Posted by The Lam | Jan 20, 2009
Gears of F**ckin' War! (Xbox 360)

After two years of waiting, I finally got my hands on Gears of War. I solely blame this game's ad campaign for initially triggering my desires for an Xbox 360. Do you remember those ads in late 2006? They mixed scenes within the game to the song by Gary Jules, "Mad World". It's poetic.

The story is your standard sci-fi affair - an alien race is trying to take over the world, and you as the humans must foil their plans. The main character of the game is an overgrown, over-muscled, and chiseled ex-convict named Marcus Fenix. You and your team of grunts are charged with the mission of stopping an alien insurgence, a race dubbed The Locusts. If you're looking for a game with an in-depth and intriguing story, you might want to look elsewhere. But if you're looking for a game to shoot shit up with, then Gears of War is your best friend.

The game plays like a first person shooter but is more of a hybrid between that and the third person perspective. Your character hovers around the lower left side of the screen as you move and run around, but if you scope in with your gun, a cross hair will be added, and will play more similarly to a first person shooter. The key to success in Gears is ducking and covering. Just about every object, wall, and building you come across can be used for cover, effective for avoiding enemy fire. It works quite well unless an enemy lobs a grenade in your direction, in that case, you might want to run. The life system is similar to that found in the Call of Duty series; you're basically invincible just as long as you avoid being hit consecutively by enemy fire.

The game is simply beautiful on the eyes. The designs of the levels burst out with such detail. For me, the best levels are the ones outdoors and during the day. There are a few levels in caverns and/or at night-time that were frustrating because it made it difficult to see the enemies.

I think what makes the game so great are all the subtle qualities. For example:
-all the clinking sounds of your gear as you're running around
-the way the camera turns into a shaky cam style when you run (akin to any of the Bourne Identity movies)
-the foul mouthed soldiers that make up your team

Gears of War was everything I imagined it would be. The only complaint I'd say is that it would have been more convenient to either have a mini-map, full-map, or onscreen radar for use.

As I mentioned in my previous post, I love the ability you have to customize the soundtrack. The three albums I found most effective with playing Gears are: Sigur Ros' - Takk, The Devil Wears Prada - Plagues, and 28 Weeks Later - Official Soundtrack.

Anyhow, I'm playing through Mass Effect right now, which I'm loving. I'm about a third done, so look for that soon. Later geeks.



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