Make no mistake about it; Gears of War is the next generation action game Xbox 360 owners have been waiting for. It's an impressive achievement that manages to up the ante on nearly every aspect of an action game; it's stunning looking, has some of the best audio you will ever hear and is easily the best online game currently available on Microsoft's year-old console. Regardless of what you think of action games, third-person shooters or online multiplayer games, Gears of War is the game to get this holiday season.
But despite the fact that it's one of the best games of the year, Gears of War is not perfect. It has a few design flaws, features a short campaign and doesn't have the variety one would hope for in an online experience. That shouldn't keep you from having a great time with it, but before you head out and buy this game you should definitely know that it is not the perfect game some other game critics may have you believe. It's still a must-own title for your Xbox 360, but if you're expecting it to be a ten out of ten (or in this case, a 100% out of 100%) you will probably be somewhat disappointed.
Gears of War is a balls-to-the-wall action game the likes you have never seen before; it features action sequences you only see in the movies. Much of the game play centers around you hiding behind walls, rocks, ledges and other obstacles peaking your head out to shoot on-coming aliens. If this sounds simplistic then it's because it is. This is not a game about solving puzzles or using tactical skills to take out your attackers, it's more about getting them before they get you. On paper that may not sound like a lot of fun, but in practice this game is all sorts of fun.
A lot of the reason the game works so well is because it's just so much fun to kill your enemies. The feeling you get from pumping 30 plus bullets into an enemy running right at you cannot be measured, there's a visceral excitement you get from just laying into an enemy and taking him down. Perhaps it's because the enemies you face are huge beasts that look like they require an army to kill, or maybe it's the fact that the game looks so good that you want to see the effects over and over again until you get sick of them. Either way Gears of War ends up as one of the greatest action games released in some time, the type of game you show your friends when you're trying to convince them to upgrade to a next generation console.
The game starts with a group of soldiers breaking your character (Marcus) out of prison. From that moment on Marcus will be forced to go head to head against hundreds of ugly, stone-like bad guys who want him dead. The game really doesn't have much of a story; the set up is more of an excuse to get you into untenable situations that will require you to blow a lot of stuff up. And trust me; you'll be using your guns, missile launchers and grenades a lot in this game. The ultimate goal of the game (from what I can tell) is to bomb a few of the aliens (Locusts) strongholds and then escape. As you might imagine, this is easier said than done.
What the game lacks in storytelling it more than makes up for in all out action. This game is non-stop action, to the point where you may grow tired of the bullets and explosions by the end of the campaign. The good news is that you're constantly being transported to brand new locations. At first you're running through blown out city buildings, but soon you'll be exploring the underground caverns, trudging through a scary old mansion and even riding a high speed train. And just when you think you've seen it all, all of a sudden you (and your teammate, Dom) jump into a mine cart for even more crazy fun. While the game play may not change much over the course of the campaign, at least your environments will. Take my word for it; you will always want to know what happens next.
The game is great at creating memorable situations that you will want to go and play again and again. I've been through the single-player campaign at least three times now and I still want to go back and play through a few of the epic battles Marcus and his crew get themselves into. For example, you will never forget the first time you have to engage the Berserker, a blind character who will charge at anything it hears. Mid way through the second level you find yourself surrounded by an absurd amount of Locusts while you are in a gas station. And there are few bosses as exciting as the Corpser, a large spider-like creature that is hinted at early in the game and fully realized by the end of the third stage. These battles (among others I won't get into here) are just as exciting as anything you've seen in the Halo series, and are on par with some of the greatest action movies ever made.
Buy this game! No, I'm serious. Get off your butt and drive to the store and buy this game right now. If you don't own an Xbox 360 then buy one of those, too. This game will change the way you look at action games, it's a stunning example of how good a game can be if the right people are developing it. You can read this lengthy review first if you want, but by all means buy this game as soon as you possibly can!
This product was submitted by the publisher for review. As a rule, Defunct Games does not review games we spent money on. However, that does not always apply to classic/retro games. This specific product, however, came straight from a PR guy for the purposes of being reviewed!