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Gears of War Review November 18, 2006

Posted by dpcough in 360 Live Reviews.
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Gears of War Review

Since Xbox 360 was announced Microsoft has been hyping the new IP Gears of War. Was it worth the wait and does it deliver? Check out the Liver Gamer Gears of War Review.

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Single Player and Co-op

The single player campaign contains five acts which can be played on the diffuculty of Casual, Hardcore, or Insane which is unlocked when you conquer all acts on Hardcore. Every Act takes roughly 1-2 hours to complete, with the game totaling about 9-12 hours. It is an easy campaign on Casual for most of the games but Hardcore and Insane are tough. The game keeps a good pacing with a wide variety of enemies from theKryll who attack you if you go into dark areas and Berserkers who can’t see you but charge based on your scent.

All acts of this game can be completed in co-op with splitscreen or Live which is a great addition. The Insane acts are almost impossible to beat if you do not use co-op as your AI teammate will die a lot. The co-op is always smooth and almost lag free over Live.

The only gripe you can have about single player is that it could have been a bit longer as it feels shortened but the difficulty keeps you playing and playing and the co-op is fantastic for replay value. The story doesn’t get into details but there are so many things left open that Epic could make a fantastic tale in the next Gears of War, like Why Did the Locusts come to Sera? Where is Sera? Why is Marcus Fenix’s trial a sham? and many many more. While most complain the story is bad, I look at it as a story left to be told later.

Multiplayer

The multiplayer in Gears of War only allows a maximum of eight players but the maps are small and the gametypes catered to it so it feels as intense as Halo 2’s matches. You constantly take cover and shoot in 3 modes Assassination, Warzone, and Execution. You are either COG or Locust. The modes are a lot of fun and with ten maps you keep playing and playing them. [Note: Epic has promised more maps by the end of the year]

Gears of War can be played by System Link and over Live but on Xbox Live you can only play with friends in Player Matches. It is not the Halo-style Matchmaking but it is not Epic’s fault, Microsoft wouldn’t let them but a patch may be released in the future for easier use in Multiplayer games which would be great.

Graphics

The graphics in Gears of War are fantastic and mind-blowing with their effects. This is the first Unreal Engine 3 game to be released and it shows how amazing they are. From the blood splattering during a chainsaw to the big bulky player models I found myself looking around sometimes to admire them. It looks fantastic on HDTVs and SDTVs.

Gameplay

Gears of War has great gameplay for a third person shooter. It is tatical and you need to be in cover or you will die quick. The system with pressing the A button to cover works fantastic most of the time and the slow pacing of it adds for tense moments but it is great fun.

My favorite gameplay element is the Chainsaw. Under the default weapon if you hold down B your character lifts the gun and the chainsaw kills the person. You may think it is cheap but is not with all the weapons well balanced. The Hammer of Dawn kills people very easily but is hard to get off adding balance and the eight weapons in the game are balanced perfectly.

Overall

Overall Gears of War is the best game on the Xbox 360 so far in all aspects. It is the true killer app for next generation systems and one of the best games yet. While the single player is a bit on the short side the relpay value is tremendous and you realize one thing about it – it is fun and that is what matters. It’s not perfect but it’s not bad, it’s a step or two from perfect but so is Halo. If you do not buy the game because Master Chief isn’t in it you are a fool. This is the best third person shooter ever.

9.6 Stars out of 10 Stars – Live Gamer Editor’s Choice Award

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