Gears of War Reader Review
War! Huh! What is it good for?...
After all the hype, and reading many reviews I decided this game wasn't for me. It sounded simple, brash and a bit too gung-ho for my delicate sensibilities. However, on finding it in one of those dodgy We Cash Cheques!-type shops for a mere £20 I did the deed, hoping that I wasn't inadvertently funding the local mafia or something.
After playing it for a bit I realised I had been right in my earlier assessment. So I went back to Forza 2 for a while. Then my cousin came round and wanted a go, so we fired up the split screen multiplayer mode, and gave it some welly. Although the choice of a horizontal split seemed odd, leaving us with a very thin but very wide view, it soon became manageable, and I now appreciate that the width gives a much better view of your surroundings than the traditional vertical split screen. The only downer is that using the swingy grenade-thing is very tricky, as you often cannot see the trajectory properly.
Playing with a mate in the same room completely transforms the gameplay. I haven't played a decent co-op game for years - seriously, Gauntlet is the last one I remember really enjoying - but Gears of War handles the two player experience with finesse. For example, one of the first bosses, a mad indestructible thing that tries to head-butt you out of existence (a cross between Vinny Jones and 'Mean Machine' Angel from 2000AD), is at it's best when one of you goads him while the other gets in position in front of the doors. Further on, having one of you equipped with a shotgun, watching the other's back from those scampering things works really well. And so on. The developers have put a lot of effort into making co-op play an integral part of Gears of War, and it really shows.
Gears of War is a very good game - dramatic, well-paced and good to look at if you're not too keen on colour.
Gears of War co-op is a great game - all of the above but with a big dollop of fun on top, especially if savoured in short bursts. Go forward 2 places.
9 / 10