Maniac Grade: A-
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Gears of War
January 02, 2007
GoldenEye 007 for the N64 set the standard for stunning first person shooting game for me. With its multiple levels, variety of weapons, and sheer joy of multiplayer tournaments that could develop in a neighborhood it was bound to be the number one shooting game. GoldenEye 007 did what Street Fighter II did. It brought people together over a video game.
Eventually another shooting game took the place of number one, Halo. Although Halo is a media darling, I never got into it.
Gears of War is not Halo. It is not a better shooting game than GoldenEye. Nor is it a better multiplayer game than say Call of Duty 2 (or 3). It's story is not better than Halo, F.E.A.R., Elder Scrolls IV, Dead Rising, or even Marvel: Ultimate Alliance.
So why give it an A-? It is quite simply a great game!
The controls follow suite with the movements towards next generation games. Shooting/throwing a grenade relies on the right trigger, there's a button to pick up items, one stick for moving and another for looking around, and a particular button for "action". For a better understanding of the game you are given the option of taking a "tutorial" early in the game. I'll be the first to admit that I have yet to fully understand how to work grenades. Switching between weapons was never really taught in the tutorial and even when I did learn how to do so I have yet to figure out grenades. For that, and the hiding possibilities I would say that the tutorial is lacking.
The story. Simplistic but it works. The most control an individual has over the story is which route to take when given the option. Do I go left or do I go right? Either direction when being split up by a party will lead you directly back to the party within a small amount of time.
Another issue is check points/saves. I learned quickly in KOTOR, Halo, Elder Scrolls, etc. to save and to save in different slots. You can't do this with Gears of War. Instead if you die in a fire fight, which I have done on SEVERAL occassions, you are placed back at your last check point. Occassionally, and some how it always happened to me, you end up having to listen to a lengthy part of the plot.
Yet the main saving grace to this game, or really why I love it so, is the reality factor of it. Yes the graphics are stunning, the baddies or a bit tough, and a chainsaw on a gun is freaking sweet. But it's the reality of it all. Not the whole infestation thing or baddies come up from the underground. But the control reality. For a good example pop in say Call of Duty 3 or Halo for that matter. Now get under cover. Exactly! Call of Duty offers great control in regards to shooting. Standing, kneeling, on all fours. Great advancement but you look stupid hiding. Gears of War gives you a better idea of war. Get your butt behind something! Its like being a part of S.W.A.T. You run quickly from one protection to the other. Your aiming slightly moves you out of cover so you can get a shot. And guess what? The enemies will do the same. Making it harder to beat them unless you nail them in the head a few times.
That alone makes me love this game. But due to its plot and tutorial faults the game drops just a little.
If you like shooting games then Gears of War is a must. Plus you can do a quick kill if you get close to a baddie by bringing a chainsaw to their skull. Click here to read the staff review by Mania.