Home Literature Stories Movies Games Comics News Discussion Forum
  Science Fiction and Fantasy News
Esslemont's Stonewielder Prologue and Cover (07-26)
Deals and Deliveries (9!!!) (09-12)
Indiana Jones and the Army of the Dead by Steve Pe (09-12)
Iron Man: Femmes Fatales by Robert Greenberger (09-12)

Official sffworld Reviews
Big Time, The by Fritz Leiber (05-29 - Book)
Rogue Clone by Steven L. Kent (05-25 - Book)
The Blue Blazes by Chuck Wendig (05-21 - Book)
The Wisdom of the Shire by Noble Smith (05-17 - Book)

Site Index

Official sffworld Game Review    Bookmark and Share

Gears of War


Welcome to the most hyped game of the year. For months now we have been treated to the excess verbiage the games industry is happy to use on games that have, at every appearance, seemed worthy of accolades. Very few industries experience the pre-emptive nature of a product in the way the games industry does and to some extent this removes the surprise factor from 99% of the industries output. So with multiple viewings, screenshots and video analysis under it's belt, Gears of War is finally available for purchase, but has it been spoiled by the acres of media coverage?

The simple answer is no. Gears of War is a game that has to be played to fully understand the experience. After a few brief Menu screens and a small cut scene, the first real look at the small branching option, available in certain sections of the game, appears in the form 'Training' or 'Combat'. It made me chuckle, who in their right mind is going to choose Training over being thrown into the action? Locked and loaded on the hardest difficulty setting available first time around, my character Marcus Fenix waded into the Locust hoarde ... and promptly died. Did anyone mention Training? Whilst not as quick as all that, I did suffer severe life failure early into the game when believing I was Rambo reincarnated. First rule of Gears of War is - keep your head down. Second rule of Gears of War is - you get the idea. What Epic has achieved is a succinct balance between the size of your ammo clip, the accuracy of the enemy and the amount of fresh air above your shoulders. Stand in the open too long and inevitably you'll have to reload, by which time it's more than likely your character is pushing up daises.

To take this concept one step further, aside from seeking cover on a regular basis, you have to control the speed with which you reload your weapon via a bar that you need to click on within a certain area. Too fast and your gun jams, too slow and the enemy gets their licks in. It isn't a massively innovative addition but it does add depth to the action and can apply some serious pressure in tricky situations. Ammo is a limited commodity in Gears of War. There are a sparse few packs littered around the play area, often found directly after a big fight in which you really could have done with them, and the dead Locust bodies occasionally give up some extra, but conservation is a habit best learned early. By shooting only when you have a clear shot, standing in harm's way only when necessary and hoarding weapons like Gollum did the One ring, progress can be made at a fair clip.

This is the first problem of Gears of War though, despite the balance of the gameplay and the gorgeousness of the graphics, it isn't the longest game. There are some fun two players modes and you can play through the Campaign in two player co-op, but the Campaign mode is short. Given the cost of computer games as a hobby today and the increased capacity of the discs that store the games, longevity and as a result value for money should be a central issue for developers when making a game. Fifty pounds, euros or dollars is a lot of money to invest for less than ten hours entertainment and unfortunately Gears of War clocks in under that barrier. A second complaint is the game's highly linear nature that can't be escaped despite the occasional branching option or interesting variation on certain mission templates. It is an on-the-rails shooter with - surprise - a lot of shooting.

Naturally, like the genre itself, Gears of War will divide gaming fans - those who like exploration, a great deal of variety and a more relaxed approach to combat won't find that here. Instead Gears of War is a good looking, teak tough, quick blast of suitably intelligent and varied action to keep gamers enthralled. It doesn’t last as long as it should nor is it the ground-breaking killer app that some would have you believe. But it is a step forward for the next generation, showing great potential for the future and aptly marks the Xbox 360’s first birthday.

9 out of 10

Review by Owen Jones © 2006


Sponsor ads



The Terry Pratchett Anywhere But Here, Anywhen But Now First Novel Prize!
05-31 - News
Stephen King's Joyland UK Promotion
05-30 - News
UK Publisher of Stephen King’s New Novel Unusual Promotion
05-30 - News
Big Time, The by Fritz Leiber
05-29 - Book Review
Rogue Clone by Steven L. Kent
05-25 - Book Review
The Blue Blazes by Chuck Wendig
05-21 - Book Review
The Wisdom of the Shire by Noble Smith
05-17 - Book Review

05-10 - News
The Tyrant's Law by Daniel Abraham
05-04 - Book Review
Galaxy's Edge 1 by Mike Resnick
04-28 - Book Review
Poison by Sarah Pinborough
04-21 - Book Review
Bullington, Beukes and Bacigalupi event
04-19 - News
The City by Stella Gemmell
04-17 - Book Review
Promise of Blood by Brian McClellan
04-15 - Book Review
Tarnished Knight by Jack Campbell
04-09 - Book Review
Frank Hampson: Tomorrow Revisited by Alastair Crompton
04-07 - Book Review
The Forever Knight by John Marco
04-01 - Book Review
Book of Sith - Secrets from the Dark Side by Daniel Wallace
03-31 - Book Review
NOS4R2 by Joe Hill
03-25 - Book Review
Fade to Black by Francis Knight
03-13 - Book Review
The Clone Republic by Steven L. Kent
03-12 - Book Review
The Burn Zone by James K. Decker
03-06 - Book Review
A Conspiracy of Alchemists by Liesel Schwarz
03-04 - Book Review
Blood's Pride by Evie Manieri
02-28 - Book Review
Excerpt: River of Stars by Guy Gavriel Kay
02-27 - Article
Tales of Majipoor by Robert Silverberg
02-24 - Book Review
American Elsewhere by Robert Jackson Bennett
02-20 - Book Review
Evie Manieri Guest Post
02-19 - Article
The Grim Company by Luke Scull
02-17 - Book Review
Red Planet by Robert A. Heinlein
02-11 - Book Review

New Forum Posts

About - Advertising - Contact us - RSS - For Authors & Publishers - Contribute / Submit - Privacy Policy - Community Login
Use of this site indicates your consent to the Terms of Use. The contents of this webpage are copyright © 1997-2011 sffworld.com. All Rights Reserved.