Gears of War Reader Review
Every now and then, the planets will align in just the right way and powers unknown will come together and a game development company will successfully sacrifice a few of their staff to the Dark Gods and be given the ability to create something great, something that will amaze us all, seriously folks, I'm going anywhere funny with this, I'm referring to the piece of masterwork gaming that is Gears of War...
I first remember taking Gears of War out of it's Limited Edition Tin and popped it into my 360, and roughly eight hours later I had to stop as I realised that my stomach had partially consumed most of my own internal organs and was now halfway across the room going after my cat.
It's hard for me to admit when a game that received this much hype before release actually delivers the goods but Gears of War actually does it, it received so much hype about being the next big thing in action shooters and personally as a rule of thumb if a game receives that much praise before it's even been released to the pack of ravenous hyenas that is the gaming population and the independent reviewer circuit then it's easier to assume it's going to be a lousy, run of the mill game before actually playing it (believing the hype was a mistake I made with Two Worlds if you care to read that hate-fuelled bile-fest) but I'm getting side tracked, where was I? ah yes, Gears of War...
You play the role of a grizzled ex-military soldier Marcus Fenix, now re-instated because the planet has gone to hell in a hand basket (who reminds me slightly of the dude out of Doom) because the Locust threat is getting out of hand and the army needs it's best on the front lines instead of being spat on from a ceiling grate by a handful of Wretches, now allow me to fill in the blanks in the backstory for you...
The game is set on a planet called Sera, which has been a staging ground for many wars over the past 70+ years due to the rich energy source found underground in the form of a glow-in-the-dark custard substance called Imulsion, then one day a big horde of nasties call Locust came up from underground and started effectively eradicating Sera's human population, now the Coalition of Ordered Governments ordered the remaining human survivors onto a place called Jacinto Plateau, a reinforced human settlement which (conveniently enough) the Locust couldn't dig through due to it being built on a different kind of rock, the COG then proceeded to blow holy hell out of every man, woman, child and Locust outside of Jacinto Plateau with orbital laser weapons...and it still didn't work.
Now with the backstory bit over lets talk shinyness!
Gears of War was an impressive game by my standards even from the start, the facial features were crisp, the explosions and gore were visceral, the only thing that I didn't like about the game was all the shades of dog-shit brown and gun metal grey again! I realise that it's meant to be as realistic as possible but not everything in life is either brown or gray guys! The truly great experience was when I played it on a 50inch HDTV, and my god, what a difference!! The individual features really come alive at that size (albeit only in cut scenes), granted this is the only game I've played on a TV that size but it was great, I was 5 years old again sitting way to close to the family TV, having to strain my neck up to see it all.Other than the enormous mental stiffie I got for the HD graphics, the only down side to them is that half the time, I didnít notice the amazing features and details because I was too busy hugging a bit of wall roughly the size of my torso to stop from getting shrapnel in my face!
Action wise this game tops most of the games Iíve played so far, the action isnít "run in suicide style" like it is in Halo 1/2/3 because if you do that, your massive beefcake body is going to attract an awful lot of bullets very quickly.This is an "activate baddies, duck, fire, move when baddie gets too close" sort of a game, focusing slightly more on tactics than brute force, and when you play on Insane mode, tactics are a good thing as the Locust grubs can pick off your nose with a stray bullet fired the wrong way from a different county!
The learning curve on this game (granted you donít start on easy the first time around) is somewhere close to a challenge, if you start the game on Hard, you'll be peeling yourself off the wall on more than a few occasions but you'll at least learn from your mistakes like I did when I tried to stick a grenade to a Boomer on Insane, the Boomer obviously realised what I had done and decided that suicide was the best option and promptly fired his rocket launcher at me from point blank range, at which point everything went red and I reloaded my last checkpoint.
As far as Gears of War goes, I have very few bad points about this game, the only major problem I had was that my XBox 360 decided to turn it's guts inside out and RRoD whilst playing it and erased my 29/30 Cog Tags and forgot that I had done most of the game of Insane Mode but I can't fault the developers for that, trust me Iíve tried, and after throwing rocks at their houses, the police finally moved me on.
The story in Gears is about as paper thin as you can get, the mission brief reads like this: Here's a gun, bad guys are that way soldier! but then you can forgive the lack of depth because the action aspect of the game are so nice, the graphics are up to a mirror shine and the controls are fluid and responsive, everything feels right with Gears, so what if the story is shallow, you don't watch Momento for the explosions just like you don't lay Gears of War for it's deep and compelling storyline!
Play and enjoy one of the better shooters in recent times...