Gears of War

Overview

Each year there are a few games that have got the tons of hype and the majority of the gaming markets eyes just watching, waiting, and seeking the final results of the developers work. In previous years it has been games like Halo, Grand Theft Auto, and Metal Gear Solid. This year it is Epic Games’ Gears of War for the Xbox 360, probably the single most hyped game of 2006 and it is finally after all the wait is available for the Xbox 360 and on store shelves. The big question then arises was the game worth all the anticipation? Or like many things that have the gaming world’s eye does it fail to produce the breathtaking experience it promised? Read our full review of Gears of War for the Xbox 360 to find out!

Gameplay

Hype can be a double edged sword, with some games live up to the hype while others just fall flat on their faces. I am pleased to just come out and say that Gears of War definitely delivers on all fronts. Gears of War opens right up with a cinematic bang, where you see your character Marcus Fenix, one of the most stunning video game characters, sitting in a jail cell. The planet has been swarmed by these evil locusts and the human race is nearly annihilated. The cut scene continues with an old compatriot of yours coming in and opening your cell. From there the game takes off on a few different fronts, keeping a very interesting and well thought out storyline. The story actually plays an extremely significant role in the progress of the game, and like what we found in games like Metal Gear Solid, really pushes the single player experience forward with a great amount of momentum.

The single player campaign is as challenging as they come, no matter what difficulty level you put the game on. If you have the patience and the will power to try it on some of the harder settings, you are going to be in for one tough adventure. The game is not a run and gun shooter, but instead a very strategic and well thought out shooter that makes using cover a necessity rather than an option. If you do try a run and gun style approach you can expect to die over and over again, as the game just really doesn’t allow you to do that, no matter how skilled you are. However when times do get up close and personal you do have some melee attacks, which in fact you learn very early on that your starting weapon in the game is also a chain saw and works for some pretty terrific kills.

The single player campaign is really paced to absolute perfection as you never really get the feeling that you are at or doing the same thing twice. In fact, much of Gears of War is just trying to anticipate what is around the next corner. Another huge factor to the single player campaign is your team mates, which can heal you if you’re wounded, or vice versa. This team combat is actually really good, and the AI on both sides really reacts to this extremely well. This leads up to the co-op, which can be played either split screen or online, both of which are extremely satisfying and well developed. If you have a friend that comes online while you’re playing the single player, feel free to invite him in and have him come along for the ride. This is just such a comprehensive experience that is hard not to just be awestruck the first few times you take advantage of it. The co-op really expands what is somewhat of a short single player campaign into one that you will have no problem going back and playing again.

But of course the single player isn’t the only draw of Gears of War, as the multiplayer has had just as much hype as the single player has, if not more! Surprisingly though there are only three different game types online, which include Warzone, Assassination, and then there is Execution. All three are just variations on the Deathmatch style game, and all of them work extremely well. Without going into an overwhelming amount of detail, I should mention that the online play is actually the smoothest experience online I have had on the 360 thus far. The online play never experienced any sort of lag and really managed to keep things heart pounding and interesting.

When I look at Gears of War, I see one of the best playing games thus far on the Xbox 360. The game just brings in such a strong tactical sense that it really is hard to put it down. There are a few minor problems that keep it from being perfect, with some weird AI quirks that happen at times through the game and the single player being a bit short if you just want to play it by yourself. However in the end, Gears of War plays better than I think most can even imagine.

Graphics

Visually this is the best looking game the Xbox 360 has seen, bar none. The amount of detail that goes into every single environment in this game is just absolutely breathtaking. The way in which your character moves throughout the environment is also a pretty realistic and smooth. The environments are very destructible as well and really react to the action on the screen with some great effects. The entire game from start to finish is just as good as they come these days and if you have an HD set this is the game that you’re going to want to show off to your friends with.

Fun Factor

As much as Gears of War has been hyped, and as much as the game has been talked about, it still manages to live up to every single expectation I have had about the game, plus some. Gears of War has an amazing single player campaign that is a bit short but manages to keep an amazing sense of style throughout the whole experience. It has the online component which offers both great multiplayer action and amazing co-op that really allows you to get a full experience with the game. Gears of War is a well thought out extremely well made game that manages to bring in so many different elements for one enjoyable game.

Overall

In the end, Gears of War quite possible could be the best game the Xbox 360 has seen thus far in its short lifetime. Gears of War has all of the makings of a great game, with gorgeous visuals, fantastic gameplay, and just one of the most entertaining shooters of a long time. Gears of War has everything that makes up a great game plus much more. If you have a 360, there is no reason why you should have Gears of War along with it.

The owner and editor-in-chief of Darkstation.com. I've been apart of the website since 2002 and purchased the website in 2010. Owning and running Darkstation is a dream come true. I love video games and I love writing and talking about them even more.