Gears of War – where’s the depth?

The post title is pretty negative so let’s get the good stuff out of the way…

  • Gears of War (GOW from now on) is a fantastic looking game – not seen anything on the 360 that gets close. Some of the textures and effects are very realistic. Loving the rain in act 3!
  • The single player mode has got me gripped more than I expected and certainly more than Halo 2.
  • Online co-op adds so much to this game. Playing through chapters with friends over the last few nights has been great – hopefully more games in future will allow you to play any level via co-op.
  • The look and feel of the levels so far (half way though the game) has been varied with some stunning cityscapes and architecture on display. You can easily see the influence that cities and in particular London have had on the game.
  • Lack of story. Yep – thats a positive for me. I’d rather a company focused on gameplay and good content throughout the whole game than a good story, great cinematics towards the start and then a rehash of old content and textures towards the end of the game as publishing deadlines start to bite.
  • Weapons! The chainsaw on the gun is inspired – I’ve still to tire from killing and covering my screen in blood. The active reload of ammo is also far better than I expected. As you reload you need to time a button press to get a faster reload and increased ammo power. Miss it and your gun will jam – get it right and you do more damage. On paper it sounded really tacky. In practice it makes for a great feature that adds to the pressure in the heat of the battle.
  • Online has been fun. Loving the destructible furniture and the encouragement of good team play. Been some great finishing moves to the matches too.

Sounding good so far but now my moans…

  • Biggest and loudest is multiplayer. Three measly options which are all derivatives of team deathmatch. Through play we tend to end up only playing warzone which really is team deathmatch.
  • Online Maps – although there is a fair number there isn’t much variation, probably due to the style of gameplay. Hide, shoot. Hide, shoot. Hide/Camp, chainsaw.
  • Best way to play the game is with friends. Can really take advantage of people’s strengths and weaknesses and employ some tactics. Think a slightly dumbed down Ghost Recon or Rainbow Six. So it’s good to know that I can’t play ranked games with friends. Only with randoms. Thats very poor, especially when ranked games with friends is rumored to be a feature being worked on while another story said you couldn’t do ranked games with the True Skill features in Xbox Live. Thats just bull.
  • Ultimately a lack of depth. Although I’m enjoying the single player mode and co-op, and online has been fun, I’ve been finding it a bit tiring after an hour or so. Very samey gameplay with not much variation. It’s got some teamwork depth but thats about it. Halo was is far more satisfying.
  • Forward rolls are the new jump. I remember when Perfect Dark Zero came out. rejoice – people can’t jump. True but they can forward roll all over the place. Has lead to some quite bizarre fights with 3 or 4 players rolling, shooting, rolling away, taking stock, rolling, shooting etc etc etc. What a pain in the arse. Far more annoying than jumping.
  • Downloadable content is inevitable. How much?

Should you buy the game? Absolutely. Fun will be had, the single player mode rocks and the online side is fun but limited. Just don’t expect to be playing this in two years time. A recent interview with Bungie shows why I think Halo 3 will still be the game to beat on the 360. Can’t wait.

6 Comments

  1. Great first impression. Really gives the sense of being there – handly for someone without a 360. šŸ˜‰ I’ve seen 5 minutes of this and it would be grossly unfair to make a decision based on that, something has been niggling at the back of my mind. Its only just came to me, Contra on N64. Must be the over shoulder look. I was hoping there would be real depth to go with the jaw dropping visuals – but in gaming history there always seems to be a trade off. ‘Twas ever thus. When I get my machine it’ll be on my wantlist though.

  2. Look forward to you getting your machine and seeing you back online. Halo3 multiplayer demo is Spring 07 šŸ˜‰

  3. I still love it. Maybe cause my gaming ops come in fits and starts. I think it’s top stuff and prefer the instant (ish) kills and gameplay to Halo, but it’s no secret I never really liked Halo online anyway. Horses for courses. Will it grow old? Possibly? As quickly as Halo? I hope not… I barely played that online. šŸ™‚

    Rumor was that DLC, in keeping with Epic’s preference, will be free. We shall see.

  4. But growing old as quickly as Halo will mean it’s still the most played game online in two years. Ignoring personal preferences it’s hard to argue with stat’s like that.

  5. Yeah. I just don’t understand how that happened. To me even the party system was flawed because it stopped folk just playing friends only games. Yes, it’s a nifty idea, but if you have my limited Halo skills and you join a party with friends like you who are rather good, you end up playing against a bunch of guys who are up at your level rather than down at mine. Not even a mix. The result was death, death, death, death. Which got old real quick. At least games that don’t have that party system encouraged us to play against or mates instead, of which we were at least guaranteed a mix of skills and a few kills. But it’s the other side of the party system that you will never know, as you have always been one of the better Halo players.

    And yes, I think there’s more chance I’ll play Gears in 2 years than Halo. I just don’t like respawning multiplayer. Yes I also realise that the vast majority prefer respawning multiplayer, regardless of how good or sh1t they are at it.

  6. Thats just a rant. Next time read before unloading…I said ‘ignoring personal preferences’. Typical. Just cause you weren’t good at it doesn’t mean you can ignore the fact it’s been the most successful Live game for the last two years.

    I’ve played loads of friends only games on Halo. The party system did not stop you playing friends only games. I guess you weren’t there at the time. Friends only nights saw the better players amongst us dominate just the same way as good players dominated on ranked games. Selective memory has kicked in again.

    I can see where this is going. The signs are there. Locked.

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