"Gears of War - The first true next generation experience"

Its been close to a year since the XBOX 360 was released, and a lot of solid titles have been released on the system. Games like Ghost Recon Advanced Warfighter, and Dead Rising were excellent examples of what next generation systems such as the 360 or PS3 were capable of. But as solid as these games were, they can't compare to Gears of War. GoW is simply the first true next generation experience. All the major parts of a video game have been brought together to form an experience we've all been waiting for.

Graphics - 10/10

One word can describe GoW's graphics...WOW. Seriously, everything from the intuitive lighting, to the realistic textures, GoW is a graphical powerhouse in all aspects. First the enviroments look extremly detailed, really detailing a war torn world. Second are the sharp and crisp textures. Even up close almost every texture looks incredible, from walls, to grass, to trees. The lighting effects are also magnificent. From daytime to sunset, to nightime, you'd be hard press to find a game that uses lighting this well. Character models as well are impressive, from your main character to the average grunt. And what's more impressive is the fact you'll see upwards of ten enemies on screen at one time, with little to no slowdown whatsoever. If your looking for a game that will show off your 360's or HDTV's capabilites, GoW is it. Its graphics alone are better than any game available on the 360, and are a sight to behold.

Sound - 10/10

Having a 5.1 dolby digital 800 watt surround sound system, I'm always very harsh in this catagory. Most XBOX 360 games have delivered very well in the sound department, and before GoW, Ghost Recon Advanced Warighter was the best with its sound. Well GoW, just like its graphics, exceeds in the sound department. From the well done orcahstrated music, to the howls and screams of the enemies, you'll immediatley feel like your apart of GoW. You'll hear bullets wizz past you, feel the searing of your chainsaw cutting through your enemy. When a Bezerker is chasing you, you'll hear it screaming and running behind you, gripping your controller and the A button in panic. Furthermore, the voice acting is excellent, not the greatest, but certainly better than a lot of games on the market today. With GoW, it matches its excellent graphics, with equally impressive sound.

Gameplay - 10/10

The most important part of any game, especially a game that looks and sounds as good as GoW. With all the flash, you want substance, and GoW delievers. If you've ever wanted to be apart of an action movie, GoW is your ticket. The main premise is battling enemies using anything as cover. Its a more strategic approach, and while you can run and gun sometimes, its more easier to use the enviroment to your advantage.

You'll use trees, cement blocks, cars, walls, almost anything as cover. By pressing (A) your character will take cover behind an object. If you see another object to hide behind, by move the control stick in its direction and pressing (A), if its close enough, your character will quickly move behind it. When behind cover you can press the (L) trigger to rise up and aim. While behind cover you can press the (R) trigger and your character will put his gone over or around the object he's is hiding behind and shoot blindly. Pressing the (B) button is your melee attack. All but one weapon is simply the weapon being swung. But one machine gun has a chainsaw bayonet attached. Holding down the (B) button, it will rev up the chainsaw, and when you come in close contact with an enemy will simply result in the enemy being sawed down the middle, showcasing a awe inpiring moment. Its simply gruesome, and will make your jaw drop the first time you pull it off.

Every gamplay aspect in GoW feels intuitive. The controls after a few minutes become second nature to you, and quickly you'll be able to move from cover to cover like a pro. A lot of games usually have problems when they want the player to have a large number of moves to do, but GoW does every move perfectly. After a few minutes not only will you feel like your in a action movie, you will be able to control you character like you see in a action movie, and that's something that is hard to accomplish.

Story - 9/10

Here's where I thought GoW fell a little bit. While the story is easy to follow, and pretty entertaining, don't expect a strong powerful narritive. Where it falls flat is the fact that it isn't fleshed out enough. A few more cinema's could've helped with this. But overall the story is executed very well, and isn't to complicated. GoW is an action game, so you get a story that usually comes with these types of games. The basic story is that the Earth has been overrun by a enemy called the locusts, and your a soldier trying to destroy them. Of course there's more to it than that, but don't expect much more. The story is just enough to get the job done, but with excellent graphics, sound, and gameplay, the story seems somewhat unfinished.

Overall -

Not only is the single player experience excellent but so is the mutliplayer. You have a pretty good amount of gametypes to play online. You can either play 4 vs 4 deathmatch or play the single player game co-op with somebody online. You can tell though that the devolopers concentrated more on the single player game though, which is fine. To many games on XBOX Live feel as though the single player was an afterthought, and while GoW's mutliplayer is very good, it isn't the reason to buy the game, the single player is. Its simply the best action game on the 360. Is it the best action game period? Maybe, maybe not. But what GoW accomplishes is very impressive, and really shows what next generation consoles are well capapble of. Now excuse me while I saw a locusts in half with my chainsaw bayonet....ah...it never gets old.

Final Score - 9.7/10


Reviewer's Score: 9/10 | Originally Posted: 11/13/06


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