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Gears of War XBox 360 Review - -

Gameplay 9.2
Graphics 9.4
Sound 9.3
Value 9.2
Distributor: Activision
Review Date:
December 2006
Geoff Clarke


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Gears of War

Gears of War is the latest squad based third person shooter from Microsoft that uses the powerful Unreal engine by Epic games to give players one of the most unique gaming experiences since the advent of Halo on the XBox. Gears of War on the XBox 360 is not your stock standard squad based third person shooter and features one of the most intensive storylines, magnificent graphics and gameplay to really shake the industry.


  • Engaging, cinematic story: In this epic tale that plays out like a Hollywood blockbuster, lead Marcus Fenix as he pits advanced human technology against the overwhelming Locust Horde.

  • Fire team co-op: A.I. teammates are indiscernible from human players.

  • Voice recognition and real-time lip synching heighten the immersive experience.

  • Unprecedented visuals: Unreal Engine 3 technology brings out the smallest details in the largest battle. Experience a rich, dynamic world where characters come to life.

  • Intense, hyper-realistic combat: The battlefield is a lethal place. To survive, suppress your enemy with blindfire, take cover in interactiveenvironments, or use weapons and teammates to outwit your foes.

  • Xbox Live® action: With the next-generation of Xbox Live, experience
    individualized matchmaking, view player statistics, earn player achievements,
    customize games, and build and personalize gamer profiles.

The story of Gears of War takes place on a colonised planet that is similar to Earth and when the battle scared history of mankind believe that their trials and tribulations are over, the Locust, a strange alien race start to spew forth from the ground and declare war on the ancestors of planet Earth. In its essence, Gears of War is your traditional first person style shooter that is set in third person and the gamer must embark on a variety of different missions while taking on the forces of the Locust that range from your basic human-size grunts to huge behemoths.

Graphically and technically, Gears of Wars is one of the best looking games on the XBox 360 that even though it appears that it is pushing the limits of the console, the machine does not even shrug at the highly detailed gaming environments. The attention to detail on everything from the facial expressions of the characters to the textures on the brickwork is perfect and match that with an almost infinite draw distance and the first level will have you in awe.

As with the graphics, the musical score and sound effects are amazing and sound brilliant through our Dolby Digital 5.1 surround sound setup. The sounds of weapons and all the background ambience almost make you feel like you are on an alien world, far from the planet Earth. The voice acting of the game has been professionally implemented and sounds like your traditional Hollywood science fiction epic such as Aliens or Starship Troopers and that is also the same feeling you will get while playing the game.

Although the game supports a great single-player experience, there is also a great multiplayer option that allows for XBox Live and if you wish to complete the campaign mode with a friend, then there is also an option for that. I must also commend the developers on the level designs that are sometimes so complex, it really makes you wonder how on Earth they created this amazing gaming environment. Another interesting feature of Gears of War is that if you're having difficulty on a certain level, a friend can join in your game (even online) and assist you with the level that makes for some brilliant co-op fun.

As to the game is a squad based shooter, you must work with your squad to break through the ranks of the Locust and allows you to perform special maneuvers such as flanking the enemy that makes for some really intensive gameplay. The artificial intelligence of both the enemies and your squad is almost human-like in their behaviour but with that said; don't rely on your squad to complete all the missions. If you get injured on the field (or if you squad members are hurt), you can get healed by other members of your team, even if you are almost dead, be warned though, the further you are away from squad members, the less likely you are to be revived.

The control system of Gears of War is perfect, although I must admit that it take a little while getting use to the "blur" effect, especially when turning. However once your brain acclimatises to the game, you should have no problem at all with the gaming environment or interface. There are also a variety of weapons in the game that also sports the trusty chainsaw for those closer encounters of the fourth kind. Rifles, guns and rocket launchers, Gears of War definitely has a weapon for you.

In conclusion, Gears of War is a brilliant game on the XBox 360 that features a true next-generation console gaming experience with extraordinary graphics, perfect gameplay and a storyline that will sure to immerse you into this amazing universe. Great stuff!

The Story behind Gears of War

Sera has endured millenia of conflict, teetering on the brink of a world war that guaranteed Armageddon.Humanity pulled back from this act of self-destruction and evolved into something nobler. For a time, the hush of peace blanketed the land. There were still problems: skirmishes, crime, debates over liberties, and a demand for energy that outstripped Sera's reserves of petroleum and nuclear fuels. There was, however, hope. Sera's cities became sparkling examples for future generations that this was a new Golden Age.

...or so we all thought.

IMULSION: Discovered by an oil-exploration drill, is a low viscosity fluid that was only a scientific curiosity until a way was discovered to convert a portion of it's mass directly into energy. It was a perfect solution for an energy-hungry world. The few nations lucky to have Imulsion reserves were suddenly the owners of cheap, limitless fuel, and the envy of other less-fortunate nations on Sera.

THE PENDULUM WARS: Hydrocarbon energy was ultimately abandoned in favor of Imulsion. Soon thereafter the world economy crashed due to rampant Imulsion speculation, and as expected, humanity reasserted it's true nature. Under the guise of thinly veiled politics, Imulsion-poor nations attacked those with abundant reserves. For 79 years, nations battled one another for possession of the miraculous energy source.

EMERGENCE DAY: As humanity fought on the surface of Sera, a new enemy, the Locust, gathered underground and launched an attack unimagined in our worst nightmares. On this day, humans ceased fighting one another... they had to. Within 24 hours, one quarter of the human population perished in the locust onslaught. Human forces rallied, but divided by decades of fighting in the Pendulum Wars, it was too little, too late. The Locust captured most urban, military, and manufacturing centers. To deny our enemies this overwhelming advantage, humans did the unthinkable.

Human forces fell back to Jacinto Plateau, a geological region of solid granite the Locust could not penetrate. From this haven, human leaders unleashed chemical and orbital-beam weapons that burned the enemy...along with the Locust-occupied cities...and civilians who could not evacuate. Humans won the E-day invasion, but 90% of Sera's surface was left a wasteland. The Locust, secure in their underground warrens, survived.

OUR LAST STAND: Humanity has been backed into a corner...although some might say that we painted ourselves into this spot. If we hadn't fought each other so hard for so long, would we have been better prepared to face the Locust Horde? Would the nightmares that boiled out of the ground on Emergence Day have faced a strong, united mankind?

...Or would we have all been killed that day if we hadn't been hardened by decades of conflict?

Funny that it took our near-extinction to get us to fight together as brothers. So, there's hope that we might have learned something, after all. I just hope it wasn't too late.

(Journal entry found on COG GEAR / Morgue Ref No.:086330-KX)


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