Review by Fossil
A different kind of 3rd person shooter
If you're looking for straight up action and tons of fun, Gears of War is your game. I'll be honest with you though, the only reason I didn't give Gears of War a higher score is its lack of extra content and how short the game actually is.
Gameplay - 9/10
Gears of War has a different kind of playing style than any other game I've played. Most shooters consist of first person views, you run around, kill and blow **** up and complete objectives, yada yada. But Gears of War takes place in 3rd person as you following behind your character. The unique thing about Gears of War that I've never seen in another game is it's realistic combative style. To make sense of what the **** I just said, simply put, your character is capable of hugging walls, firing around corners, taking cover next to objects and debris to keep from being killed and many other VERY beneficial tactical maneuvers I've never seen implemented in another shooter type game.
For the most part, you do the samething throughout Gears of War. Fight Locust, complete objectives and advance in the storyline. It is a very linear game and about the only choices you get to make is when you come to a fork in the road and have to decide which way you want to go.
The actual gameplay is very addicting for any shooter fan that isn't a critic like every other internet kid these days. There isn't a huge variety of weaponry to choose from, but they all hold their special place in the game. Mostly the Chainsaw gun thingy. Pure ownage. Who doesn't love a gun with a chainsaw built into it, capable of sawing your enemies in half with the touch of a button? Once you catch them, game over. Other weapons worthy of note are grenades which have a unique way of using them. Unlike traditional grenades, these bad boys are attached to a chain of sorts that you whirl around and toss at your enemy. I've been told that they have the ability to stick to an enemy if it hits them in mid-air, but I've personally never done that myself.
Other weapons in the game include a shotgun, pistols, sniper and a bowgun. Don't be fooled by the name, the bowgun is insanely powerful. Think of it as a grenade attached to a sticky arrow. >:)
The game isn't too hard to play. There are 3 different difficulties, however they are all fairly easy. I mean honestly, most difficulties in shooters only involve decreasing your health, increasing the ENEMIES health and making the enemies do more damage. Which means you have to hide more and increase your aim. But any Xbox 360 gamer will want to do it all so they can unlock the achievements. I think that is probably the only reason I completed them all.
Now if you're wondering how the co-op plays in Gears of War, let me say it kicks ass. I enjoy playing shooters more than anything when I am able to tear up with a buddy of mine fighting on the same team. The 2nd player takes on the role of Marcus' long time friend Dominic, another hardcore soldier. It certainly makes the harder difficulties a LOT easier to play. Especially when you have to deal with Berzerkers :x
Storyline - 7/10
Gears of War takes place in near future Earth. The planet has been overrun by a subterranean alien species known as Locust that are trying to destroy humanity all together. Mankind nearly destroyed itself with space going satellites capable of decimating the surface with massive laser beams. This nearly wiped out humanity. However you take the role of a juvenile named Marcus Fenix who gets busted out to help fight the war and try to save what is left of humanity. Marcus is a legend on the field and known by most if not all the soldiers.
Your goal is to penetrate the Locusts hive deep down in the Earth and eradicate them from the inside out. Locust travel by way of tunneling. Very FAST tunneling might I add. 'Holes' as they are called, can pop up anywhere and spawn dozens of Locust to give you hell. Some of the other Locust you will encounter are crazy as hell and can really make the game irritating. I'm sure you'll enjoy death many times over.
There are many cutscenes throughout the game that'll provide you more detail of what is going on and what your next objectives or goals may be. Overall though, Gears of War is too short and it leaves you hanging. It pissed me off, that's for sure.
Graphics - 10/10
Flawless. Need I say more? Gears of War is probably the most beautiful game I've ever seen. Everything is jaw dropping. The gameplay is so realistic. I only wish I had a massive HDTV with DLP so I could enjoy what the Xbox 360 has to offer. The only thing that'll slow this game down is a hot Xbox 360. So remember to keep your Xbox in an open area so it can breath and if you can, get a small fan or something that can direct airflow in it's direction or help blow the hot air away from the back of it. This will definitely keep your Xbox from freezing up and making gameplay unenjoyable.
Sound - 10/10
With a realistic game comes realistic sounds. Which creates such an ambient environment, you'll sometimes forget you're actually playing a game. The voice acting was very well done in my opinion. I enjoyed a good laugh numerous times from the dialog that was scripted throughout. And if you have ever played a horror game like Resident Evil, the music and sounds in some parts of the game will give you a very eerie and uncomfortable feeling, reminding you of those times you walked down a dark hall with a handgun, wondering what was going to jump at you next.
Replay Value - 3/10
This is where the game failed at. Gears of War only consists of 5 chapters, which I might add were pretty lengthy, but overall made for a very short game. Going through a 2nd or 3rd time will probably bore you if you're looking for something fresh or new since nothing changes except the difficulty and number of enemies you fight. You could take the other path you chose not to take at one of the many forks in the road.
Then again, I never did get the chance to play Gears of War online, so I couldn't tell you what it's like to go head to head with someone or play online campaign with other people. So this review is really just an offliners perspective.
Overall - 8/10
At least worth renting for some weekend fun. I got Gears of War for free when I bought my Xbox 360 off of someone on craigslist, so it isn't like I spent 50 bucks to get bored in a few days. It is definitely an experience like no other in terms of graphical achievement for a video game. Yeah yeah I know "graphics" aren't everything, but they definitely make for one hell of a fun game when it is well done. I can't wait for if and when Gears of War 2 comes out. :)
Rating: 4.0 - Great
Product Release: Gears of War (US, 11/07/06)
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