Gears of War, as a series, has just never appealed to me. Nothing personal Marcus Fenix, but although I can totally get behind a gun that can also be used to fell a tree, I just always thought those games looked kind of...grey. But hey, different strokes for different folks and all, and I do recognise and respect that the first Gears of War game was, for its time, a highly-polished cover-based shooter.
One of the first and most spurious misuses of my university student loan was a Halo 3 Master Chief edition Xbox 360. It was a disgusting olive green with hideous decals and a questionable shiny gold disc tray and I absolutely adored it. But, even though I played Halo 3 multiplayer and Assassin's Creed to death, my first memories of the 360 are actually somewhat hazy.
Cliff Bleszinski may be the face of Epic Games but Mark Rein is the voice. No tight jeans, diamond earrings or chainsaw-waving japes for him - just a wardrobe full of polo shirts and a great big bundle of opinions.
Stop clowning around; it really is bastardly cold out there. Still, it's good for one thing: keeping my PC from overheating. All I have to do is wrap up warm and open my window, then pop in one of these festively fantastic frolics and laugh away merrily - probably with a vat of mulled wine close-by to ensure I am well and truly smashed. I'm only giving it serious consideration because there are some games worth seriously considering.
The excellent new PC version of Gears of War introduces five new Chapters to help bulk out Act 5, Desperation. As one of Microsoft's "Games for Windows - LIVE" titles, it also offers unlockable Achievements which go towards a Gamerscore - you know, that thing your Xbox 360 chums have been claiming they're not bothered about despite having played a suspicious amount of "Open Season".
A while back, Microsoft readily admitted that its torrid new relationship with the Xbox had lead to the company neglecting the PC as a gaming platform. It went on to say that it would fix this, and it got pretty worked up telling us about DirectX10, the Games for Windows brand and the Games for Windows Live online multiplayer service.
Last year was "quite big" for Epic. Gears of War is, as Mark Rein gleefully tells us, the number one game of the generation so far. Unreal became the engine of choice for next-gen developers. There's no Gears sequel this year, but 2007 will still be big - if not bigger - for the little developer from North Carolina. Unreal Tournament 3 is set to launch in November on PS3 and PC. Gears of War is coming to PC with new content. The games that Unreal powers are starting to arrive in droves - headlined by the likes of BioShock. So Mark Rein, Epic's vice president and chief evangelist, is as giddy as ever. When we run into him in Leipzig, it takes us 15 minutes to drag him into the interview room - he just wants to shoot the breeze. Fortunately he saved some good bits for the tape. Read on for the latest on UT3, Gears PC, the Gears film and Unreal Engine 3.
We have a full walkthrough to Gears of War sitting here, but it's so deathly dull and boring we figured most of you would nod off if we posted it. So we've ripped out the useful bits and binned the rest. First up, tips on beating all the baddies in the game, and over the page, the whereabouts of all 30 COG tags.
Glistening water laps at the harbour wall. A cool, clear light bathes a flight of dusty steps, picking out the baroque details of a portico above. A chainsaw passes through your abdomen and you explode in a shower of offal.
By accident or design, Microsoft's triumphant X06 event last week managed to neatly bookend the two historical extremes of the modern run and gun shooter. First the audience had the rather unexpected news of Doom's welcome arrival into the Live Arcade fold, and was then treated to a typically bombastic hands-on demo from Cliffy B for Gears of War. The contrast couldn't be more incredible.