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Gears of War Review - Xbox 360

9.5
Gameplay: 10 stars 10
Graphics: 10 stars 10
Audio: 10 stars 10
Multiplayer: 10 stars 10
Innovation: 9 stars 9
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When Halo was released with the Xbox in 2001, gamers around the world marveled at a successful Microsoft console launch with one of the best first person shooters ever created. Bungie had the top spot on the market for months to come, and Halo 2 sold by the millions. Since then, while Bungie have been keeping Halo 3 under wraps with only a few screenshots and a trailer here and there, other shooters have emerged. Emerging is a large part of Gears of War, as the enemies are locusts, who have been building up their numbers under Sera, the planet Gears of War is set on, waiting to attack. It's up to you, Marcus Fenix, to save the world from complete annihilation.

Gameplay


Gears of War is mostly a third person shooter, although you do go in to first person when zooming and aiming with certain guns. The controls have a fairly sharp learning curve that you’ll have to master right at the start of the game, as it doesn’t take long for the locusts to start charging at you. Taking cover is a large part of Gears of War, but using your teammates to attack enemies while you sneak up from the side or behind them is also an important skill to be learnt. All this has been shown in trailers of the game before it was released, along with ripping in to someone with your chainsaw that’s attached to your primary assault rifle, but actually performing these actions in-game is a completely breathtaking experience; unlike anything a trailer can offer.

The game does veer from the standard shoot ‘em up though. There are plenty of tactical skills to master. Jumping out of the way of a raging berserker, creating new light so that you don’t die in the darkness (we won’t go too far into that one, better for you to find out!), and keeping up with your teammates are all key parts of a successful mission in Gears of War. Usually there are four of you running around killing the locust horde, but sometimes you split up into 2 groups. Also when this happens, you sometimes get to decide which path you would like to take, adding some nice replay value when you decide to start again on a harder difficulty.

Fortunately, Epic Games have blessed their fans with a split-screen co-operative campaign game mode. Playing online is fun of course, as you can enjoy your whole TV screen to yourself, but if your mate doesn’t have an Xbox 360 or hasn’t bought Gears of War yet, he can be stuck watching you play the game, or vice versa. Thankfully this isn’t the case though, and the Xbox 360 Achievements actually encourage you to complete missions via co-operative play, unlocking more ... (continued next page)