I'm going to start posting reviews that I write. Not only for the Xbox 360, but for other systems as well. Here's my Gears of War review.
Gears of War Review
Gears of War, which is a third-person shooter, came out in November of 2006, so this isn't a review of an exactly new game. However, some people don't have a Xbox 360 yet, therefore they haven't purchased it. It's also possible that someone has a 360, but hasn't played the game yet. I am here to tell you that this game is a must-buy, end of story.
The game takes place on a planet known as Sera, which is very similar to Earth. There has been a war going on for over twenty years, but now the Locust Horde, who come from the underground of Sera, have entered the war and will show no mercy. Therefore, the humans team up and create the "Coalition of Ordered Governments", or "COG".
The main character is a man named Marcus Phoenix, who was supposed to be in jail for abandoning his post when the emergence of the Locust Horde started. However, COG needed more soldiers so they cut his jail sentence short, and it eventually proves to be the right decision by the government.
Eventually, you team up with other COG members such as Dominic Santiago, Augustus Cole, Damon Baird, Lieutenant Kim, and Carmine. These men all make up a group called "The Delta Squad". In many shooters, your teammates usually aren't important. But it's quite the contrary in Gears of War. Teamwork is a must, especially on online multiplayer. It gives Gears of War a more unique feel, and more of a sense of achievement once you beat the game, or a chapter for that matter.
While teamwork makes Gears of War different from most games, it's the gameplay that really sets it apart. Accoding to Cliff Bleszinski, Gears of War's lead designer, the game isn't a run 'n gun game such as the Halo series, but it's more of a stop n' pop. What he means is that technique is very important in the game. And that you cannot just go out and run at any time, because there's a very good chance that you'll die. Instead, you have to use the cover feature, by pressing the "A" button against a wall of some sort. You can then pull out a bit and start shooting, while still staying fairly safe.
Screen showing what it's like in cover
That's one great thing about this game. In games such as Halo, Call of Duty, and other shooters, it's fairly easy to get killed. But in Gears of War, it's a more slow paced game and it's usually much harder to die. If you do get hurt enough, you'll be downed, but you'll have the opportunity to be revived by a teammate. In single player campaign though, once you're down, you're out.
Weapons. Ah, the weapons. Another reason why this game is so great is because there's a good mix of classic weapons such as the shotgun and the snipper rifle, to new and exciting ones, such as the torque bow and the chainsaw bayonet that's attatched to the lancer, which is an assault rifle. Like in most games, the shotgun is the best to use in short distance, but it will do little to no damage at a long distance. There's not many more satisfying things in this world then sneaky up behind a Locust and blowing them into pieces with one shutgun bullet.
The lancer is just your typical assualt rifle for the most part. But, there's something very unique and amazing about this weapon, and that's the chainsaw bayonet. To access the chainsaw, you simply hold down the "B" button and your opponent will be sliced into smithereens. As easy as that sounds, it's not always. In order to chainsaw your opponent, you have to get right up to them, which is then risking the chance of getting blown up by the shotgun or some other weapon.
You don't see bows in many games that take place in the future. And while there's no bow and arrow in Gears of War, there's a torque bow which is bascially like a rich man's bow and arrow. Why is it so much better you ask? When the arrow sticks to your opponent, instead of just being stabbed, they explode!
Torque Bow, meet Locust. Locust, meet Torque Bow
The hammer of dawn is a weapon that can only be used in the open sky. And although it can take awhile to trigger, it's very effective because it shoots down a blazing beam that just torches your opponent, or you if you happen to be so unlucky.
In many games, the rocket launcher is one of the most popular weapons. In Gears of War, the boomshot is similar to the rocket launcher, but much more weak and it's just fairly useless in many cases. The boomshot only covers little area, and you have to be almost dead on when it comes to accuracy.
Obviously, there are more weapons, but those are probably the more unique ones and the rest are fairly basic weapons that don't need much explanation.
Lets move on to the campaign, shall we? Gears of War is split into five acts, thirty chapters total. Some levels are amazingly easy, some are simply in a pain in the ass - especially on Insane.
There are a few big bosses such as a Corpser, which is basically a gigantic spider that digs tunnels through the ground. Then there's a Berserker, which is said to be a female Drone. It is blind, but once it hears or smells you, run for your life, enough said.
The final boss in Gears of War is General RAAM. He's a big locust, with a rough voice, and he just seems dark and evil, which he is. The final boss fight is fairly hard, and it should take you a fairly long time to beat him, at least on Insane.
Although he is the main boss in Gears of War, he's not the head of the locust, he's simply a general. There's a Locust Queen, known as Myrrah. At the end of the game, you can hear her voice, which indicates that there will be more to the series.
While the campaign is fun, it's rather short and without online play, it wouldn't be nearly as good as it was hyped up to be. However, since there is online, the game is all that it should be, and more.
Multiplayer on Gears of War is great like I've said before. You can play co-op with your friend on split screen, or join someone on Xbox Live and play the campaign together, but this time you obviously don't have to share a screen.
But cooperative multiplayer isn't all, there's also versus. There are four game modes: Warzone, Execution, Assassination, and Annex. All can be played in either ranked matches, where your score will be up for everyone to see, or a player match.
Warzone is pretty much just Team Deathmatch. It's four vs. four, and you try to eliminate the opposing team. This is the most popular mode, and my personal favorite as well.
Execution is similar to Warzone, except that when the player is downed, you must kill him. There's no bleed out, so you have to act fast and finish him off.
In Assassination, you have to kill the opposing team's leader, while also protecting your own so the other team doesn't win.
Lastly, Annex, is simply King of the Hill. Your team has to keep control of certain areas to win the game, and that gives you points.
Online multiplayer is where the game shines, and I've enjoyed it quite a lot. It's amazing because one minute you can feel that you've never loved a game so much, but the next you thought it was impossible to hate it the next. That's one problem with Gears of War, it has some glitches but they are being fixed. Still, the game is more than good enough because it keeps everyone playing even though there are some minor problems.
As I said before, this is a must-buy. Hopefully this is enough to convince you to buy it and join the fun that many are having. This is what gaming is all about it.
Just the overall feel of this game is simply incredible. This should be a big series, and there's already a movie coming out about it. There's only a few games that get that kind of hype and attention, and Gears deserves it.
The best graphics I've seen to date. Amazing texture, lighting, enviornments, etc. The graphics just really add to the incredible experience that Gears of War gives you.
The sound effects are great, it has the right music, everything. It gives the game the right kind of mood.
I love the coverage system and the stop n' pop. The only thing that's bad about it is that it can sometimes be a little slow, and it doesn't always work right.
Many will beat the campaign on all three difficulties, like I have. But after that, I don't see me playing the campaign ever again. Online, however, is highly addictive and has tons of lasting appeal.
This is the best Xbox 360 game to date, and possibly one of the best ever. I've never had such an amazing and fun experience playing a game. It deserves all of the hype that it receives. All I have to say is, nice job Epic.