Gears of War
Review Xbox 360
"Gears of War" is the first game developed by Epic Games exclusively for Microsoft Game Studios and the Xbox 360. "Gears of War" thrusts you into a deep and harrowing story of humankind's epic battle for survival against the Locust Horde, a nightmarish race of creatures that surface from the bowels of the planet. In "Gears of War", you will live and breathe the role of Marcus Fenix. A disgraced former war hero, Marcus seeks personal redemption as he leads his fire team against an onslaught of merciless warrior fiends.
"Gears of War" utilizes the breathtaking new Unreal Engine 3 to create cinematic, high-definition visuals for a gaming experience that truly ushers in the next generation. You experience beautifully rendered interactive environments and characters so lifelike they appear to be made of flesh and bone. The visuals create a world in which the tiniest detail is vivid in the largest battle. "Gears of War" is the first game developed by Epic Games exclusively for Microsoft Game Studios and the Xbox 360. "Gears of War" thrusts you into a deep and harrowing story of humankind's epic battle for survival against the Locust Horde, a nightmarish race of creatures that surface from the bowels of the planet.
In this third-person tactical action/horror game, you will live and breathe the role of Marcus Fenix. A disgraced former war hero, Marcus seeks personal redemption as he leads his fire team against an onslaught of merciless warrior fiends.
The game opens with a simple training session then you are straight into the action. The cover mechanics play a large part in the game-play of Gears of War; if you don't take cover then you may as well be dead because the enemy will pop you off instantly. This forces you to think about how to advance through each area and as the mechanic (triggered by the A button) works so well the game-play is enhanced not hindered by hiding out. Plus the realism factor is increased.
There are 3 other members of your squad although; these guys aren't much use when it comes to fighting. Yes, they will pop off the occasional bad guy but the meat of the killing is down to you. If your squad members get killed you can revive them using the X button but it tends to work out better if you finish off the level when your squad is automatically revived.
Apart from going through the story mode alone you can play side by side with a friend. There are two ways of doing this, either split screen or over the internet using Xbox Live. This game really comes to life when you're back to back with a buddy - tactics start flying and the co-operative possibilities really up the fun factor.
Any shooter is only as good as its weapons and Gears of War has some excellent weaponry available. You can carry four weapons at one time although two slots need to be put aside for your pistol and your grenades. So with this in mind you need to pick the two most effective killing machines for your style. Available are the standard Sniper Rifle, Rocket Launcher, and Shotgun and so on. But the real gun of choice is the Lancer machine gun which you can slot a chainsaw onto! The chainsaw is as much fun as you imagine it might be, but up-close and personal combat isn't really the main fighting style in Gears of War. Although when you do get a bit too close to an enemy the satisfaction from mincing them up with your chainsaw is exquisite.
Graphically Gears of War is Outstanding. The characters, environments and action are all amazingly executed and the cinematic quality of many scenes is second to none. This really does set a new standard for 3rd gen console games and it's about time too. Beyond natty graphics this game has its own graphical style which really does help submerge you in the Gears world. Like any great game you feel like you are watching a film at times and even in the hottest moments of battle there's lots going on in the periphery.
Sound in Gears is just as good as the graphics! The cinematic qualities are present and the sound-effects are deep and boomy. While the vocal acting isn't oscar quality but is believable and ticks the story along nicely. The gun noises are quality and if you have 5.1 then things just sound even better.
Overall Gears of War has set a new bench mark for 3rd Gen shooters. Taking the best bits of previous titles and cramming as much drama and chaos into each scene this game will not fail to drag you into it's dark dystopian world. The straight through story mode is great but it's the co-operative game-play where most of the fun is to be had. If you and a friend play online over Xbox Live you can kick some serious butt together. Gears of War is what the Xbox 360 has been waiting for and thank god it's here.
9.5 out of 10