Gears of War

Gears of War Review for Xbox 360

On: Xbox 360PC

Shooter based in a sci-fi universe using the Unreal Engine 3.

Review Verdict Read Review
10Out of 10
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The game is full of arena-like war zones
The game is full of arena-like war zones

The game is full of arena-like war zones

You're constantly forced to move to new cover, and on occasion you simply can't take out certain enemies without running through a dangerous open section. Of course, your team mates help you when they can (although they're not that great and die regularly, and reviving them puts you in danger), but Gears really reaches another level of brilliance if played cooperatively with a friend. Playing alone is great fun, but at times (and due to some less than well thought out checkpoints) things do become a little annoying. When playing cooperatively all the little annoyances simply vanish, as another human player will give you cover, meaning won't die every two minutes.

Thankfully, Epic has allowed two players to play cooperatively via split-screen, using system link, and best of all over Xbox Live. It works remarkably well too, with some of the best net code the 360 has seen, which is no surprise considering Epic's history with the Unreal Tournament series. Saying Gears feels like a completely different game in co-op might seem like hyperbole, but it really does make that much of a difference, turning a great game into something that will help define the Xbox 360.

The campaign is simply one of the most enjoyable I've played, full of brilliant moments and a hell of lot of intense action. Areas are designed so well that you'll be involved in tactical battle after tactical battle, with numerous options available to outsmart the enemy. Throw in some brilliant small touches that really affect the gameplay, and it's hard to see how a third-person shooter could be better. Worries over a short campaign also seem unwarranted. As long as experienced players start on the Hardcore difficulty level (with Insane opening up after a single play through) Gears of War doesn't feel short at all.

Single and cooperative play through the main campaign would have been enough to place Gears in a league of its own on the Xbox 360, but the online Versus game modes are superb as well. Online matches are 4v4 affairs, with no every man for himself deathmatch in sight. Each map is designed around team play, and maps this good are rarely seen in console shooters. The most basic is team deathmatch, but you also get Assassination, in which you need to kill the opposing team's leader to win, and Execution (likely to be the game mode the majority of players stick to), in which fallen enemies need to be executed from up close in order to kill them.

Each map brings players together into a battle zone, but numerous routes allow for flanking manoeuvres. Making use of cover and working as a team is vital, and the small four-man teams make this far easier than in large-scale multiplayer shooters. You can learn to work as a tight unit, covering each other, and outthinking the enemy. Not since Halo 2 has an online console game been so enjoyable, and considering the huge sales that Gears of War is likely to enjoy, there should be plenty of people online for some time to come. The only problem with Gears' versus modes at the moment is the lack of a Halo 2-style matchmaking system. Halo 2 made playing with mates incredibly simple, and it's a mystery why new games aren't copying it.

Did we say it was bloody?

Did we say it was bloody?

And there's one other thing that needs to be mentioned. Gears of War looks absolutely phenomenal. We've had some good looking games on the Xbox 360 so far, but Epic's game chainsaws the visual bar in half, and becomes the new benchmark that all next-gen shooters need to compete with. Concerns over repetitive, dull environments can also be put to bed. You'll blast through some wildly different environments, in day and night, sun and rain, all the time at a nice smooth frame rate. It's bloody too, with the chainsaw causing more than a little red to spill onto the screen.

You'd expect no less than brilliant audio work, and Epic hasn't disappointed. The musical score is perfect, the voice acting is top notch, and while the script might be a little too 'action movie' for some tastes, I found the brutish comments by Marcus and his team to be suitably macho for their parts in the game.

Slight problems with the checkpoint system when playing alone aside, it's hard to see how another game could come along and better what Gears of War does. Played with a friend, on Hardcore, Gears of War is simply an astounding game. Yes, it has the best visuals ever to grace a video game, but it's how these are used to create an intense shooter that make it so good. Add in the best competitive online experience on the Xbox 360, and there's little doubt that Gears will be remembered as a true classic. And true classics only deserve one thing.

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User Comments

St_Taylor_UK's Avatar

St_Taylor_UK

Play some diablo 2 then. You can run that of virtually any PC and it always RULES !
Posted 15:40 on 02 January 2009
poor's Avatar
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poor

s**t i v no ps3 no wii no xbox360..just a pc with 128mo graphiq card :(
Posted 15:34 on 02 January 2009
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TomM

Seems like a bunch of faggot ass PS3 and HALO fanboys in here. If you think controls suck, you suck too bad to learn them. Gears of War owns anything out right now, any game on PS3, and all HALO games. Gears of War 2 will just murder EVERYTHING!
Posted 12:58 on 09 May 2008
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tomtom

meh, another shooter. its not that i dont like shooters i just cant play them 2 save my life. no matter how much i practice i never get better at them. thats why i wont buy this game
Posted 08:56 on 04 April 2008
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jamraki

gears of war rules, put all the graphics and glitch problems to one side as they are just sub issues, this game builds intesity like no other, when u spend the whole week playin gears with only a few hours to sleep then u know its a good game
Posted 11:24 on 03 September 2007
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wido

I just wondered, seeing as GOW has got 10/10 for about everything. Halo3 could knock it off the best first-person shooter. That is when GOW 2 comes out Halo3 would of lost then when GOW 2 comes out. :P
Posted 09:45 on 24 July 2007
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wido

Well i am speech-less, GOW brillant written all over it. You can't say its a boring first-person shooter, your always in the thick of it all. Completed it on casual, hardcore, insane. Still play on it brillant game.
Posted 09:41 on 24 July 2007
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God of Raiden

Nothing will beat GoW, but GoW itself! It may not be a "perfect" game out there, but it is up to the gamers how they will rate this game---I gave it a 10/10 score...ohh, baby! Only GoW2 can take the title to be the new "Best Shooter Game" as soon it comes out and go head-to-head with Halo 3. Between Gow2 & H3?...my best bet is on GoW2--because it's gonna be badder, bloodier, better, and much more exciting features than the previous GoW. So, please, Epic, we want GoW2 as soon as possible...pleeeeeeaaaaasssseee!!!!!!!
Posted 03:09 on 11 June 2007
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PISSED OFF !!!@ MIKE G

after owning an xbox360 for nearly a year ,im not mpressed apart from nfs:carbon is it just me are the only decent games you can play are shoot em ups or car games wheres the variety ? and going by the games lined up for 2007 its just more of the same CRAP !!!! eg:graw2,bioshock,mass effect,halo 3. i hate to say this but i cant wait for the release of the PS3
Posted 17:30 on 01 January 2007
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cairnz970@ shagnew

ryt ppl this games isn't as gd as i expected but its gd in general, the online was suposed 2 be 2-16 players in online in the first talk about the game by the designer but at the end it had 2 be reduced to 2-8 because the game desiner were pushed to 80-100 hours a week
Posted 00:38 on 28 December 2006
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medekai@ MIKE G

dude, you gotta stay in the light. The bird things dont attack in the light. And if you must get through a dark area, RUN! They cant shred ya if they cant catch ya. Then again, avoid any long dark passages,cuz running too far in the dark they'll catch up wit ya. hope that helps...kai
Posted 16:37 on 23 December 2006
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medekai@ shagnew

The only prob with gears, is occasionally you get the whiners, and flat out rude people on live. While it is easy enough to tune'em out, or mute them, Id rather shut then up with brutal and bloody precision butt whoopins. If you want to play with a team player, not a 12 year old, or a whiner, look me up online.---gamertag-Medekai
Posted 16:30 on 23 December 2006
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ps3 is scum@ shagnew

this is serioulsly gonna wipe ps3 off the face of the earth because this game alone will convince people 2 get a 360... burn in hell sony
Posted 07:39 on 15 December 2006
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MIKE G@ shagnew

Absolutley loving the game, its pure class but can some one please please please tell me how you avoid those bird things that sweep down and kill you in the dark. I've shot all the tanks to get light and killed the locusts only to be killed at the end of the stage by the bird things, i know im missing something obvious but could someone please help!!
Posted 17:16 on 11 December 2006
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ajtonio@ shagnew

gears of war looks to be a great game but i wouldnot no as my copy locks up in the training mode and wont go any further help !!!
Posted 14:29 on 02 December 2006

Game Stats

Technical Specs
Gears of War
10
Out of 10
Gears of War
  • Superb online Versus multiplayer
  • Brilliant co-op action
  • Intense fire-fights
  • Truly next-gen presentation
Agree? Disagree? Get Involved!
Release Date: 17/11/2006
Platforms: Xbox 360 , PC
Developer: Epic Games
Publisher: Microsoft
Genre: Action
No. Players: 1-8
Rating: BBFC 18
Site Rank: 480
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