Gears of War
I must admit, I’m not a big fan of shooters for consoles. That’s mainly the reason why I never bought a 360 with this title. One day, i thought, they, being Microsoft of course, would release Gears of War for PC so that I could enjoy it as well. About a year has passed since then and look, that day is finally there. Time to see if this AAA-license hasn’t lost it’s edge.
Looking back on things, I’m actually quite glad I never played the game before because for that long year of waiting patiently, us pc-gamers get something extra from the nice people at Microsoft. Amongst other things, some new acts have been added to the single-player campaign (one of them being a fight against the monstrous Brumak) wich gives this offline part of the game a decent length. Add to that three difficulties to try out and you know you’ve got more than a few hours of joy ahead of you.
And believe me when I say that enjoyable is a big understatement when we’re talking about Gears of War. As you follow the storyline of the game you’ll go through a varied bunch of missions that will ultimately lead you on a path to rid Earth of the Locust, being the alien vermin at hand. One flaw here might be that the developers didn’t really seem to care about a serious plot and that because of that you won’t know how the Locust got here, what they want or even what the background of the main characters is. Luckily, you’ll probably be too busy killing these monstrosities even notice it.
But don’t think killing these things will go at all because just as you can take cover behind walls and such, something you’ll be doing a lot in this game, they will also take cover when you start firing at them. If you face larger groups of Locust, they will even try to distract you to give their comrades the chance of flanking you, really nice. Should they be successful in perfoming such a move you can always count on an arsenal of projectile weapons, explosives and of course your secret weapon, the dreaded chainsaw. With this weapon you can easily dispose yourself of any enemies that get too close. Performing such an execution will literally cause the blood to drip off your screen, something that really shows the gorgeous graphics this game delivers.
Although this particular effect might be one of the most spectacular you’ll see, the rest of the package is certainly of an equally high standard. It’s just very obvious that a tremendous amount of work has gone into this game. All the surroundings are very stylish, the main characters are very detailed and the weather effects also contribute to the dark look-and-feel of a world that’s at the brink of destruction. If you ask me, even other triple-A titles like Crysis don’t come close to what Gears of War has to offer. It doesn’t stop there however, your ears will get an equally nice treatment. The voice-acting is very good and the soundtrack is even better, epical during the action-packed fights and quiet and easy inbetween. An example for all future games!
Once you feel like you’ve been there, done the singleplayer, Gears of War will offer you two more options to prolong the pleasure. One of these is the co-op mode where you can replace the reckless AI bots by one of your own friends and play the entire storyline again. The other one is, as expected, an online multiplayer. If you look at it seperately, this online mode is really good but it also has a few problems. The first of these problems is the fact that it was released in the same period of two multiplayer kings, Call of Duty 4 and Unreal Tournament 3, wich leads to fact that you won’t find an abundance of people online. The second problem is that to be able to fully enjoy the multiplayer, you’ll need a Gold Account. You can of course play online with a free Silver account, but you won’t be able to join ranked matches and such. If you sum these two problems up, you can easily see why this game won’t be as big a hit on PC as it was on Xbox360 a year ago and frankly it’s their own fault. It’s just a shame because with three extra maps and frantic gameplay, this could have been very, very good.
In short, this game is just simply a must-have for anyone who hasn’t played this game before. I even think that some hardcore fans of the series will buy this one, just for that one fight with the Brumak. So did it lose it’s edge? Well, the answer to that is no, which really says it all.