Review by 7xSoTox7

"They should stop making games, nothing will top this..."

I was running to find cover as my teammate was executed with a shotgun blast, I
quickly went to a bunker to pick up some grenades. I went to hide on
a corner. I could see my enemy, but he could not see me. I leaned over to throw the grenades. I had my aim, I was going to shoot and...POF! My head exploded in millions of pieces. Man I hate those headshots...


Single Player

Instead of a Story or Gameplay section. I will cover everything about the
Single Player Campaign and its Gameplay in this section. Since Halo 2, most big online titles tend to be very weak in its Campaign or story mode. Gear Of War delivers an excellent written story, with its twists, its laughs,and its gruesome chainsaw carnage. It is your typical Alien-Killer game, in which you have to save the world from an invasion of extraterrestrials. However, in contrast with games were the story is just after the attack, Gears Of War drops us 14 years later, in the shoes of Marcus Fenix, your typical big-attitude hero. You'll meet Dominic Santiago, or Dom, your right hand; Carmine, the "new guy"; Kim, the serious one; picky Baird; and, my personal favorite, Cole, a.k.a. "The Cole Train". The Campaign divides in five Acts, some long (Act 2), some short (Act 5). Avoiding spoilers, I won't give you major details, but I can tell you its a story mode you are sure to love.

The weapons you'll pick up in Gears Of War are not big in numbers, but they are huge in creativity. Its signature weapon: The Lancer, is a sub-machine gun that features a chainsaw bayonet on its bottom. With it you can shred your opponents to pieces and feel the blood all over you. Apart there is the common shotgun (a weapon you'll use a lot in Xbox Live), the Sniper, and grenades. Smoke grenades are available in Multiplayer-only. You also have the Boom-Shot, your typical bazooka-rocket launcher. There are two weapons, however, that show off the real potential of the Right-Trigger: One of them is called the Hammer of Dawn, which is an Ion Cannon ripoff. However, it's fun to use. On the Campaign, you'll use it to destroy the Seeders, one of the many enemies you'll face on Gears Of War. The Torquebow it's pretty much an explosive arrow launcher. It fire off arrow that attach to its target, no mater what it is. It's really hard to use, but once you get it, exploding enemies will never feel better.

The Locust. They are your primary target in the game. They come in many, many shapes, but they all have the same color. You have your typical soldier with a sub-machine gun, the grenadier that carries the shotgun, the silent Snipers and the big and heavy Boomers; masters of the Boom-Shot. The game also features the small but annoying enemies we all hate: the Wretches, they are fast and agile, and shout like a pregnant coyote. They also come in Lambent form, which makes them explode after dying. The Kryll are bat-like creatures that you will be facing on the second Act. They are immune to shots, can kill you in 3 seconds (if you're romaing in the dark), but afraid of the light. Last but definitely not least, it's General RAAM. The main antagonist. His face expresses what fear is, and he has totally no mercy for the human race...

Gears Of War's most anticipated gameplay feature was the one-button-cover system, and it works well. When you are new to the game, it'll fell weird, you will stick to walls while "roadie-running", but in a few days you'll get used to it so much you'll take cover in games you aren't supposed to (I.E.: Half-Life 2). There are three difficulty levels: Casual (Easy), Hardcore (Medium), and Insane (Hard); which you unlock when you beat the game in any other difficulty. If you really want to enjoy the game, I suggest you play it on Hardcore, it's fun and challenging.

Graphics

Gears Of War strongest point is so strong, you won't even notice the graphics! When I first played the game I kept asking to myself: "Am I playing a game, or watching a movie?". You won't have time to appreciate the beautifulness of Gears Of War, during its hectic battles, but at he cut-scenes, you are going to realize how powerful the 360 can be, the characters, (especially your enemies) are ultra-detailed, there's not a missing spot in which you could add more detail. Rain effects and lighting will blow your mind every time you are outdoors in the night. Big features such as buildings, blocks, boxes, or any other hiding spot are not left alone, they look near to perfect. However, as good thing comes, bad things follow, the textures, such as the soldier's uniforms, outlines on building, and major points of interests take a while to load after a cut-scene or when you enter a new area. This is partially understandable, with so much polygons around everything, it'll take while to load. Apart from that the Graphics are the best any game can offer, even more than 4 moths after Gears' release.

Xbox Live/Co-Op/Multi Player

No one likes a game in which when you finish its Single Player, you don't have anything left, neither people like a boring online or split-screen mode. Gears Of War delivers a outstanding Multi Player Mode that is even comparable to Bungie's behemoth, Halo 2. Although there is only 4 Game Modes, they are a blast to play at any time. The Multi Player is very team-based; allowing 6 or 8 players on each game, in 2 teams. When the objective of each Game Mode is done, the winning team wins a round. The maximum number of round can vary from 1 to 19. I will review each of them in the next paragraphs.

Warzone is your typical Team Deathmatch, in which the first team to eliminate all of the other team's members wins a round.The differences in Gears Of War, is that if a player takes too much damage, it downs (except when the player is hit in critical position, like a close-up shotgun blast, or a sniper headshot), when downed, the player has a bleed out time, the bleed out time is set by the host. When the bleed out time ends, the player dies; however, the player can tap the A button quickly to slow the bleed out time.
This is a great mode to start your Xbox Live experience, as well as to get most of the Multi Player achievements.

Execution is the exact same thing as Warzone, but with one major difference that change the course of the game: instead of dying after the bleed out time, you revive instantly. Sure, the enemy may be near to exterminate you after you revive, but what if he forgets? You can come and shred his body to pieces with a shotgun blow. Execution is my favorite mode because it can always change, but it always depend on the intelligence of the players.

The least played is Assassination, probably because it takes the most team work and communication. Look at it like a Warzone, with a leader in each team. If any of the leaders die, that team loses, even if all of the other teammates are still alive. It takes a lot of tactics, communication, and a crapload of team work. Although its games are limited, it's really fun to play

The newest one, which came on the Easter update, it's Annex. In this type, you have to hold the weapon positions to gain points, when you gain a specific amount of points (set by the host), your team wins a round. Round can take up to 20 minutes, so may of the Annex matches are 2-5 rounds. Annex is a really fun territory mode, but has a serious letdown: None of the kills you make will count towards achievements. This is under stable: Annex is the only Game Mode that supports respawns, so everyone would just go to the enemies' respawn points and kill, kill, and kill. My Final Verdict: Annex is a really, really fun Mode that shouldn't be underplayed because of the lack of achievements support.

Gears Of War also supports Splitscreen and System Link for if you still live in the Stone Age. Both of them work really well.
In a few words: Gears Of War deliver a Triple-A Multi Player experience that will last for years and years.

Gears Of War also comes packed with a Cooperative mode, both offline and online. The support in it is perfect: a player can exit or quit the game without any major problems like having to restart the whole session. I think it is a very innovative feature, and with time many other games will use it.

Music

In the NES era, music was not really important in a game, it was just...beeps. In modern day, music has a special power on you. Music in video games can completely change the mood in which you play: A boring, uninteresting mood will make you feel more frustrated when you repeatedly die. A good, fast-paced tone will make you pick up the pace and play quicker.

The orchestra-themed soundtrack of Gears Of War delivers a quick-paced, interesting tone that you will mutter in your normal days. Sure, it may not have a lot of tracks available, and you will hear them repeat a lot of times; but the music is just top quality. Whenever you are fighting a boss, the music is fast-paced and makes your blood run through your veins really as well. I remember whenever I fought the first boss battle, it was supposed to be scary and full of suspense, and the music helped make it more intriguing.

Sound/Voice

Since Gears Of War is on the Xbox 360, I expected high quality sound, and I did not got ripped-off. Gun shots, especially the Sniper one's, are perfect, just plain perfect. You will want to waste your shotgun bullets just to hear them "growl", and, of course, nothing is better than hearing your enemies being chainsawed in half.

Voice acting ,my favorite part of the Sound part. Whether is hearing Cole's "The train is a smooth ride", it sure is pleasant. The voice acting may not use appropriate language, or the best English in the world, but hey, they are soldiers!

Bottom Line

Overall, Gears Of War is a third-person shooter that almost every Action fan will love. It has been developed to last for years of infinite fun. With a solid story, perfect Multi Player, great music, and the best voice acting I've ever heard; Gears Of War is a must-buy game.


Reviewer's Score: 9/10 | Originally Posted: 05/21/07, Updated 05/29/07


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