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Gears of War

Developer: Epic Games | Publisher: Microsoft Game Studios
Players: 1+ Player Game | Genre: Action

Release Date: 11/07/06

GoW1.jpgWithout a doubt, one of the most anticipated titles for the Xbox 360 is Epic’s Gears of War. Quite simply, the game looks fantastic. It is obvious after seeing it in action that Gears of War is a step above the competition in terms of presentation and playability. I may even go so far as to say that, visually, this has been the best looking game at the show. But it’s not just the visuals that make this game so amazing, it’s everything from the simplistic control scheme to the new features added in such as having a buddy join you cooperatively for just a certain portion of the game.

Well, wait, how does that work? In the demonstration, we were informed that if you were having a tough time taking down a boss and noticed a friend was on Xbox Live, you could send your pal a message asking him or her to come help you out. Your buddy could then join your game, taking over the normally AI controlled character, and help you out. Then, once the enemy is dead, your friend can resume whatever it is they were up to before you interupted them.

We mentioned the simplistic control scheme and this is something the development team is particularly proud of. They managed to make the A button so diverse that it is generally the only button you’ll need for taking cover, hopping over barriers or quickly rolling from behind cover to another safe spot. This means you can focus on shooting the enemies in front of you instead of trying to figure out which button you need to hit next.

While on the subject of shooting enemies, that’s something you’ll be doing a lot of. Of course this means you’ll be burning through ammo like a wild fire through Florida. This, in turn, means a lot of reloading. The development team made use of this fact by adding in a new gameplay feature. When reloading, the gun icon will flash for a split-second. If you tap the reload button again at just the right time you’ll notice the bullet icons for your gun are flashing. This means that those bullets will cause double damage and because this effect stacks, it is possible to get some seriously powerful bullets flying through the air. This technique is to be used at your risk, however, as botching the reload will cause the gun to jam costing you precious time you don’t have in the middle of a big firefight.

In addition to shooting your foes, you can also throw grenades for explosive fun. The developers stated that they put special attention into this feature because in most games it is too difficult to hit your targets with grenades. In real life it’s not that hard to hit what you’re aiming for when you throw a grenade, so aiming your grenades is a bit more forgiving. If grenades aren’t your style, then perhaps you’re the up close and personal type of fellow. Well, you’re in luck because the rifles in Gears of War are also equipped with a chain saw. In multiplayer, you can get an instant kill by sneaking up on your poor, unsuspecting pal and laying into him with the saw.

Gears of War is set to release on “Emergence Day” 2006…whatever that means. Actually, we’re pretty sure it means “when it’s done” 2006. Hopefully we’ll hear more about a definitive release date from the team in the near future. Until then, keep crying yourself to sleep and dreaming about how cool this game is going to be.

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By Ryan Schaefer - 05/12/06
ESRB Details: Blood and Gore, Intense Violence, Strong Language
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Screenshots for Gears of War

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