Gears of War is the game that people have been waiting for on the 360, partly because of it's gorgeous presentation, but also due to it's awesome looking gameplay. Despite this great presentation, however, there are some rusted gears in the machine that prevent it from becoming a true classic on the 360. In the eve of the launches of both the Wii and the Playstation 3, Microsoft is hoping that Gears of War, along with the releases of games like F.E.A.R and Viva Pinata, will be able to hold off the unslaught of games coming out. Well, Gears of War will be a fighter, but he will be like the game's controls, ducking from cover and praying it won't get shot.
I am happy to say that this is quite possibly the most flawless game in terms of it's graphics. I have never seen so much detail and fluidity in a game before, and it is great eye candy for sure. smooth textures, a strong framerate that doesn't freeze up when there are firefights, and there are a LOT of firefights. Also enviroments looks awesome, if not a little bleak. We have destroyed cities, an overrun factory, a college campus, even underground tunnels to explore. Decent variety there. Finally, character models remind a lot of predator, big guys, big guns, big baddies, lots of ways to kill things...all in good fun.
Final Score- A
Gears of War has great, if not simplistic gameplay. You go around in all of these enviorments, and fight the Locusts, creatures who pop out of the ground like dasies to kill you. You have weapons at your disposal, from the chainsaw included rifle, (which by the way, is a neat way to kill things, if you can), to a sniper rifle, shotgun, pistols, magnums, and the popular Hammer of Dawn, a weapon that uses a satellite, yes, a sattelite, to kill you. We also have the redefined duck and cover controls, press a button and you go behind rubble, a car, literally anything you can find.
The problem is that, while the controls are tight and solid, they rely to much on few buttons. The A button is used for practically everything, while the X and Y buttons have minor secondary roles. This will lead to fustrations, especially if you have to run away from a hot area. To run, hold down A, but if you go near cover, you attach yourselves to that it, basically pinning you down.
Firefights are fun, if repetitive. The enemies will flank you, surround you, force you out and take cover as well, especially in the harder difficulties. If you want to survive Hardcore and possibly insaine mode, better get ready for a real struggle, as these modes are almost on par with Legendary Difficulty in Halo, The Water Temple in Zelda, or any Boss in Metal Slug. Some of the sequences are also downright ingenious, from being surrounded in a water fountain, to walking on decaying balsa-wood floors which lead to a pit of mutant locusts. This breaks up the action in a good way, as it adds a sense of realism into the game.
Unfortanatly, the problem with the game is it's redundancy. It's fun to blast the hell out of creatures and using cover, and most of the breaks in the action are good, but overall, it gets a vibe of repetition going on. Some of the breaks are also worthless, like the driving parts and the rail shooter in the mine shaft sequence, as it feels like its been tacked on to add some more "awesome" moments. It takes it away from anything else. One other problem is the use of the squads, which is not really needed in the whole game at all. Even on hardcore, you can get by without telling your squad what to do. It was like a nice idea put in as an afterthought.
Another major problem is the lack of any storyline. We got a main character, Marcus Phenix, who was deemed a traitor for an act of compassion, and the issue is looked at but considered a non-issue by the end of the game. We also don't know much as to whats happening in the whole Gears of War universe, but to be fair, this also happened when Halo first came out, then the Mythology around it was created.
And the last problem is the multiplayer, which, while fun as hell, has only a few modes of play in it. Co-op is done well, and actually reccomended for hardcore and insane, and the multi-player options are few, but frantic and pretty sweet. Overall, not to bad.
In the end, This is at worst, a mixed bag of tricks. Gameplay is great but repetitive, and the controls are solid, with some minor issues. Coupled with impossible A.I not for the feint of heart and little storyline.
Final Score- B
The sound effects and the weapon effects are awesome. The Locust screaming is also top notch and I enjoyed it, but the voice acting. All of the characters seemed one dimensional except Phenix, and the voice acting was real annoying. The characters of Briard and Coles pissed me off a lot, mainly because they seemed like charactactures in a movie. Other characters were just annoying, like the minor ones that aid our heroes squad. Overall, voice overs could of been done better.
Final Score- B-
Gears of War is a great game, that much is clear. I think, however, some fine tuning to get the minor kinks in the machine would of made it phenomenal. The problems with the game are few, but it hinders the game in the long run. 12 hours of playing single player, I beat the game on casual and got half way through in hardcore. It was rough at points, but I think when Gears of War 2 comes out, the improvements they make to the game will turn it into what everyone was praying it would be, a classic game. While not enough to topple the Halo crown of Shooter games, Gears of War so far has come as close as you can get, at least until Resistance and Red Steel hit the shelves.
Final Score- B-
Overall Score- B