Review by deblas66

"A ground breaking game as reviewed by a harsh critic."

Let me preface this review by saying that I only review games that I feel have something extraordinary to offer or completely fail to meet all expectations. I am a harsh critic. I love most gaming genres and am not biased to certain games or genres over others.

Gears of War (GoW) is a 3rd Person action game that lets the gamer control Marcus Fenix, a soldier that starts the story off in jail for an unknown reason. Marcus and Dom, who rescued him, must accomplish various objectives while fighting off hordes off locusts that are trying to crush all of mankind.

Graphics: 10

Let it be known that the bar has been set for all future comparisons to in game graphics. GoW has the best graphics I have ever seen. Period. I wrote a review for Kameo: Elements of Power, when the 360 was first released and I wrote about how the graphical quality of the 360 and its games was amazing. Just one year later, I have been blown away again. Gone are the cutscenes that look a thousand times better than the in game graphics. The game unfolds like a movie with such a cinematic presence that I can't help but feel excited when I see new environments. And I'm not even a graphics guy. Wow, is all I can say.

Sound: 10

There will be those that argue that the voice work is less than stellar and that the music is not as orchestral as other epics on the market. The lack of noticeable background music is not an issue because of the magnitude of the battles and the sound of gunfights. The guns are so loud and realistic in sound that I almost feel like I'm really in a battle. I think that music would just kill that cold hard stream of bullets feel that this game possesses. Battles are literally an orchestra of deafening gun fire that gives it a tense and realistic feel that is awesome.

The voice work is somewhat corny, but it has an over the top feel to it that complements the bulky gear and burly muscles of the characters extremely well. There isn't too much dialogue to make you wonder why these guys are standing around talking, but there is enough to let you connect with the characters a little so as not to cause a mindless soldier game.

Story: 8

While the game has a cool storyline and a plot that could definitely take it places, GoW doesn't utilize it as well as I would have liked. If you could care less about storyline and are only interested in fun and shooting, then skip this part.

I really like the whole background to the game. I think the emerging of the locusts and the disobedience of Marcus is intriguing. I feel that GoW could have gone into some better depth with it though. I would like a little more information as to why some of the things are the way they are.

With games becoming series in today's market place, it is almost a sure thing that some sort of sequel will come out to GoW. I hope that a little more depth is added to the story if that does happen, however, the story definitely does NOT hold this game back in any way and I am probably just being a stickler.

Gameplay: 10

I wish I could give this a higher rating than 10. I can't explain how much fun this game is. It is gripping and intuitive and so simple at the same time. When I first started playing I had a lot of trouble with the controls. The A button does a lot of things and I was rolling all over the place and when I got into cover I was diving left, right and back and I was getting frustrated. For the first 10 minutes I was disappointed with this game.

Then I stood in the training side room from the first mission and learned the cover system. To exit cover, press A or move back, not both. Hold A to run. Get into cover and press left or right to move sideways (while still in cover) and then to quickly dive to the next piece of cover. I went into the first fight after this and after another 10 minutes of actual gameplay, I had it mastered. The game then became amazing as I wasn't held back by controls.

The controls are very simple so don't be discouraged thinking that it will take you forever to learn them. 10-20 minutes and you will have it mastered. The controls are very simple but they are a little different than anything I've ever played, which is why you will need to allow a little time for the learning curve.

The way the game flows is perfection in a video game. The transformation of movie into game is complete. There are no mission completed or tally screens. There is no list of superficial objectives. The game flows from start to finish like a movie, with no stoppages except cutscenes. I didn't even know how far I was until I realized that there were little titles after certain checkpoints.

Each territory you enter has it's own life. Whether it be buildings, mines, alleys, or forests each place has its own feel. Every setting is alive with a realistic flair that makes it feel very real. Shooting is always 2 steps away and many of the fights resemble a combination of GRAW (Ghost Recon for 360) and Halo. Before you judge me for this comparison, let me explain. The cover system is very similar to the one employed by GRAW (except for the controls) while the action is similar to Halo. You will not be peeking around a corner waiting for a headshot and you won't be running around shooting and strafing. Both will get you killed fast. You have to use the right amount of tactical smarts, aiming and sheer determination to get through these firefights. You are usually outnumbered and can easily be flanked if you choose to remain behind the same piece of cover.

As I progress through the game and each objective as it comes up, I get a completely new feeling with each part. There is no repetitive feel that many games have; enter room, shoot it out and enter next room. That doesn't happen it GoW. The game doesn't feel like there are special fighting areas in the world. It's as if you are fighting in a real world setting. Nothing is off limits. There are no special battle areas, the fight is everywhere.

Replay: 9

I haven't played much of the multiplayer so I am not going to rate how good it is or how well the gametypes work. The game, whether or not the online MP is good, has a lot of replay value. There are 2 difficulty settings unlocked from the outset and once you beat the game, you unlock insane mode, which I'm sure will keep the average gamer busy for a while. There is also co-op where you can play the entire campaign with someone else whether over system link or x-box live. This feature alone is awesome because nothing is lost from the regular campaign. As for the online MP, there are several game variants to choose from and many of the cool attributes from the single player carry over to the multiplayer.

Overall: 10

There really is no other way to classify this game. From the moment the game starts you will be in awe of everything from the graphics to the gameplay. It's been a long time since I have been this addicted to a game. The amount of fun to back up the graphics and epic nature of the game is rare for a game with this much hype. Please buy this game.

Reviewer's Rating:   5.0 - Flawless

Originally Posted: 11/09/06

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