Review by csinth
"Is it up to scratch?"
We already know that the presentation of Gears of War is spectacular. The sounds and graphics are awesome, probably some of the best to date. But what really makes a game good is how to plays. How it feels. Not just how it looks, but the experience beyond that. Though I'm guessing you knew that.
Gears of War... the first time I picked up my controller, started the campaign, and popped the first shot... I knew this game had something going for it. This was not your ordinary shooter. The first thing I noticed was how much it took after Ghost Recon: Advanced Warfighter. It was in a third person perspective, it was more strategic than your typical shooter, and there was a neat cover system. It actually improved on this by making the controls pretty simple, and adding a few twists like sprinting and active reload. I like a game that is pretty easy to pick up and just play. The only problem I find is that you are like a magnet to cover. Going into sprint mode means that you will probably end up hitting some cover at some point slowing you down. It can be much worse, like when you are rolling away from enemies and you end up getting stuck, and then you die. The A button simply does too much in this game. Why not give X and Y an assignment?
After getting adjusted to the controls, you realize how much different this is from Halo. You cannot run and gun and hope to kill your enemies. You need to, as the makers put it, stop and pop. You take cover, shoot, duck back in, rinse, and repeat. It makes the game much slower paced than Halo.
After assimilating into this neat new style of killing, you are ready to start the campaign. I must say, even though the story pretty much fit the stereotype of a shooter, the campaign was awesome. Even though the core stop and pop idea is the same, you utilize it differently throughout the campaign and it is fun and challenging. Some levels require flanking, or blowing up propane tanks for cover from darkness, or other things that keep the game fresh throughout.
Note that there are three difficulty types, casual, hardcore, and insane. If you were to put them on a scale of difficulty 1 - 10, casual, I'd say, would be a 3, hardcore 8, and insane 15. On Co-op it becomes much easier, but it is still VERY tough on insane and hardcore none the less. So be prepared for much frustration after you beat casual and hardcore.
Weapon wise, this game is pretty average. There are a few standouts, like the torque bow and hammer of dawn, but the rest of the guns are staples. Your most used and favorite gun will most likely be the lancer, and for good reason. It has a nice range, decently powered, and has a chainsaw bayonet. Pretty self explanatory why this gun is awesome. Now in campaign mode, this gun rocks. Slicing up locust, which are the main enemy in the game, will not get old for a while. The spraying of blood and flying body parts.. well you should see for yourself. But in multiplayer...
Well let me introduce you to multiplayer. This is the part of GoW that makes me most frustrated and angry. It is simply not as fun as campaign. There are many things broken in it, and it gets old after a few days. This is not, and I repeat not, anything like Halo's awesome multiplayer. It is just a dud. A defect.
First of all, the only gametype is deathmatch. No CTF, free for all, king of the hill, nothing that would make it interesting besides killing people. Second of all, there are so many broken things in multiplayer. I hate chainsaws because of multiplayer. If you ever try to chainsaw a locust, and you are COG, while they are trying to chainsaw you, for some reason, you cannot kill them. You always die first. Chainsawing is random.. I have seen some of the funniest and wierdest things arise from it. But this game isn't supposed to be FUNNY, just FUN. And because so many people just chainsaw, and because it is so easy, multiplayer because a chainsaw brawl, and therefor not fun. Another problem I have is strategy. It doesn't really exist. It usually comprises of camping, or going rogue. That's about it, because the levels are so cluttered that coordinating attacks are just too hard. And the levels themselves aren't that fun, most of them are just random placement of stone blocks in a certain shape.
If you just considering single-player, this game shines. With features like co-op and getting COG tags, it is just a fun experience. But what makes me give it a 6/10 is the multiplayer. I enjoyed Halo's multiplayer, and still do, because it is varied and fun and not extremely broken (human sniper anyone?). But because the campaign does inevitably get boring after a while, like Halo, multiplayer MUST deliver in order for there to be replay value. Sadly, it did not, so this game is really a 3 time play, one for each campaign. This is just not the Halo killer it was created and hyped to be. It just is not.
Note that the multiplayer can be fixed.. hopefully they do release a patch that fixes, or adds, new weapons and gametypes. Sadly all that I've heard is they are going to release new maps. Maybe next time..
Reviewer's Score: 6/10 | Originally Posted: 11/27/06
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