Grass Is Greener – Gears Of War Series
When it comes to abuse of Xbox games from the PlayStation camp Gears Of War sits second only to Halo in terms of the bile that gets thrown at it. Sure, it’s a bunch of chunky, no-necked, testosterone fueled, jive talking, space marine fools. Yes, its major selling factor (a cover system) was essentially copied from Kill.Switch on the PS2 (Cliff Bleszinski has admitted as much – here). Oh, and the story sucked. Even so it’s a game that would sit very nicely on the PS3 if Microsoft ever saw fit to release it from it clammy grasp. Here’s why…
1. Gameplay – regardless of whether or not it was all that original, the cover system adopted and perfected by Gears Of War is now the standard for all third person shooters. Do you think Uncharted would have been the same without GOW? That’s a rhetorical question, there’s no need to answer. But regardless of its impact the run-and-gun mechanics of Gears are absolutely spot on putting you closer to the action than most games can ever dream to achieve.
2. Graphics – Looks aren’t everything, but they still count for a great deal and for many Gears Of War was the point at which next-gen graphics truly arrived. The thing is the first game still looks good combining the raw power of the Unreal Engine 3 (and how many games have been built with that since? Again, rhetorical) with excellent lighting, textures and animation. Games like Uncharted 2 and Killzone 2 may have finally surpassed it, but it’s still a very ‘perty’ game.
3. Action, Action, Action – This ties back into the gameplay a little, but it’s really about design. When Gears Of War is at it’s best it is relentless. This kind of balls to the wall action had been missing for too long. Alas it doesn’t last all that long in either the first game or Gears 2 as the stories kick in a slow the pace down. If it just sapped us of adrenaline over the course of eight hours we would all be a lot happier.
4. Multiplayer – Whether playing deathmatches solo or in a team or playing through the main game in co-op Gears was a really good game to play online, largely because the non-story elements above worked just as well if not better in team play. The best of this came in Gears 2 though with Horde mode and its wave after wave of attacks that you had to survive.
5. Guns with Fricking Chain Saws!!! – Come on! That was a genius idea.