It’s been nearly a year since 360Monster did their Gears of War first look and what with all the hype surrounding the game, we thought we would write a second preview but this time a more in-depth one and it will reveal a lot of new features that this awesome game will come with.The thing about Gears of War is that it’s in the rather unfortunate position of being compared to Halo 3. Now firstly this is very unfair on the game as Halo 3 and Gears of War are completely different titles and what’s more we all know who is going to be the winner, no matter how much time, effort and skill Epic put into this game, Halo 3 will ultimately force Gears of War out once it is released.

Even so Gears of War will still have at least a year of relative peace from Halo 3 and that again is a reason why these titles cannot be compared for the simple fact that Bungie has a year to improve Halo 3’s graphics, gameplay and online multiplayer too. So now that the whole Halo 3 hurdle has been jumped we can now go forth and talk about the game and what a game it is!

First off for those with short attention spans and terrible memories we will once more try to explain the games rather immersive plot. Gears of War puts you in the boots of Marcus Fenix, he is a disgraced soldier who disobeyed direct orders to save his farther from death and for his actions he was court marshalled and put behind bars[Pretty Harsh -Ed]. Now Mr Fenix belongs to the breed of men who can take down 60,000,000enemies and never break a sweat andwhat’s more he always ends up unscathed andunhurt. It’s very similar to reality where a single commando or navy seal can destroy the entire Taliban army and still have time to go home have a nice filling Sunday Roast and watch the Family Guy.

The games plot is similar to games like Command and Conquer: Tiberium Sun where entire countries are fighting over a single resource. The resource or power in his case is called ‘Imulsion’ and it’s so sought after that for eighty long years the war is still going on with no one letting up. Unbeknown to the humans another army was forming and they were beneath them, plotting an attack on Sera, planning to take control of a planet which they believe is rightfully there’s and when they emerge, everything changes.

The ‘Locust Horde’, named by a one Bill Gates justas he screamed with pain while the Locusts chopped him into little itty, bitty pieces and sucked him through a straw, emerge from the ground and within twenty four hours have already killed a quarter of the human race. So of course the world of Sera goes into a state of panic and instead of thinking things through in a civilised manner the politicians simply decide to scorch the planet with its vast array of laser beams [Big respect tothe Hammer of Dawn -Ed]. What they end up with is a world which looks more like a scorched bowling ball than a living planet.

The Locusts are like any bad guys, their only desire is to create mayhem and destroy the whole of humanity and they do this with rather amazing ease at first, well that’s until they meet Marcus Fenix. Now the difference with this new enemy is that for the most part you will find that they won’t use any firepower against you, but by no means underestimate them because of it. You will see them use the darkness with unbelievable ease, they will use stealth to surround and swarm on you and your comrades. They also use that lovable thing known as numbers; you will find yourself watching hundreds of these locusts coming out of the ground whose sole purpose is to take you down. You will actually find yourself fearing for poor Mr.Fenix’s life when you find yourself completely surrounded, low on ammo and your entire team dead in pools of their own blood a few feet away from you.

Their main weakness is in fact light and that’s not surprising considering they’ve been festering away underground in pitch black for god knows how long. Then again, watching them operate when they see light is another sign of just how good this game is, they will smash lights and even run the battery of your torch down before they swarm in on you and rip you apart. You will find that your main concern throughout the game won’t be your ammo or health, but instead trying to create light because once the lights go out, they won’t be coming back on. Overall they aren’t pretty, they aren’t nice and they show you no mercy, so I advise you toreturn the favour whenever you see them.

The great thing about of Gears of War is that it is a game which will have you truly on the edge of your seat; you will be able to hear your heart pounding as events unfold on-screen. The game has in fact been made to seem slower than other shooter titles just so you get that feeling of anticipation while your playing on your own or with your mates. I mean it could make a whole new genre for itself as while playing it you will feel like you’re playing a movie let alone a next-generation third person shooter.

As for gameplay it has aspects from games here, there and everywhere. It has an element of Halo 2 in the fact that this isn’t a game where one shot will kill, you will have to, as they say, spray and pray through the thousands of weird and wonderful enemies that you will end up facing. You will also find that cover plays a massive role in the game. If you don’t use cover you might as well say goodbye to your family and order a hearse as you will be dead before you can load your gun and look through the sight. You can use anything from cars and debris to walls and dead locusts as cover from the enemy. That’s not all, while roaming around the vast levels you will find things like overturned wardrobes and tables all of which can be flipped and turned into cover to protect you against the invading hordes. The final thing about cover that you need to know is the fact that your cover can be worn down by the enemies, in example if you stood behind a wall you could safely sit their for a few hours without worrying about the cover deteriorating, but if you use a desk you will find that it will only last a few second before bullets start ripping through the wood.

One of the games most exciting aspects is its online multiplayer. The best bit of Gears of War news was when Epic confirmed that the game would support Xbox Live co-op as well as co-op offline. So you and your friend will be able to take on the locust horde together and use team work to overcome the blood-thirsty enemy. There will also be the usual Xbox live multiplayer game-typessuch as Warzone (Team Deathmatch style) but Execution and Resurrection are named so far but more to come no doubt. As long as lag isn’ttoo badthis might just be the game to finally knock Halo 2 off its throne as most played Live title. November 17th will let us know if it has managed that or not.

Now graphically this game is truly next-gen withunbelievable graphics from the over the top blood, the nasty enemies, the brutal weapons, the highly detailed maps, Marcus and his team all look absolutely mind-blowing. I mean just comparing real time screenies you can see just how more advanced Gears of War is compared to titles like Kameo, CoD2 and the good ol’ Halo 2. What you also have to think about is the currently developers have only managed to unlock around forty percent of the 360’s power and if this is what they can come up with it’s just amazing to think what they could do with ninety or the full one hundred percent.

Gears of War has been a long time coming, but damn it looks like its going to be worth the wait. With graphics to die for, huge maps and an awesome co-op online mode as well as some great versus modes on Live! this is truly going to be the game of Christmas. Maybe it will only fill the void until Halo 3’s release, but it’s the perfect game to fill it. The game isless than a month away and when it is released thousands are going to flood Xbox Live and rightly so. Did I mention you can chainsaw people in half or stick grenades to people and watch them explode? Keep your eyes on this one.

Originally Written By: Lee Matthews

Console Monster

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