Blog on journalism, technology, video games (PC, console, handheld, etc), my opinions and more.
Can you make a backwards R?
Published on September 21, 2007 By iTZKooPA In Gaming
Well first things first you should notice that I am playing with the formatting of my reviews a little. Hopefully this will add a bit of structure to what can sometimes be described as rambling. Although JoeUser is incredibly annoying to format and test things with but hopefully I can figure it out soon enough. Secondly and more importantly, I encourage any gamer near a Toy R Us to go and check out the store or at the very least the website because they are having a 'Buy 2 Get 1 Free' sale (again) on games. I actually went to the store because mine is pretty local and the advertisement IN the store said the deal was on ALL video games, not just select titles like the website lists. Managed to pickup three Wii games, Super Paper Mario, Metroid Prime 3: Corruption and Mario Strikers Charged. All titles that I really wanted but I only wanted Strikers right now since I haven't even played Metroid Prime 2: Echoes (GC) or Paper Mario and The Thousand Year Door (GC) yet despite owning both of them. Unfortunately there was nothing else I really wanted to spend money on at the moment for any other console, handheld or PC. Oh, I guess I should mention that I came privy (girlfriend got it for her birthday) to The Darkness for Xbox360 a few weeks ago as well. Speaking of the Xbox360...




Visuals & Level Design

Gears of War came out just shy of a year ago and although I beat the game within a few weeks of playing it I felt that I needed more time with it before reviewing it. Now that I have completed easy and medium difficulty and have almost finished hard as well as putting some hour into the Multiplayer I believe I am qualified to say what everyone else has been saying, the game rocks.

First lets start off with Xbox360's biggest feature, next-gen graphics. GoW certainly delivers on that aspect, looking stunning even at the pseudo-HD of 720p. Yes my TV can do 1080i but as most videophiles will attest too visuals with quick movements and lots of explosions are best watched in 720p or 1080p. The interlacing of 1080i just can't really compete with the full-screen signal of 720p.

For me the sharpness of the graphics don't really matter if only a few things on screen look amazing. Actually even then they aren't anywhere near the most important thing but that isn't something to worry about here, it is Epic Games. Naturally they delivered a visual experience from the ground up. The level designs follow along with a mix of close quarter combat and open killing fields that allow you to grasp just how powerful and pretty the Xbox360 can be. Each level is presented in full, no pop-up graphics or any bullshit like that. You can look down a long corridor and see buildings in good detail all around you. The use of shadows and darkness was probably not simply and atmosphere gimmick but hey they pulled it off very well, my eyeballs were highly satisfied.




Gameplay

What does matter most to me is the gameplay, and if gameplay can be pretty then GoW delivers. From the opening firefight you will be diving and rolling behind cover as you try to advance on your enemies. Epic added in a 'quick reload' feature, hit the reload button a second time at the appropriate moment to stop your weapon from jamming, which adds even more to the twitch gaming that this third-person shooter brings to the table. As usual with a solid title I could go on and on but what's the point in telling you what you have probably already read.

Despite its awesome-ness I do have two complaints with the gameplay. First off the weapon selection is pretty low, although thats not my main problem. Aside from your main Assault Rifle and perhaps the Sniper Rifle and Hammer of Dawn, you hardly ever get a good reason to use the other weapons. That compounded with the limited amount of weapons in the first place makes Gears feel like there isn't any diversity in the gun play at all. They should have added some more fortified machine gun batteries that needed the rocket launcher or perhaps an awesome grenade toss to bust and some levels where the Sniper Rifle was almost a requirement. My second complaint with the gameplay is more of a design aspect. I enjoyed the vehicle level a lot despite how annoying it is to focus the light on the Locust but seeing as its the only level of its kind it just kinda seems thrown in the game for no reason. Most likely there were two vehicle levels originally slated for the game but as we know the Brumak segment was removed but was eluded to as a vehicle get-away level.




Story & Length

The biggest flaw in the whole game is simply the lack of and length of the story. We learn very little about any of the characters that we control and only the very basics of the war we are fighting as a whole. Of course seeing as the game can be easily beaten in one sitting, just a few hours on your first attempt, its not such a weird idea that there is no time to tell us anything. Luckily the multiplayer is awesome which keeps the replayability at a high point, for me the most replayable Xbox360 game I own by far. The multiplayer is everything you would expect from an Epic title and when paired up with Xbox Live, it just got that much better.




In Closing

So I will reiterate, the game rocks but it does have it's flaws which I will add one more before we go. CliffyB and Mark Rein have already stated that they hope Gears becomes the new Halo in terms of popularity and I personally believe that GoW is better than both Halo's that are currently out so its definitely possible. That maybe a bold statement but Halo never really shook up my world like it did to so many other people. I'll admit that Halo brought more innovation than Gears, GoW had very little, but it was an insanely polished title along the lines of what World of Warcraft did to the MMO field. But most of Halo's innovation was from the use of Xbox Live which Gears used and added to. For me Goldeneye 007 and Perfect Dark had already shown that console shooters were doable and highly successful a generation before and they take the cake for that. So my final opinion? Anyone who think they can handle the twitch gaming should grab GoW, but if you have a slick PC I would recommend just waiting for the PC version since it will have extra content, hopefully another vehicle level and then some.

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