Archive for January 2007

Gears of War Review

(Old Salvaged post from 2007, reposted by request – attempting to set the date)
Well, I finished it on Casual because, as readers of the site may have surmised, I am not actually hardcore. I am fine with this. I’m splitting time with lots of games right now anyway.

I’m still not good at shooters on a console. I’m better than I was. I can actually target something with a sniper rifle pretty quickly, but I can’t seem to compensate for weapons going off-target as I hold down the trigger.

David’s suggestion to change the art to ‘not suck’ in the options screen was right on, and helped a great deal. It came a little late, though it made the final boss mob fight a much more pleasant experience.

Remember how Unreal and Quake used to go to great lengths to show how beautiful they could make a gaming space? Both Rainbow Six and GoW seemed intent on showing me they could do squalid.

I’m pretty sure I didn’t fall asleep in any story bits, but I still left not knowing exactly what happened, or why we made a pit stop at my dad’s house.

It seemed like the overall backstory was pretty cool, too, but the only place I can seem to find information about it is GameFaqs. And whoever wrote that FAQ berated me for not being hardcore enough to know this stuff.

It’s cool when monsters say ‘Boom’. Especially right before they explode.

That freaky crossbow is the most difficult to use weapon since the goo gun in Unreal.

What happened to health bars and health packs in shooters?

It’s 10X easier to use Rainbow Sixes cover system, but it’s 10X cooler when Gears of War’s works right.

Hey, Epic, if you’re going to have huge levels that depend on you only walking in certain parts of the map, how about making the AI for your sidekicks smart enough to not walk there? Kthx.

While you’re at it, if you could make the AI smart enough to not run kamikazi charges into the final boss monster, that’d be great.

Overall, though, the AI in GoW runs circles around the AI in Rainbow Six. (Wouldn’t it be cool if we could put ‘em in the same game?) Still, there were numerous times I was begging for the ability to give my troops a direct order – a feature that GoW definitely skimped on.

I didn’t hate the voice acting, which is rare, and I actually liked 3 of the four main characters. Unfortunately, the fourth is Dom, the guy who has all the personality of a peanut shell, and who is with you on all the two man missions. Don’t look now, but Baird’s character actually showed evidence of character development!
Not enough sniper rifles lying around. I spent far too much time using the gun that looks really cool but isn’t. And no, I didn’t use the cool looking bayonette even once.

If you’re going to make me choose a weapon based on icons and not names, how about making sure the weapons have easily identifiable silhouettes? Why am I confusing a sniper rifle for the shotgun?

Why straight humanoid enemies? Why are they called locusts when they really appear to be just pruny people?

Their change of pace levels were pretty good. The berserker levels were tense as hell. The APV and mine cart episodes were frivolous fun.  I really enjoyed the reloading minigame, once I got used to it. This, of course, was on the final boss level. It’s easy with a sniper rifle, and undoable with the machine gun. That game took me something like 7 hours, and I suck. One wonders how fast someone with Halo chops would get through it, or how much longer
it would take me on Hardcore or Insane. My sample attempt at it was… not encouraging. In Hardcore reality, the fate of the human race is decidedly screwed if they’re depending on me.

Overall, a good pickup, despite my bitching. I’d definitely pick this one up if you get a chance.