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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Marcus and co star in the Xbox 360's first true classic
Marcus and co star in the Xbox 360's first true classic

Marcus and co star in the Xbox 360's first true classic

Reviewing Gears of War is a lose-lose situation for video game critics. If you say it's one of the greatest games ever made you'll be labelled a fanboy who has fallen for the hype, but say it's just a good action game and you'll be called clueless and an obvious Microsoft hater. I might as well stick my fanboy hat on then, as Gears of War is everything Microsoft wanted it to be. Contrary to some opinions, the next generation of gaming clearly starts when Epic says so. Game of the year? Quite possibly.

There's a war going on and the planet is in desperate need of soldiers to fight the Locust (a lizard-like alien species) army that has risen. The humans are completely outnumbered, but you work with an ever-changing squad of men that are more than up to the task of kicking Locust butt. These aren't any ordinary men; they're almost caricatures of beefed up soldiers, with biceps the size of trucks and necks that are ten-feet wide. The story is a simple one, but it's as dramatic as they come, with some stunning cutscenes and plenty of banter between squad mates giving you little glimpses into the back-story.

Despite Epic Games' pedigree in first-person shooters, Gears of War is a third-person shooter with a strong emphasis on cover. As the brute-like Marcus Fenix, a tougher than tough soldier, you must utilise the environment (and many conveniently placed concrete barricades) to stay alive. The 'A' button is the key to this, throwing Marcus into a wall if he's close enough, popping him out to new cover or for making him roadie run (a crouched run). It takes time to get the hang of, but after an hour or so you'll be throwing Marcus around with a swiftness that defies his immense size.

When in cover you have a number of options. If you're taking heavy fire from nearby enemies you can blind-fire, causing them to retreat to a more manageable distance, but the most effective technique is to peek out and take aim. This obviously puts you in danger, but Marcus is a strong guy and as long as you don't take sustained fire, and duck back behind cover after each spent clip, picking off distant enemies isn't too tricky. An excellent sniper rifle makes the job even simpler, and numerous other excellent weapons all have their uses, including a helping hand from up above and an under-gun chainsaw.

Taking cover is key to staying alive

Taking cover is key to staying alive

Your problem is that enemies don't remain in one place. The enemy AI isn't groundbreaking, but they'll attempt to flank you, lob grenades at you, and even charge right at you. The charge is perhaps the scariest thing that can happen in combat situations while playing Gears. You feel quite safe if enemies remain at a distance, but if they run at you, panic sets in. If a whole clip doesn't put them down, you're in deep trouble, especially if you fluff the reload.

Fluff the reload? Why yes, in Gears of War reloading is a skill in itself, with a correctly timed button-press reloading your weapon in no-time, while a miss-timed reload will cause Marcus to struggle, meaning you're left helpless for a few seconds longer. It's a simple concept, but it makes combat feel fresh. It's one thing being in good cover, but that cover isn't going to help when a Locust chainsaws you in half while you're faffing around with an ammo clip. The reload action itself is incredibly simple, but when the pressure is on it's remarkable how many times you stuff up.

Enemy variety is top drawer, with new enemies being introduced as you progress through the campaign. There are some real nasty buggers, and bosses aren't too pleasant either, often being quite large, and always incredibly powerful. Enemies generally emerge from aptly named 'Emergence holes' and if you can block these holes quickly (with a grenade) you can effectively cut off the threat before it's had a chance to develop. It's easier said than done though, as throwing a grenade leaves you pretty vulnerable, and unless you're quick the Locust soldiers will be on you.

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User Comments

aabubakar_1's Avatar


Gears of war is the best but I hope its no wer near HALO i mean dont get me wrong i bought it and it was amazing. But the only dissapointed with it would have to be the short campaign mode. Hopefully halo can give both.HOPEFULLY
Posted 13:06 on 29 November 2006
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billytech@ shagnew

Anyone who can't figure out Gears of war, does NOT belong on this page, for god sakes push the "A" button, very difficult.
Here in America we have both the PS3 and X Box360, When you see resistance and Gears side by side, you will NOT be impressed with Sony.
When viewed alone they look awesome, but together, and you see how MUCH actual detail is glossed over on the PS3.
Don't believe me? Wait till March and judge for yourself. And keep in mind, Resistance is an in house game for the PS3, they knew its abilities for two years.
Posted 21:41 on 28 November 2006
xboxlive's Avatar


thanks vandy
Posted 23:28 on 24 November 2006
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vandy@ shagnew

Callum: Please don't be rude. Nothing wrong with correcting people but don't call them an idiot. Everyone's only human.
Posted 22:06 on 24 November 2006
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Callum@ shagnew

xbox live, learn to read you idiot i never said the only games out for the 360 are driving or fps.i said their the only decent ones on the 360 at the moment. i like fighting and sports games also but there mostly average games.
Posted 11:07 on 24 November 2006
xboxlive's Avatar


o ya just to point out to you the games for the xbox360 are not just driving or fps games out
just look like you dont look around 4 you games
there sport games out
fighting games out
and a lot more
take alook around frist i would before you rip sh*t out of xbox360
Posted 17:08 on 22 November 2006
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shagnew@ shagnew

F**k me what does it take for sum individuals to be happy!... GOW has (& I quote), "buggy controls, small online play, generic gameplay hardly innovative or unique or dynamic" or my favourite being, "graphics are ok but theres nothing new in this game which has not been done before. ive had an xbox360 for 6 months and im not impressed,is it just me or the only decent games are either driving or sorry to say this but i cant wait for the PS3(R.I.P XBOX360)!"..... Ok have people lost their f**king minds!

Seriously.... I have played GOW all weekend & it is just everything you desire in a game! Top quality graphics, sound, A.I, controls & environments.... the list is endless!! Will certain individuals start to recognise that just because there isn't any big Tit*ies to wa*k over that GOW isn't worth buying?! F**king respect 360 & its wealth of power! 10 outta 10 is correct!!
Posted 16:44 on 22 November 2006
Howie_360's Avatar

Howie_360 they sell dem gamestation dont
Posted 21:45 on 21 November 2006
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xboxlive@ Dave

Originally Posted by Dave
can anyone help can you buy the adaptor for the xbox360 in the shops(uk) cause theres no power in mine i thought it was the fuse but i was wrong, if so which shops and how much

you should be try
Posted 21:43 on 21 November 2006
Howie_360's Avatar


GoW is a no go , badly figured out controlls and riddled with faults PLEASE people save your money its like a 3rd of the price of the nintendo Wii p.s. the 360 kiks ass
Posted 21:26 on 21 November 2006
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Dave@ shagnew

can anyone help can you buy the adaptor for the xbox360 in the shops(uk) cause theres no power in mine i thought it was the fuse but i was wrong, if so which shops and how much
Posted 21:16 on 21 November 2006
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Matt@ shagnew

Callum, i have a cousin in america who was lucky enough to get a PS3 plus resistance:fall of man and ridge racer.after playing gears of war at his mates he now wished he bought an xbox 360.
Posted 19:22 on 21 November 2006
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JustReadTHIS@ shagnew

Ok just read this if your a future sony buyer , just read it damnit and dont be so freakin Naive!!
Posted 17:54 on 21 November 2006
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DEANO@ shagnew

awesome graphics........but boring gameplay,weak A.I. ,take away the graphics just another average game.
Posted 12:46 on 21 November 2006
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Anonymous@ shagnew

Callum, Read the reviews , your telling me they are all wrong? PS3=Slilly little chav boys
Posted 11:07 on 21 November 2006

Game Stats

Technical Specs
Gears of War
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: 557 48
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