Review by thesampleman
"No snappy Tagline here! All I got to say is greatest FPS ever!"
Gears of War for the Xbox 360 is truly one of the first next gen type games. It is a First Person Shooter in the mold of the other greats in the genre. It is possibly the greatest game ever made to this point. It is a revolutionary step forward in a genre that is still seemingly stuck in the past. There are only so many words to describe this game. They are awesome, brilliant, genius, and gorgeous. They hype surrounding this game was well advised because we will all look back at this game with loving memories.
What other word can you use to describe the graphics other than beautiful. This is the best looking apocalyptic scenery ever devised. All the buildings interiors are well animated and beautiful to behold. From the crumbling walls to the iron grated floors, the game shines with majestic atmosphere. All the buildings feel intuitive and that all the objects in the environment belong there. There is nothing worse in a next gen game than hideous environments. The explosions from the grenades rock and what can I say about the Hammer of Dawn except that it is freakin' awesome. Add on top of that the ability to chainsaw your enemies and watch the blood fly and splatter around on your screen and you have what I call a cool game.
Next up in the graphical column is the characters themselves. Each charecter has a distinctive look. Just looking at the characters, you'll fell weighed down just by looking at their armor. They made the characters seem fluid and lifelike, and that takes skill. Not only that but the physics engine is top notch too. There was nothing like shooting a enemy in the face and watch them flip and flounder around. This brings me to the Locust Horde. Each of them are nicely detailed and you can almost see the saliva coming out of their mouth as they shoot at you. Not only are these characters nicely detailed but so are the larger enemies. Each square inch of their huge bodies are detailed and painstakingly crafted just for the player to mow them down. It makes you feel proud that you did it.
The next area of concern, in my review are the cinematic scenes. They are gritty, in a way the graphics convey that. The sequences are nicely detailed and also sport the fluid character movements and mannerisms. While you watch, you can even play guess Marcus' mood. I mean the graphics here are so good it's like you're watching a extremely violent CG movie. They are a nice way to break up the action but short enough so that the player does not become bored while watching a "movie". They also set the atmosphere beautifully for the next part that you are about to enter into.
The sound in this game is brilliant. The music conveys atmosphere very well. It seems to be dark in some areas, especially when things look bleak and up tempo when things are going good. The music also clues you in to what could be around the corner in the game. I went into several firefights prepared just on music alone. It is very seldom in shooters that you have music done so well (except Halo).
The sound effects are also done with tender love and care. The sounds of the guns firing at rapid speed, exhilarated me. However, my favorite sound effect is where the beast in Act 2 screams and chases you. That was the most terrifying sound I have ever heard in a video game and I was myself ducking for cover. The sounds of the enemies kinda chuckling, sort of creeped me out. Another of my favorite sounds was of the Kryll especially when they screeched and killed their own Locust brethren.
The voice acting is superb. They read their lines with confidence and sort of lend that quality of fighting a desperate struggle. The dialogue is not for the faint of heart. Those squeamish at the sound of cuss words should run away now. However, for me I do not care about stupid things like that. All I care is that that level of verbal acumen is actually beneficial to the overall mood of the game. The voice acting is also done well during firefights, and you'll hear the pain you dish out and receive.
The controls are also very well done. The Xbox 360 controller is perfectly suited for this type of game. The right trigger button always feels natural to me for a FPS on this system. The A button is the context sensitive button. This is where you can pull all the cool moves. From getting into cover or getting out of cover or even performing a SWAT turn the A button is the place to go. It works so well in fact, that more games should incorporate this system into their games. The directional pad is utilized for weapon inventory and even the Y button is used vigorously as you look for your next objective.
The controls handle well and are very responsive. You can be evading one minute with the A button, to putting yourself into cover and exiting cover, within the space of 3 seconds. You feel in total control, and you have to because of the nature of the game. Controlling every aspect of this game is easy and beginners can learn this control system in literally minutes.
The story is decent. I mean the story did not blow me away, it is the typical save the world from an evil invader bent on world domination. Your main opponents in this story are the Locust Horde, a group of subterranean creatures that grouped under every major city and launched a simultaneous attack on every major city on the planet. The decimated the human population and left few survivors. You are a member of the ragtag group of humans fighting to take back the planet.
You are Marcus Fenix, a soldier that defied orders to go and save his father. This gets him locked up, but eventually needing more men for the resistance, they resistance movement go back to the prison that Marcus is in and break him out. Oh by the way it is overrun with Locust. That is the start of the story. There are plot twists here and there and the CG sequences help flesh out a little bit of the story. However, the story is not in the forefront in this game and you really get lost in just massacring the Locust just for sport.
What let me down in the story department is that there is no character development. I mean it would have been nice to just get an idea what goes on in Marcus Fenix's head. We know that he wants revenge and he wants to crush the Locust, but what about the other characters. You only hear a little about their families and their lives. Why are each of them fighting and what are their motivations? Did one of their close family members die in the invasion? Did they become the way they are just because they are grumpy? These questions are not answered in the game and I would have liked to see them answered.
The game play in this game is sweet! My first reason to love this game is the sheer fun of the firefights. The bullets are whizzing around and you take cover behind anything. It is like you are in a fight for your life with the Locust. For me the firefights were so awesome because there was so much attention to them. The sheer amount of lead flying by you and hitting your cover and then waiting until they reload to attack them with a torrent of your own lead is a gratifying experience.
The next area that I would like to point out is the weapon inventory system that is employed within the game. Finding weapons on the ground and then having to equip them to one of the directional pad buttons is fun and adds strategy to the game. With all that said it also adds burdens especially on the harder difficulty settings. Finding ammo becomes a priority in this game and if you have a wrong weapon you're screwed.
The only part of the game that is tedious is the driving levels. This involves you stopping and pointing searchlights at the Kryll. You ,however, can not do both at the same time! You must stop to shine your searchlight!!!!!! I mean if you are in a desperate fight against an invader that is killed by light why can you not move while shooting at them?
The Objectives give the game a flow and a pace. It introduces harder enemies gradually and you'll never feel that you are way in over your head. There are few confusing objectives and most are easy to perform. The game is not that easy, however. The game ramps up the challenge as you go along and is satisfying all the way to the final boss fight.
High. There is so much to do in this game. From online multiplayer and cooperative play to coop play with a friend at your house, this game has it all. It features different difficulty settings that challenge even the most seasoned gamers. The single player is also vastly rewarding in this respect. Plus you gotta find all the tags hidden throughout the game if you are a completionist.
This is a must buy for all Xbox 360 owners. It is a violent masterpiece and a work of art. Most of all this game is in the vein of the legends of the FPS genre. It ranks higher than Doom, Goldeneye, Perfect Dark, Halo, and Deus Ex in my book.
Reviewer's Score: 10/10 | Originally Posted: 05/16/07
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