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Gears of War
Platform: Xbox 360
Publisher: Microsoft Game Studios
Developer: Epic Games
Style(s): Squad-Based Shooter
Anointed by the games media as Microsoft's first "killer app" for its Xbox 360, Epic Games' Gears of War is a futuristic third-person shooter emphasizing tactical action over run-and-gun battles. Players are thrust in a climactic clash between what's left of humankind and a swarming underground race called the Locust Horde. The main protagonist is Marcus Fenix, a once disgraced soldier looking to redeem himself by leading a ragtag squad against the monstrous threat.
Since the alien army vastly outnumbers the team, players must use the post-apocalyptic world to their advantage, such as seeking cover behind dumpsters, pillars, cars, rubble, and other objects. The developer has adapted its award-winning Unreal technology to create interactive environments with a physics-based damage system. Players, for instance, can shoot down structures to forge new routes or opportunities to trap the enemy. Up to three squad mates will accompany Fenix in each mission, with basic commands such as "advance," "hold," or "freelance" available to guide them.
A behind-the-shoulder view similar to the one employed in Capcom's Resident Evil 4 is the default perspective in Gears of War. Weapons include an assortment of grenades, pistols, assault rifles, and other long-range blasters, many of which offer a means to engage enemies in melee combat. The Locust Horde is not averse to lunging, rushing, or gnawing at soldiers, so players have the opportunity to perform grisly finishing moves by quickly tapping specific button sequences during close encounters. Cooperative support for two players is offered throughout the campaign, and up to eight can battle each other in team-oriented modes via Xbox Live. ~ Scott Alan Marriott, All Game Guide
Package Contents: 48-hour Free Xbox Live Gold Trial
The manual clearly explains each of the controls, play modes, and weapon functions, and the game includes a built-in tutorial stage at the start. ~ Scott Alan Marriott, All Game Guide
A new benchmark has been set on Xbox 360, with an exquisite amount of detail, smooth animation, and a gritty, grimy world that feels real. ~ Scott Alan Marriott, All Game Guide
Xbox 360 owners patiently awaiting the arrival of Halo 3 will find their time is much easier spent with Gears of War, a sci-fi shooter that nearly lives up to the crushing hype thrust upon it since its 2005 unveiling. While it doesn't have the epic feel of the Halo series, Gears of War is steeped in atmosphere and is a more cerebral shooter than one would expect, especially considering its theme has more mileage on it than most space shuttles. Played entirely from a third-person perspective, the design allows for more acrobatic movement than you're used to in a futuristic blaster, and the enemy AI is aggressive without being stupid, unlike some of your lunk-headed squad mates. Yet it
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