Review by Sinister187

"Fight Or Die!"

Fight Or Die!

Score: 10/10

'Gears Of War', the undisputed killer-aap for the Xbox 360 is here and it is simply put, amazing. In every sense of the word, from graphics, to game-play to controls, this game is incredible down to the bone. Epic has created a gem for Microsoft, it's a definite system-seller and rightly so. Well, if you're still curious, read on and see why this is a sure-bet for, game of the year.

Emergence Day, the day that Planet Sera, a once peaceful world will never forget. It was the day when huge and powerful creatures known as, The Locust, emerged from the depths of the underground. Their intentions are to make all life as we know it, extinct, millions upon millions were killed, and humanity is on the brink of being lost for good. The COG (Coalition of Ordered Governments) had tried to fight will all their might, but ended up failing, one COG soldier known as, Marcus Fenix, was caught defying orders by trying to save his father. He was caught and sentenced to prison, years have passed since, and the Locust are still around and as strong as ever. One day, they decide to invade the prison in which Marcus is being held-in, luckily for him an old friend swings by to bust him out and hand him some armor and a very big-gun. He asks him to start fighting once again and Marcus agrees, thus, 'Gears Of War' begins. The story isn't too strong, which is a little disappointing, the only real juicy tid-bits you get are in the instruction manual and through minor dialogue between the characters. Hopefully, if there is a sequel, more light will be shined on this aspect of the game.

The game plays like a mixture of 'Resident Evil 4' and 'Kill.Switch', amped-up to another level. The Third-Person perspective is awesome rather than having it be a First-Person Shooter which most Xbox games are known for. The fights are intense and brutal, you are constantly being shot at, granted there are a few spots where you can catch your breath, but not that many. You have to use covering tactics or else your brains might end up on the wall behind you, this is the core game-play mechanic of, 'Gears Of War'. Use cover or die, I can't put it any more simple than that, walls, wrecked cars, ledges, basically almost anything in sight can be used as cover to save your life. From there you are able to perform evasive maneuvers, blind fire and pop in and out of cover to fire your weapon at the Locust. It's hectic, extremely fun and easy to get used to, and another plus is that the camera-angles are perfect, thankfully. You are also able to do some close-combat attacks, most notably the now-infamous 'chainsaw'. Which when triggered, entertains the player with a super-gory death scene, you literally cut your enemy in half from shoulder to hip and blood splatters all over the screen as the saw roars loudly. It's awesome, no doubt, you can also curb-stomp a downed opponent, which should make fans of the movie, 'American History X' very pleased. Grenades also provide for some up-close kills, just ram it into them and watch the limbs fly in a shower of gore. When the action gets really heavy (Which it usually does) you can also evade yourself from getting killed faster by holding down the 'A' button, this triggers the 'Roadie Run' which enables you to run quicker. Another cool addition is the 'Active Reload' feature, this is done by pressing the Right Bumper to reload, a reticule that slides will appear, if you press it in the correct-spot, you will reload your weapon faster. If you don't, your gun will end up jamming and reloading slower, at first it might be a little difficult, but after a few tries, it'll be a piece of cake. There are three levels of difficulty in the game, Casual (Easy), Hardcore (Medium) and finally, Insane (Hard), the last level of difficulty will be testing your patience, that's for sure. The Campaign itself is rather short, it has five-acts and it clocks in at around ten or so hours, upping the difficulty shall stretch the length however. Given when you choose a higher difficulty, the A.I. becomes more aggressive and you will be flanked and blown away quicker than you can say the game's title three-times fast. 'Gears' also has a co-op feature, which is more than welcome, via split-screen, system-link or through Xbox Live, and it is even better slaughtering the Locust with a friend. There are also death-matches to be had, and as a nice added-touch, you can play as either the COG members or as the vicious Locust Horde, with a maximum of up to eight players. The maps are pretty small and detailed, they'll be providing you with hours of fragging and gut-splattering chainsaw kills. The weapons included are your standard machine-guns, grenade-launchers, sniper-rifles and shotguns, all of which provide nice head-explosions and meaty-dismemberments. There's also some unique weapons to be seen, such as the Lancer Assault Rifle, which has a chainsaw as a bayonet, the Hammer Of Dawn, a weapon that emits an infrared-beam that locks onto a target and an orbiting satellite locks onto the target from your signal which then fires down a blistering laser from above that destroys anything that comes in contact with it. The only downfall to this weapon is that it can only be used outside. Another sweet weapon is the Torque Bow, when fired the bow sticks inside your opponent before exploding.

'Gears Of War' is a beautiful game, in fact, it is the best-looking game currently available on the Xbox 360 or anything at this point. The in-game graphics are so good they resemble high-quality CG cut-scenes. Even if you're not playing on a High-Definition television the game still looks insanely impressive. Faces and body-movements are rendered realistically, blood and gore effects are fantastic, after cutting an enemy in half you can actually see the entrails inside of the mutilated body, it's detailed to the extreme. The environments look equally impressive, nothing is recycled, every level is different and great-looking, all the effects in this game are simply superb. Sound effects are top-notch too, from gunfire to chainsaws, it's all outstanding, the music transists from military-type music to scary Horror-type music, it fits well and changes under the correct situations.

Controls are perfect and are as follows the LT button allows you to aim, while the LB button let's you see your objectives and squad status, along with issuing orders. Pressing the RT button allows you to shoot and throw grenades and pressing the RB button allows you to reload your weapon (Second well-timed press: active reload). The Y button allows for looking at a point of interest, pressing X is the use and interact button and for you gore-hound's pressing B is for melee attacks (Hold for chainsaw). The A button makes up for most of the character's actions, such as evading, getting into and out of cover, mantle (climb), cover slip, and for making SWAT turns (Press and hold for 'Roadie Run'). Pressing the Right Thumbstick lets you look, you can also click it to zoom, while the Left Thumbstick moves your character. The D-Pad switches your weapons, the Back button let's you see the multiplayer scoreboard and finally the Start button either starts or pauses the game. The control is flawless in my opinion and very easy to get the hang of.

If you own an Xbox 360 and are a fan of Horror/Action games in general you need to buy this game. It is a must-have title and a truly next-gen experience, with all the hype surrounding it, I figured it wouldn't live up to the expectations. But it did and more, 'Gears Of War' is work of art and a downright amazing gaming experience, full of intense fire-fights, non-stop action and eye-popping gore, there's absolutely nothing in this game that you shouldn't love. Go and pick this up, missing out on it would deserve a chainsaw to the skull.

Reviewer's Rating:   5.0 - Flawless

Originally Posted: 12/01/06

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