“Beautiful Destruction” is what Epic Games called their masterpiece, Gears of War. This game starts players off on an earth like planet called Sierra. Not much story is given as you are thrown right into the action as your friend Dom breaks you out of prison. Your enemy: Locust. They’ve come out of the ground and are bent on taking over Sierra. Locust come in all shapes and sizes, from small monkey like creatures, to massive spider like monsters. As Marcus, Dom, and the rest of your squad progress through the game you encounter all the typical FPS missions and the end of the game leaves you with a cliffhanger. And lastly, the ability to play 2 player Co-op over Xbox Live improved the singleplayer experience tremendously.
Gears of War has sold almost 5 million copies to date and was Microsoft’s lone true AAA of an otherwise quiet late ‘06/early ’07. But do sales reflect quality?
With similar pick-up-and-play, first person shooter gameplay as the Halo games, this game caught on quickly with Xbox 360 owners. With one advantage over its competition…graphics.
Gears of War raised the bar for console game graphics, even now, a year later; few games can compete with this games sheer beauty. A gritty FPS with colour might be the best way to describe it. Gears pulls away from the typical grey looking shooter games but keeps, and improves upon said grittiness. Great textures and extremely life-like character models really pull you into this game, and the blood and gore stick you to it. Weapons such as the Lancer which has the ability to chainsaw an enemy in half, and the Hammer of Dawn with its ability to vaporize definitely enticed the horror/gore loving crowd.
But top of the line Campaign mode, with superb graphics and gameplay isn’t the reason those 5,000,000 bought this game. Per-round gameplay and 10 original maps with 3 different gametypes are just some of the reasons this game beat out Halo 2 for most played game on Xbox Live. Gamers could either head to Player Matches and play with friends, or take a stab at Ranked and play against the world. Intense battles and replay worthy kills are what kept people up until 4 am playing this gem.
But Gears of War definitely does have some faults. A short campaign and really not much a story gave the actual singleplayer experience an O.K. feeling. While anyone, good connection or not, is allowed to host a game in the Online Multiplayer which sometimes lead to extreme lag in a game and at times frustrated the hell out of many. Also, online updates from Epic with the hopes of making the game better turned out to negatively affect the game. From differences in Host Advantage and the flip-flopping of how much power certain weapons had were enough for some to just lose interest. And on a final negative note, the game lobby in online matches was good for today’s standards, but with most online multiplayer games post-2004, Epic should have copied Halo 2’s style of game lobby and matchmaking. Speaking of, Gears of War didn’t even have matchmaking. It would hold this worst-matchmaking-system title for 12 months until a certain Duty Called.
Alas, we’ve reached the best part of the review. Achievements. With a good per level and per difficulty set up, the achievements for the singleplayer campaign were a blast and getting them all was something I thoroughly enjoyed. But the Multiplayer achievements are what knocked a few points off of this game. “Get 100 kills with X weapon” seemed to be a requirement for most achievements, which lead players to play certain games only going for the same weapon over and over again, regardless of how good or bad they did that game, just to get the achievement.
Whatever your opinion of the final score, keep in mind that aside from the Halo games, I have not put this many hundreds of hours into any game. But unfortunately for you Marcus, there’s no review category for Longevity.