Gears of War Reader Review

Decision time

That's a quote from a friend. She has no interest whatsoever in computer games. She bought me this game for Christmas based on the advice of others, and the only reason she even watched me play it for a few minutes was to check on her investment. "Yes, it sure does!" was the reply from my co-op buddy, "it's great to play too!� "Is it?" replied the naive friend, "but all you're doing is shooting things". I had two options:- 1. Immediately drop the controller, throttle her, and command her out of the house. Or, 2. Continue playing through this current co-op campaign quietly contemplating how right she might be.

Since I'm more of a lover than a fighter I opted for number 2.

Testosterone, the macho kind

So, graphics aside, what did I really think of gears? Well, it sure was very macho - guns, muscles, hard-talk... that sort of thing. But I like that! Not because I am in any way macho, or want to compensate for a testosterone deficiency, but because I find films like 'Commando' and 'Nowhere to run' hilarious. The over-the-top man-speak is brilliantly cheesy, reminiscent of some of the lines master chief comes out with.

The road less travelled

Single player is fun, the casual difficulty setting is a great starter to blast your way through, while the harder options make the player really think about tactics and precision. This is especially true in co-op mode, which is what the game is really designed for. Those of you who only ever play it solo will have few complaints, however once played in co-op, single player seems a little dull and monotonous. Where's the thrill when you can't scream at someone "cover me!" or "BEHIND YOU!� You feel like doing this in single player, and sometimes you'll probably find yourself doing it anyway, but since no-one's listening it really defeats the purpose. Even the less dramatic comments like "there's some ammo there if you want it", and "no you go first" make the game in co-op so much more fun. They're the things that'll get you through the slower parts of the game.

It's no secret that Gears is shorter than we all would have liked. Its saving grace is that it's the type of game once completed you immediately want to go back for more, and not just because there are a handful of moments your team split up and you get to pick which path you take. I haven't played it on xbox live so I can't comment any further than saying that I can imagine it's really what the game was designed for. Given the difference between playing campaign mode by yourself and adding another human, I can only imagine that adding more humans into the mix only makes things that much better.

Next generific?

Gears is a fantastic achievement. Plugged into a HDTV and wired to a surround sound system it's at the top of it's league. The artwork has come under scrutiny; large parts of the game are practically in black and white. This might not be to everyone's taste but does make it grittier and the blood more dynamic. It's got the tactical shooter control system simplified enough to make the game both easy to pick-up-and-play and give the player immediately gratifying fast-paced action. The gameplay elements are basic. You take cover behind things (side note - the many, many small walls come in handy but make the levels a bit too contrived), pump hundreds of bullets into each enemy, listen to some jive-talk between characters, use the right analogue to look round and admire the visuals, then go back to holding down the trigger and pumping more bullets. It really is (almost) that simple. But then again you could say football games are (almost) as simpl as kicking a ball into the net. Gears hasn't made a huge leap in computer gaming , but like footy games it's the execution that makes the game stand out, and gears does what it sets out to do very well.

Conclusion

So then, just a pretty face? It depends how much you enjoy macho shooting games. I can understand why some might not find it remotely interesting (beyond the 'nice graphics'), but then again no matter how good PES is some people just don't like football. The final score was hard to decide on, minus a point if you don't have a mate to play with, but overall I found it to be lots of fun. Yes it's short, but so are 90 computer minutes of football.

9 / 10

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