Gears of War

a game by Microsoft
Platform: XBox 360
Editor Rating: 9/10, based on 1 review
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Now that the 360 has been out a year, it's about that time when the developers are finally figuring out the system and how to take advantage of it. One of the most impressive instances of this is Gears of War. Once you start playing, there will be no doubt in your mind that this is a next-gen game in almost every way. Gears of War has been marketed for some time as the next Halo and although those are some big shoes to fill, it's clear that they may be slightly large for Gears of War, but they fit just fine.

The story behind Gears of War is simple, and yet effective. Basically, you're on a planet that has been losing a war against a race known as locusts. These locusts, huge brutes of which ugly doesn't do them justice, burrowed under all the major cities and executed a devastating surprise attack and decimated the defenses and population. In one of these battles, a soldier named Marcus Fenix disobeyed orders in an attempt to save his father and found himself in prison. That was 13 years ago and the war hasn't gone any better. Now the prison Marcus Fenix is in gets over run and a pardon comes his way, along with every other prisoner, freeing him to rejoin the fight.

The first thing that will impress you about Gears of War is the visuals. Large environments, extremely high levels of detail, beautifully designed areas all show off the 360's capabilities and set a new standard for visual effects. The sound effects are close behind as well and help immerse you into the Gears of War universe.

That's only the start however. Once the game begins you'll start to notice a few other things as well. First thing many of us will discovered is that running straight at the enemy, firing wildly is a great way to get plastered. Upon further review, it became clear that this AI wasn't the stand and shoot variety and required more planning. In addition, learning to cover behind various objects also plays a key role as you aren't going to be ignored standing in the open firing either. Basically, the developers clearly attempted to weave elements of actual combat into this game and it shows.

As you can imagine, the multiplayer component has a strong showing as well and includes a split screen option to play through the campaign along with the various other multiplayer options.

The hype surrounding Gears of War has clearly been justified and given more substance then might be expected. But then again, the stakes are high. As the PS3 entered the market with a handful of titles available and few coming in the next months, games like Gears of War make the cost and availability of the PS3 that much more difficult to swallow.

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