Review by dantheman3389

"The bar has been raised!"

Well, I'll start this review by saying I was definitely doubting Gears of War. I had seen all the reviews, watched all the previews, and heard all my classmates. I wasn't really impressed, and to be honest, I was cracking jokes at how hyped it was. Release day had come around so I made a last-minute decision to just buy it. Boy was glad I had, it was one of the best gaming decisions I've ever made.

Graphics: The one thing that will jump out to most people is the graphic quality. It's jaw-dropping how amazing this game looks! From the character models, to the map quality, and even the dust that kicks up when under fire, it all looks great. This game dominates the gaming market at the moment in terms of visuals. Never has a game looked so good yet manages to run at a steady FPS. I didn't experience any slowdown or frame-skipping in my entire single-player campaign. Even online ran smoothly. Even the game camera is done in a way that is just plain awesome. Just sprinting in game will make you giggle when it turns to a heart-pounding behind the back view.

There were minor problems with low-texture resolutions when a level was loading up, but that would just be nit-picky to give it a bad score because of this. It's not even noticeable.

Sound: Rock-solid. I don't have much to say about this, but it's great. The gunshots sound solid, the soldier's grunts and taunts sound superb, and the ambient noise is great. They also paid great attention to detail to the sound. For example, when you play online you can choose to be the Locusts. Each of the different skin choices you can pick have different breathing sounds and everything. It's a minor detail but it's very well done nontheless.

Gameplay: This is where the game shines the most. While at first you may see it as nothing new, just pick up the controller. I promise you, and warn you at the same time, that you will be addicted. Once you have the simple controls mastered, you will be a force to be reckoned with. With exciting duck-and-cover gameplay, intense shoot-outs, and some downright eerie moments, this game has it down. I was pleasantly surprised how fun this game is! There are around 10 different weapons, and each adds a new aspect to the combat. The combat is fast and unforgiving. If you play through on Hardcore difficulty for your first play-through, you will most likely die a few times. I didn't even mind dying as many as 10-15 times on certain segments because it's just plain fun.

The areas where firefights occur are usually wide open and full of cover. This gives dozens of strategic combinations and unlimited replayibility. The game is also not too easy on the 2 higher difficulties, so it will keep you on your toes. Co-op is seamlessly integrated, and the game is about 10-15 hours in length.

Xbox Live: I was also very surprised to find out how good the Xbox live was handled in GoW. I had low expectations, but ended up playing for a whole night straight for my first XBL session. The matches are practically lag-free, the graphics and gameplay are just as or even more exciting as the single-player, and the action is fast and fun. The only gripe I have with XBL is sometimes it will take a while to find a stable match, but when you do, I promise you'll be impressed.

Overall: In conclusion, my only recommendation is to give this game a chance. Pick it up and play, you'll be addicted. Despite any doubts, I am so excited to add this game to my collection. Forever I will remember how Gears of War set the standard higher for shooting/action games. Hell, I'll probably be playing the multiplayer for months and perhaps years to come.

Reviewer's Rating:   5.0 - Flawless

Originally Posted: 11/10/06

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