Gears of War is a game that can invoke many emotions. Let's say, for example, that you complete the game on it's easy (casual) or medium (hardcore) difficulty settings. Let's say that you choose to play on insane difficulty. In the process of completing the first two difficulty modes, you will have been happy, proud, annoyed, frustrated and occasionally a bit spooked. Then you play insane and the good emotions are thrown out the window.
Gears of War was one of Microsoft's final punches to throw before the launch of it's main competitor, the PS3. Luckily Gears of War hits harder than Rocky Balboa. First Person Shooters tend to be in the not-very-original category, having hardly changed at all in the past ten years. I'm happy to say then, that Gears of War has given the FPS genre a massive kick in the ass.
I'm not too sure if there is much to be said about the graphics. I doubt that there is anyone reading this who has not already heard everything that can be possibly said about them. That's why I'll focus on little touches like water streams. Yes, Water Streams. In almost every game that has had streams of water coming from pipes or just falling of the roof of a building, the water has had no interaction with the player. It would look comical as the streams poured through their head. In Gears however, the water will splash of you character and run off them. A small thing, sure, but little touches like this just make the game more believable. Another one of my favorite moments is in the driving scene (more on that later) when you are crashing through boxes and their contents spill out. ITS TRUE! NON-EMPTY BOXES IN A VIDEOGAME!
I'm lucky enough to have never heard the sounds of war up close, but I believe that Gears is as close an attempt at recreating them, as any Hollywood blockbuster war movie. Haunting music and ambient sounds help boost the games scariness. The sounds of weapons fire will become your best friend. It lets you know that your still alive. Voice acting is passable, and actually suits the game. All in all, the sound is damn near impeccable. I found that playing with the music off created a more war-like atmosphere. If you don't have surround sound..... get it.
Take cover! Yes, that's right. Cover has never before been so important as it is in this game. Believe me when I say that you will not, ever, survive by standing in the open. This cannot be stressed enough. By the time you have completed Casual, you will be a master of ducking and diving for cover at anything you can fit behind. You will have mastered the art of firing from cover, exposing no part of your body but the gun. You will be an expert at popping your head over broken pillars, getting that crucial headshot, and popping back down for a cup of tea. You may have even become a god at the 'crouch run' and be able to sprint from cover to cover. You will know how to time that S.W.A.T roll so your brain stays in your head, and not on the decaying walls of one of Sera's ruined locations. And sure as hell will know how to lead one of the games most terrifying beasts, the berserker to a strangely close-by outside area and fry her with a super weapon from space. You can hold four weapons at a time. A pistol, grenades and two larger weapons. All the guns are very well balanced, and each do their own job. The AI too, is superb. You get the feeling that the characters really know what to do in a firefight. Later in the game, you are given slightly restricted control over your squad.
YOU GOT YOUR BLOOD ON ME!
One of the coolest features of GoW is the unrelenting amount of blood which is pumped all over the place. The red stuff is constantly splattered over your screen in the same manner as....... let's face it, this is just an excuse to talk about the chainsaw. HOW COOL IS IT? You may ask. VERY ******* COOL! I may answer. Never before has so much satisfaction been given by tearing chunks out of AlienMonster ba*tards. You rev the chainsaw and run toward the prick, ramming the blade into his neck and dragging it down his spine, slicing him into pieces. Very Good. Very Fun. Very bloody. Bloody Good Fun!
THERE'S A PLOT?
Yes, there is a plot. And a very good one too. The planet Sera was much like Earth. Big Cities etc. War raged on the planet almost constantly (sound familiar?) until the governments of the planet decided to focus on the energy problem instead. Crime was still rampant, skirmishes were frequent and petroleum + nuclear supplies were almost dried out. With the discovery of a strange substance called Imulsion, and the invention of the lightmass process by Dr. Helen Cooper, Imulsion became a cheap and nearly unlimited supply of fuel. As is humanity's way, war broke out over Imulsion supplies. Imulsionless countries disguised their attacks on the countries who had imulsion behind unrelated politics. Seventy Nine years of war followed. The locust, your enemy in the game, had been hiding under the planet crust for a chance to attack and claim the overground. They gathered under every major city and attacked, wiping out a quarter of the population in a day. Emergence Day. It was too late for the humans. By the time they figured out what was happening and stopped fighting each other, the remaining governments of the planet, and a few survivors, had taken refuge in the Jacinto Plateau. Made of Solid Granite, it was safe from underground attack. A huge bombardment of the rest of the planet began. The locust (and some humans) survived. I'll stop here, you can find out anything else you need to know when you buy the game.
Being one of the best games on the 360, and one of the best games ever made, GoW certainly deserves to be bought. There is just so much more about the game, than I could fit in this review. And remember, all this is without even mentioning the multiplayer aspect of the game! (which is great.)
This leaves me with two loose ends to tie up. I lied. Insane difficulty is awesome!
And, I was gonna mention the Driving section.... But I guess your all gonna get the game anyway, so FIND OUT YOURSELF!
GEARS OF WAR LINKS: