unless he is dismembered by the enemy beforehand There are 3 game modes: Warzone, Assassination, and Execution. Warzone is your default Team Deathmatch. Assassination is similar to Counter-Strike's Protect the VIP scenario, with the exception that both teams have a VIP to protect and must kill the opposing team's leader while protecting their own. Execution is similar to Warzone, except the only way to kill an enemy is to either get a Head Shot, Curb Stomp the enemy when they are down, or to Chainsaw the Enemy. The maps are built for 4v4 so you'll always have a great time playing. Unfortunately the Multiplayer has it's fair share of glitches. Most of the time the Microphones don't work in Game, and joining a game can be troublesome due to constant connection problems.

Control 10/10
The controls are really simple and easy to learn. All the cover techniques are performed with the "A" button, and the Left and Right Triggers are Aim and Shoot, respectively. The Right bumper is one of the greatest features implemented in Gears Of War - The Active reload. Hitting it moves a slider with two small chunks in the middle of a bar, hitting the button gives you either a Fast Reload or if you get it perfectly in the smaller chunk you get a faster reload with a Damage boost for a short period. Missing the chunks will mean you have an extra long reload, and not attempting an Active Reload means you get a Default reload time.

Overall 9/10
In terms of Replay Value, Gears Of War will last you a while. With both single player and multiplayer offering fun and replayablity. It has some problems but those problems are minuscule compared to the rest of the game. This game is definitely one for all 360 owners to have in their library.

Rating:   4.5 - Outstanding

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