Review by GodOfWarFanatic
"Run for cover, duck, shoot, repeat."
Gears of War was one of the most hyped games and said to be the best launch title of the 360's release. However, only one of those are factual, the hype part. Gears of War is a good game, don't get me wrong, but it's not "epic" by any standards. The thing that does stand out in this game was the graphics. So I guess a lot of people got past the generic gameplay and decided to give Gears of War a perfect score due to of the graphics, since they were different and not-seen before at that time.
Now like I said, Gears of War is a good game, but it doesn't deserve perfect scores. It suffers from a short campaign and generic gameplay. Nothing new has been done in this game and it's entertainment value doesn't last long, being as it's around a 6 hour game. It could possibly be shorter, or possibly a bit longer, but either way you want to put it, this is a short game.
It's your basic "Aliens take over the world" story. The Locust horde have emerged from under the ground and basically have taken over where the setting takes place. You are Marcus Fenix who was in prison for (I forget what reason) is released when his former commander dismisses all inmates so they can help in anyway they can. and Marcus being an ex-soldier, he's obviously the one who's going to save the day. It's a little more in-depth than other sorts of Sci-Fi material with the same plot, but it's not original.
Gameplay: 6/10 (Possible spoilers in the last paragraph of this section)
Besides the word "generic," I can think of only one word about the gameplay. Repetitive. I know what you're saying, "It's a shooter. Blah, blah, blah." Yes, however, the "innovative" cover-system is what makes this boring. I expected more variety coming out of a next-gen third-person shooter, but no. All we get is a cover-system that you rely on and use throughout the duration of the whole game. Just read the title and you have the basic concept of this game, it's repetitive and dull.
So you all have seen screenshots of it and you probaly noticed that the characters are huge. Yeah, well, guys on steroids shooting even bigger aliens. Oh, that's another thing, the enemy and weapon variety are scarce. I guess people think since the Lancer (The basic machine gun) has a chainsaw bayonet, it automatically saves the weapon selection. Well, sadly, it doesn't. It is cool feature, but it's novelty wears off after the first couple kills. One thing that would've made the chainsaw feature better is if you could direct where you are cutting into the enemy with the right analog stick. But like a lot of shooters, this game has that one weapon that's new and stands-out. Half-Life 2 had the Gravity Gun, and so on. Well the weapon I'm talking about is the Hammer of Dawn, a satellite-controlled weapon that shoots a giant orange laser? beam from the sky. It's incredibly powerful, but you don't use it often considering the low amount of them in the game.
Locusts are your primary enemies, they're basically the only enemies you see with a few exceptions, and I think they have ranks to them like the Elites in Halo. There are also other enemies, like Beserkers which are big, blind monsters with exceptionally well hearing and you have to kill them with the Hammer of Dawn. I think you encounter them three or four times in the game. These annoying little bastards that are very agile, but I forget their names. Also these things called Kryll which only appear at night. You don't, well you can't kill them, you just stay away from dark places in the parts of the game where they're present. Also a couple more that you probaly have only two encounters with. So yeah, scarcity of weapons and enemies.
The feature in this game, besides graphics, that stands out in this game is the cover system that I've mentioned already before. It's what it sounds like. There are many spots to take cover from to avoid your enemies, but sometimes they take cover too. Which reminds me that the A.I. is very good. Well the system is simple, you can take cover behind a rock, and pop out (Or blind-fire) and shoot the living hell out of those locusts. It's works surprisingly well and is a nice addition.
Another thing that disappointed me was how easy the game was. At the end General Raam took me my first try to defeat him (At the easiest difficulty) and I only died around 5 or 6 times, mainly because of a Beserker showdown and from the Kryll. On Insane difficulty, I obviously died more, but Raam was still a breeze. So gameplay is more on the generic side as opposed to the innovation side, but this game will probaly satisfy you if you're not in the "hardcore-gamer" mood.
The element in Gears that got the word "hype" written on it. The graphics are beautiful, the detail is just amazing and the framerate is always consistent. And for a 360 launch title when Epic was still in the experimentation graphical stage, they popped out an amazing looking game. The Unreal 3 Engine is probaly the best graphics engine in gaming today. Another thing worth noting is the lighting, the thing, besides detail, that polishes the game's look. But the lighting also made the environments more dull in terms of color. It's actually kind've depressing and that alone stops the graphics from getting a perfect score.
The controls are fine, they could be tweaked, but it uses the basic control scheme in many shooters. It also uses the weapon-wheel which is one of my favorite features in any shooter. It's actually one of the reasons why I like Half-Life so much. Also, how you hurl grenades is a awesome feature as it guides where the grenade will go, so you can throw it exactly where you want, or at least close to it.
Everything sounds like it's suppose to, it's not impressive in any terms, but it's fine. It's not like it'll hurt your ears, it's just not the best. And the voice-acting is a bit on the downside with your stereotypical military voices and your stereotypical "tough-guy" dialogue. It's definitely not a key feature to the game.
Final Rating: 6/10
-It was fun whilst it lasted.
-The chainsaw bayonet feature.
-The simplicity of the cover system.
-The beautiful graphics.
-Some pretty good boss battles.
-Falls on the short side.
-Lacks any innovation, or at least significant innovation that will drastically help the gaming industry.
-Way too easy, even on Insane difficulty.
-I wanted to like this game much more, but sadly the hype got to me.
The game is definitely playable, it suffers from a short campaign and lack of innovation. Either way, I couldn't recommend this game to anyone who's looking for an epic Single-Player campaign, regardless of score. Well, it does have some a pretty decent co-op mode that's worth playing through. So unless you absolutely love multiplayer, there is no reason to buy this. Just give it a rent.
Reviewer's Rating: 3.0 - Fair
Originally Posted: 06/19/08
Game Release: Gears of War (US, 11/07/06)
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