GEARS OF WAR (X360)

Halo killer.” It’s a term thrown around about every first-person shooter to hit the market. And it’s a term I generally ignore – but not because I think outdoing Halo is impossible. Despite its involving multiplayer and sometimes inventive weapons, I always found Halo to be “FPS-lite.” Cute grunting little aliens replaced the blood spewing soldiers and zombies of my favorite first-person shooters of old, and dressed the rest of the game up in a happy console sheen. Gears of War effectively takes the FPS back to its gritty origins, and adds a third-person view and gameplay that make things more complicated than “run, gun, lob a grenade.” Like metal gear solid .

GoW is a visceral experience. Enemy soldiers pop out of the ground unexpectedly as your comrades are chewed up by gunfire and rabid dogs. You throw yourself to the ground behind broken pillars, and fractured machines. The first thing you will notice about Gears is its use of graphics. Currently, it’s one of the best-looking games on the market for any system. However, you might be misled by some of the TV spots for Gears of War featuring protagonist Marcus Fenix running through the dark with a Tears for Fears song playing in the background. Marcus is not really in touch with his emotions – he is not a Tears for Fears sort of guy. He spends most of his time during cut scenes cursing as much as possible.

In fact, thanks to Fenix’s over-the-top attitude, there were times when I thought I was playing the latest installment in the Duke Nukem franchise. But as soon the cinematic nonsense ends, Gears of War becomes an all-consuming combat zone that will keep you ducking for cover, calling on satellites for energy strikes against screen-devouring baddies, and sawing enemies into pieces for days. Gears of War is not a Halo killer – it is something else entirely. Thanks to its online play, fulfilling single player story and all around completeness, what Gears of War is, is a killer pain in the ass for Sony and Nintendo. GOW delivers the complete next generation experience and is simply the first clear-cut, grizzled victor in the next-generation gaming wars.

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