Review by hyper_shadow_51

Reviewed: 11/16/06

Beautiful Graphics Cover No Story Whatsoever

Life forms, called the Locusts, have arisen from the ground and want to wipe out mankind. So far they have don a nice job. You play as Marcus Fenix and are out to save the world. Good luck.

Graphics: 10
I am not going to lie. The graphics are great. Beautiful even. However, consider that the game had N64 graphics. Would it still be a "great" game? Of course not! Many people will play through the entire game and still have no clue what is going on, just because of the beautiful details. It isn't anything to complain about, but when a game's graphical power draws the attention away from the game play, it can prove very argumentative. However, the details are smoothly designed and creatively pieced together.

Sound: 7
The sound and noise proved to be fairly realistic. The sound of a chainsaw behind you in multi-player when you think that "nobody can see you" will make your hair stand on end, and was a fantastic effect. The enemies' shrieks and grunts add a dark atmosphere to the game and give it some well-done originality. I highly recommend an organized surround-sound set for Gears of War, as it adds a whole new depth to the game play, as compared to playing it on a standard television set. However, on the musical end, the music just didn't cut it. I wanted something that was going to pump me up and actually want to fight a war and slay some locusts. This music made me feel like I was sitting in my living room and watching the television set with a controller in my hand. However, if you have some good custom soundtracks, than scratch that last remark.

Storyline: 3
Save the world. The odds are against an unlikely hero. I could have sworn I've heard that plot before. No wait. Maybe I'm mistaken. It must have been my imagination.

I could tell you everything that happened in Gears of War in less than a minute. The story is fairly simple and required little or no imagination. I could tell my daughter a better bed-time story off the top of my head. As unoriginal as GoW was, they did a fair job of implementing taken ideas and forming a somewhat reasonable plot for us to enjoy. The problem is, if you haven't read the instruction booklet or surfed the Internet before Act 4, you will probably have no idea who you are fighting or why. All you know is that the world is messed up, getting worse, and you have to kill to survive. You have the far-fetched idea of saving-the world, but I mean, c' mon. Everyone has done it already. So Marcus Fenix shouldn't have a problem.

Certain aspects of the game make up for its repulsive lack of storyline. Your teammates have a sense of humor that will occasionally make you laugh. The characters are well played, and Marcus Fenix plays a fairly good main role.

Game play: 7

Game play in GoW is well organized and put together. The game focuses on taking cover, rather than the usual suicidal shooters. However, the controls take getting used to, and you'll usually find yourself rolling or leaping over a wall when actually intend to hide behind it. In time, though, the controls get easier and you begin to get a comfortable feel for the game.

With the exception of a few weapons, many FPS guns make their return. The Hammer of Dawn is a nice weapon to use, however it is limited to few parts in the game. The sniper is difficult to use, and will take a lot of getting used to from returning Halo snipers. The chainsaw is probably the most interesting- and fun- weapon to use in the game, in my opinion, so chances are, you will find yourself using the same weapons over and over again without ever wanting to switch out.

Multi-player: 7

Chainsaw. Nothing hurts more than sneaking around behind a corner, hoping to get an easy kill, and than someone approaches you from behind and saw your brains to bits. The pain is unbearable. However, nothing feels better than making that kill with the chainsaw.

Multi-player is very fun. You form a team with the Fenix' group or the Locusts. Than you kill. Playing alongside your teammates feels really realistic, and communication is often a key factor for victories. Expect to us every weapon you can get your hands on, and here the Hammer of Damn has a lot more potential than in the single-player campaign. One of the best things that they put into this game was the reviving feature. If a player is still in one piece when they are brought down, a teammate can revive them. However, if no teammates are nearby, another player can be cruel and use whatever technique they think is necessary to finish you off. The stages are extremely well-pieced together and make for countless hours of entertainment. Co-op is nice, but I truly recommend XBOX live over split-screen, as it is often difficult to decipher enemy locations, etc while on a smaller TV.

Now for the drawbacks. What could bring down the nearly flawless multi-player setup? Most people who play GoW will be familiar with Halo, and will miss the great matchmaking setup and party formations. The only way to play with someone you know is to find a game that they are hosting, and if you're playing ranked matches, you won't even remain in the same party when the match is over. In GoW, you choose who you want to battle in matchmaking, and it lacks the descent level up system that many are familiar with.

Replay Value:

Single-player: Moderately low
Unless you plan on going back through the game on harder difficulties once you beat it, its just not us fun as the first time you play it. In-fact, you'll begin to ponder why your even going through, and whether or not the achievements are really worth it.

Multi-player: High

Games on XBOX live can range from a few minute to hours, depending on the number of round you decide to play. Even though the matchmaking system is flawed, expect yourself to be going back for plenty more. Multi-player takes up the majority of the game's entertainment, so if you don't have XBOX live- get it. If you buy GoW and haven't signed up.... you'll wish you did.

Closing Notes:

Gears of War is NOT a bad game, but it is not great either. If you believe that graphics and descent game play make a game, than by all means buy the game. However, if you prefer a fantastic, original story, than you're out of luck. Expect to be spending all of your time on XBOX live. Sorry shooters, but the the horrible story and unorganized matchmaking system will point many GOTY fingers away from GoW.

Rating:   3.0 - Fair

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