Review by part11

"Gears of War? More like Gears of GORE!"

"Am I looking at real life or actual game play?" I asked myself, as I played my first multi player match on this next-gen Xbox 360 game. That is how flawless the graphics are. The game play, however, is not up to par with this visual master piece.

Story
The story is very deep. I won't ruin any of it for you here, but I can tell you that right from the beginning the story is action packed. That is all I will say so as not to ruin the story for people who have yet to play it.

Graphics
Wow. That's all I can say. The game starts in a war torn training ground and you can immediately see that the developers put a lot of time and effort into this masterpiece. Every surface uses multiple types of mapping: Bump mapping, Normal mapping, Specular mapping, etc. The lighting on these surfaces is unbelievable. The amount of detail on armor, weapons, environment, etc. is also unbelievable. The game uses full HDR lighting and AA to reduce the amount of jagged edges. The ONLY bad thing about the graphics is the draw distance, which isn't even that bad at all. You will sometimes see grass appear in front of you, but like I said, it's not that big of a deal considering the grass and every thing else out side is the best I have ever seen in any video game. Ever. Oh yeah, forgot to mention, since every single bit of spoken words are actually voiced over, the game has perfect lip synching. You actually turn your sound down and be able to read the characters lips. You can also customize your characters face so much that you could literally make yourself. Best Graphics in any game, period.

Game-play

There is literally an end to the amount of re-playability this game has. It isn't the most open ended game ever to hit the market. It is very fluid and playing in hd with digital surround sound definitely makes you feel like you are there with the way the animations are. You can't really do whatever you want in the game. You can either chain-saw enemies to death, or shoot them to death, and the occasional lazy "curb stomp". Like I said before, the game has a deep story, and have to follow it strictly. The game is not very open ended, and if you feel like becoming the strongest warrior in the world before even doing the first quest of the main story, buy another game.

Sound

Once again, not very amazing. A digital surround sound setup combined with the 360's extremely powerful audio output capabilities could have made this game truly immersive. When you are walking in the many forests throughout the game, you can hear the leaves rustling and many types of birds chirping. But, not all of the sounds are peaceful. You also hear the sounds of war come to life. The sound effects in combat are very nice, but do not make you believe you were there fighting yourself. One of my favorite sounds is the sound of a chain-saw hitting a tree. It makes a perfect chain-saw sound. Also, something very disappointing, is the fact that there is few spoken words from the NPCs. Everything is fully voiced over, and as I mentioned earlier, perfectly lip synched. These aren't cheap actors either. You hear the famous voice of no one, because the cast is not very well known, but it gets the job done.

Controls

Overly complicated, in my opinion. The menu system stands out a great deal because of how roughly it controls. You use the shoulder buttons to view where your team mates are located. In combat, it is not so easy to get the hang of. You shoot with your main weapon by pulling the right trigger, and you use a more accurate veiw by pressing the left trigger. Very easy. You can also take cover with the A button. You press one of the 8 dpad directions and nothing happens. Not very cool.

Physics

Yes, this might look new to you. Who would make "physics" a sub section in a review? Well, with Gears of War, its entirely acceptable. Microsoft Game Studios and Epic Games enlisted the help of Havok to make their game somewhat believable. By looking at an object, be it a chain-saw, a dead body, a random item, etc., and holding the left bumber, you can turn the screen to a black and white style, and see where your comrades are located. With the bodies, the limbs move almost as you would expect them to in real life. You can push cars down hills to avoid enemies and you can rev chain-saws around, but everything else is somewhat limited. All the trees and grass and stuff aren't affected the by the physics and do not sway in real time based on the weather. This is not the best implementation of Havok physics in any game yet.

Re-playability

One word: Limited. The story is extremely linear, and leaves very little room for more playthroughs. There are some action packed battles, but they are few and far between. The story is very unclear, and it seems to just throw you into it without warning. What somewhat makes p for the pathetic story-line, is the online multiplayer. There are several multiplayer maps, although they are symmetrical and lack luster. They have great detail, but the game-play is very repetetive: cover, shoot, cover shoot, and get's very tedios and boring.

Characters
There are very arrogant characters in this heartless journey of a story. The main character, Marcus Pheonix, and his best friend, Dom, work together, along with two other low lifes, Cole Train and his annoying sidekick. The NPCs get very annoying with their constant deaths and need for assistance, and do not do a very good job at taking down foes. They stereotype races somewhat, but it's not that bad. The story is so short, however, that the characters have little to no character development whatsoever. You do not grow fond of the characters, and feel no emotions for them, because their backgrounds, and futures, cease to be explained.

Weapons
While the weapons look pretty, there are very few to pick from. ALl of the weapons serve little purpose in multiplayer, since it is most common to just run around with the shotgun, completely ignoring this games "stop and pop" intentions. It was disappointing so she such ineffective weaponry, such as the crossbow, which needs to be "charged" before fired, which can be very tedious and unbalanced. The "chain-saw bayonet" does bring something new to the table, but that something new is also something eruptive and ineffective. In order for a chain-saw to be properly executed, you must be within inches of an opponent, something very annoying and inconsistent with this games style of play.

Enemies
The enemies in this game are ugly and gruesome. Their skin is well oiled and glossy, which gives them an unearthly appearance. Despite their attractive looks, they are extremely boring to fight. They lack diversity, it is as if you are fighting an army of clones. One might say to them-self "didn't I just kill that guy?" There are different classes of the enemy grub you have to fight. There are small, clumsy ones, called wretches, and their are bigger, meaner ones called Bazerkers. There are also soldiers and bosses, but I'l let you be disappointed by those on your own. Over all, the enemies...are pathetic.

Songs
Playing this game, for most people, gives them the urge to write songs, such as this one:

Gears of War,
Oh how you feel my heart with pain and gore,
Yet you leave me here waiting for more,
Oh why must you be my sister

Alternate TItles
THis game, as great as the title is, it could easily have had the same sound, with more meaningful titles:

Gears of Gore: This game is very gory and the blood is sloppy and difficult to clean.
Tears of War: Some scenes will possible make you shed a few tears.

Gears of Bore: Many people find the game boring and redundant after a while.

None of these titles are official, but they might as well be, because the only thing the current title has with the game's story is that there is some gear shaped statues in the story, and hat there is a war going on.

Closing Comments
You might start this game thinking "OMG ITS TIME TO KILL ME SOME ALIEN SCUM!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!" but you will most likely leave the game with an empty, disheartened feeling in your stomach, and be disappointed. The visuals are great, but the story does not even match up to a fraction of it. Aliens taking over earth has been done, and on a next gen console, stories need to be revolutionary. You will have an occasional sensation of fun, but it will be over quickly, and turn into a sensation of frustration and anger.

Buy or Don't Buy?

I think the answer is complicated, and is really a gamer preference. I would say flip a coin, or chain saw, on this one!


Reviewer's Score: 5/10 | Originally Posted: 08/23/07


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