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Platform: Xbox 360
Genre: Action / Survival Horror
Publisher: Microsoft
Developer: Epic Games
ESRB: Fall 2005

 

Related Articles:

Review: Unreal 2: The Awakening (PC)

Review: Unreal Tournament 2003 (PC)

 

 

 

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Gears of War

 

gears-war-1.jpg (55922 bytes)         gears-war-2.jpg (50531 bytes)

 

Hey, kids.  Do you like the pretty pictures?  How about bloodthirsty, creepy warrior fiend thingies?  Do you like the idea of grabbing a very big gun, and proceeding to mercilessly blast the aforementioned fiends back to where they came from?  If you said yes to these questions, then Cliff Bleszinski and his band of merry developers over at Epic Games have a little something for you in the form of Gears of War for the Xbox 360, due out some time in 2006.

 

As a third person action shooter with a survival horror flair, Gears of War will thrust players into the role of Marcus Fenix, a disgraced war hero who must lead his troops against an invading force of fiends called the Locust Horde.  The game takes place on a planet called Sera, where a human colony had been established for some time.  It was here that a new, 

and very powerful energy source called imulsion was discovered, which resulted in war erupting as different groups vied for this new energy source.  With time the imulsion awakened the Locust Horde who quickly made a beeline for the human soldiers, more than a little miffed about being woken up.

 

What anyone who takes a gander at the images for Gears of War will quickly notice, though, is that the game is very, very easy on the eyes, acting both as a showcase of what the Xbox 360 will be able to do, as well as Epic’s new game engine, the Unreal Engine 3.  The detail on all of the characters, monsters, environments, and so 

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forth is really something, and yet it is in fact being done in real-time.  Looking at a game like this it’s easy to start understanding what game publishers were talking about when they said next generation titles will cost a fortune to make.

 

The game itself is planned to lean more towards a single-player experience, as gamers make their way through the story Gears of War is trying to tell.  There will be some exclusively multi-player options in the game, but they’ll still be playing second fiddle to the single-player game.  Interestingly, a buddy can grab a second controller and join in the single-player game, or hop onboard via Xbox Live and do the same, so there will be the option to play with friends, but in a cooperative manner instead of head-to-head.  Even if a friend doesn’t join in, the rest of a player's unit of men will still accompany players, as they make their way through the levels.

 

While it’s tempting to assume that the game will be a mindless orgy of gunfire, Gears of War will have a different sort of pacing to it.  Players will enter an area where they will be attacked, forcing them to take cover, and find a way to punch a hole in the enemy’s onslaught so that they can move on.  With this sort of pacing, it’s easy to see how the survival horror elements of the game will come into play, as there is plenty of opportunity for players to enter a new installation or whatever and notice that things are pretty quiet…almost too quiet.

 

There’s no doubt that Gears of War is easy on the eyes, and that the way the game’s pacing is going for a strange juxtaposition of intensity and stop-and-go movement could prove interesting.  As such, it is looking increasingly likely that the title will be one that many early adopters of the Xbox 360 will be keeping a very close eye on.  Hopefully Gears of War will live up to expectations.

 

Mr. Nash

(May 23, 2005)