Gears Of War PDF Print E-mail
Written by bobdog   
Tuesday, 19 February 2008 09:02
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Gears Of War
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Developer: Epic Games
Publisher: Microsoft
No Demo Available
Official Site
Average Price (at review publication time) = US$45

ESRB Mature 17 + (Blood and gore, intense violence, strong language)
European PEGI Adult 18+ (Blood and gore, depiction of intense violence)

Due to the generosity of the Foxhole’s Grey Mouser, I was able to experience the PC version of Gears of War (GOW). The game has, of course, won numerous awards on the Xbox, as well as selling more than 4.5 million copies. It only recently came out for PC, with some modifications designed to take advantage of the PC’s greater graphics superiority.

The game is made by Epic Games, the same company and folks that brought us Unreal and Unreal Tournament. It does contain some similar elements, but the two defining elements are the third-person (vs. first-person) view and the consolization of buttons and gameplay. I’ll touch on both of these in a bit.

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Can’t This Thing Go Any Faster? We Just Got Passed by a Street Sweeper!

The hardware specs on GOW are pretty high, so don’t expect this to run on every machine. The box states you need the following: Windows Vista/XP; 2.4GHz Intel/2.0 GHz AMD; 1 GB RAM; 12 GB free disk space; and NVidia GeForce 6600/ATI X700. What it doesn’t mention is that if you want the game to remember your latest checkpoint, you have to sign in to Microsoft Live. I deeply resent this, as this is just one more invasion into my privacy. And just as I was ready to finish my last playthrough, it had wiped out ALL my data and checkpoint saves!!! Fortunately, I was able to start at the next and final chapter, but seriously, that majorly sucked!

I ran the game at 1600x1200 on my AMD 3200 (32-bit) with 2GB RAM and an NVidia 7600 GS. For the most part, I was able to play with everything at High (but not Ultra High) values, although a couple of areas forced me to downsize to 1280x1-24 to get through scenes that needed a little more finesse and control of my character. Overall I was pleased with how my system ran the game, and most features are scaleable enough to allow systems lower than mine to play it.

Also, interestingly, you can play this game co-op if you so desire! Go through Live and either of you can host the game and play as the two main characters. Good idea, Epic!

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I Heard a Little Story and It Goes Like Dis

GOW has no opening intro cutscene to tell you what has happened and why you’re in jail, so I was actually disappointed in that respect. I dug up the guide from the game box, and learned the following: 14 years ago, the Locust Horde gathered under every major city and launched a surprise attack, on what has since been designated “Emergence Day.”

Your character, Marcus Fenix (Stop it – stop it now!! Where the heck did this name come from??), went AWOL from a battle to go save his father, and was then charged with dereliction of duty and sentenced to 40 years in the pen, which is where the game starts. Your buddy Dominic has busted you out against the better judgment of his platoon leader, and now it’s time for payback.

Questions arise aplenty. Where did the Horde come from? Are they mutated worms and insects (as the game seems to imply) that have been lying dormant for millennia in the earth’s crust? Are they radioactive cockroaches who finally decided to prove their superiority? Or did they come from afar? And if so, how did they get to earth undetected in recent centuries? None of these are answered, so I guess we’ll have to wait for GOW 2 (and you know it’s coming, with the cash register ringing to the tune of $250 MILLION!!!).

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