Review by Electricblue107

Reviewed: 11/08/06

Gears of War is redefining the genre of shooter

Although this is my first review on GameFaqs, I feel that no game should deserve my attention more right now than Gears of War. From it's fast-paced strategic shootouts, to the incredible feeling you get when you rip through an enemy with a chainsaw, Gears of War really does deliver all that it was made out to be.

Graphics 9.5/10

First off, I will say that, hands down, this game has the best graphics I have ever seen in a console or a P.C. game ever. Even among screen-shots for games that haven't even been released yet, this one sets the bar. Every thing you see in the game is very well done. And no minute detail was overlooked when it came to the 3d models. From the wrinkles on Marcus's face, the tattoo on Dom's arm, and the imperfections in the war-torn future, everything is jaw-dropping. And there is only a small hint of repetition in level design. Very small. You can run through Oblivion and after 30 minutes notice all the patterns in the stones, that won't happen in Gears of War. A couple of plays through on a given level and you will notice something different each time.

The only reason though that I gave it a 9.5 was the occasional mess-up in the graphics. It's only happened occasionally, but it seems that to fix FPS problems (mainly on in-game movies) it won't render certain parts of the engine . It seems to be bump mapping, though I'm not totally sure. For example though, a stone in a wall will be grey for a short while, then suddenly all the texture will be on it. Although it is a short while, one or two seconds, if that. And it never has affected my gameplay, just a slight nod towards imperfection though. Also, on some multiplayer maps, the bloom lighting goes a little odd for a bit and parts of the screen will look fuzzy, but again those two problems only happen on occasion and rarely (if ever) affect the gameplay.

Single Player 7/10

This is where the game has it's drawbacks though. Singleplayer was fun and exciting (even more so with co-op, but that falls under Multiplayer), but it was very, very short. They don't show much in terms of "Emergence Day", and I imagine a very well done cinematic could have been shown to tell what happened instead of bits and pieces of it throughout scattered conversation. They rarely spend any time at all in character development, the only thing you get are the classic cliche "before the war/when this war is over" speeches that characters give in movies.

Also, the friendly AI can be a bit difficult at times, having to revive them all the time. And yes, you can give a very limited amount of orders (Regroup/Aggressive Stance/Defensive Stance) but sometimes, they just don't listen and die. Most of the time though, you don't have a whole squad with you. Usually you're with one other team mate (usually Dom) and the others have taken another path to activate so-and-so or cover Marcus from such-and-such position, so generally, you have to put your trust in the AI to actually give you the covering fire, but generally it all comes down to Marcus to have to take out squads of Locusts.

So, for "Single Player", I had to give it a 7/10, but even though single player was fun, it was very short-lived and I would have loved to have known more about the Locusts and more history into Emergence Day.

Gameplay 10/10

This is where the game truly shines. The gameplay. It's superb, it's excellent, and I think games like Gears of War will make new trends in video games happen. The TPS seems to be coming into style, starting with the major hit, Resident Evil 4, it's quickly worked it's way into the game world. But Gears of War really did a number on it. They made you feel like you were in a warzone. The running and gunning of old has been replaced with a feeling that your in a real battle. Despite the fact that the characters in Gears of War all look like 2-ton juggernaughts in armor, they really are pretty fragile. It doesn't take many hits to bring them down, but don't worry, one thing they specialize in is quickly regenerating health, so cover is very important. So, next to your aiming button, and your firing button, the A button is your next best friend. It adapts to meet any need you may come across. It's your roll key, your run key, your cover key, and believe me, it will come in handy a lot in this game. And I've never had any problems using the multipurposeness of the A key. And for those that think it would be boring running from cover to cover, you obviously haven't played Gears Of War. Running to the next position of cover while your buddies are dying and you have a red circle (a sign of imminent death) appearing on your screen and at the same time trying to seal up an emergence hole can keep anyone on the edge of their seat.

Weapons are naturally key in a shooting game, and don't worry, the chainsaw bayonet is just as great, if not better, than everyone said it was going to be. There is absolutely nothing more satisfying than the first time you go up to a Locusts and rip them open with the chainsaw. But don't worry, that's not the only good weapon of the game. Next to the assault rifle, there are your classics: shotgun, pistol, sniper rifle. But Gears of War also has it's own bounty of unique weapons, including an ultimate weapon that burns enemies from the sky via satellite (Goldeneye anybody?).

So for "Gameplay", I had to give it a 10/10, the feel of actually needing cover was present in this game, but at the same time, I couldn't wait to get close to the next enemy so I could use the chainsaw.

Sound 10/10

The sound in this game was incredible. Nothing was skipped over when it came to sound. The firing of every gun, each with their own noise, the revving of the chainsaw, the movement of Marcus running for cover and panting, the screech of the Krylls, everything in this game sounds incredible. And the musical score was awesome. To the menu music, to the slight clip you hear when you find a COG Tag, the sound is perfect.

Multiplayer 9/10

Multiplayer is where Gears of War was really meant to be played. It's incorporation of squad mechanics and the same "take cover" ideas of single player flowed smoothly into the multiplayer realm. The Locusts and the COG's each can get 4 players (same as single player squad) with three varying game types: Warzone, Assassination, and Elimination. Warzone is the standard "Deathmatch". Each player gets one life, they can be revived if they go critical but they can't revive themselves. Elimination is similar to Warzone, with the exception that the player can revive themselves and the only way to fully kill another player is with a headshot, a chainsaw kill, a curb stomp (an up close melee to an enemy in critical condition), or an execution. Assassination is each side has a "General" and the game ends when the other teams General is assassinated. I know it doesn't sound like many different options can be done in the way of games, but it does deliver, and it's very fun and addicting. And with Xbox Live's downloadable content, I wouldn't be surprised at all if they released several map packs, new game types, or some other new content by 2007.

I also can't forget co-op mode. It's perfect for this game. On a lot of games lately it seems as though co-op mode is a dumbed down version of the single player mode. But for Gears of War it almost seems as though the single player mode was meant to be played with another person. Not only does it make for a more fun and enjoyable experience since you're playing with another person, but it makes a lot of the maps more interesting and exhilirating because you don't have to worry about controlling an A.I. and can tell your team mate what to do exactly. This especially comes in handy at times when you have to get seperated from the rest of your team. A human player is much better at laying down covering fire than A.I.

So whether your shooting game addiction is filled by Halo 2, Ghost Recon, or even Grand Theft Auto, I think Gears of War can satisfy any need. A perfect blend of gunning, tactical shooting, and just plain gruesome violence give this a well deserved 9/10.

Rating:   4.5 - Outstanding

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