Gears of War Review

Before Halo 3, Gears of War was the reason why Xbox 360s were flying off shelves. Heck, even to this day Gears is still a mainstay on Xbox Live. A year after the game debuted for the Xbox 360, the game has arrived for PC. Included within the game is the Windows Live service, which works perfectly with Windows XP. While Gears is essentially a port from 360 to PC, there are no traces of a shoddy job when it comes to the PC transition, and a few things such as an updated engine give it enough newness to separate it from most ports. The best news now, though, is that plenty of new gamers can experience the action and carnage Gears brings to the table.

Gears is all about visceral action and carnage. If you don’t take cover, you die; it’s that simple. If you don’t want to shoot from cover for 95% of the game, then Gears is not for you. If you want an in-depth storyline with meaty characters, Gears is not for you. Instead, the game handles attack and cover fantastically and presents the game in a constant bloodbath fight from one to the next.

Stereotypical gravelly-voiced Marcus Fenix is the man behind the Lancer, and will be your eyes and ears through the game. Thankfully, the camera-work translated perfectly from console to PC, which is one of the huge reasons PC ports tend to fail. The camera is always where you want it to be, and it definitely enhances the game’s presentation. For example, use your roadie-run and your camera will shift right up to Fenix and shake. Awesome.

The Unreal Engine 3 will shove all the blood, gore, carnage and explosions at you. Rendering some excellent lighting and shadows, Gears running on an awesome PC will surely blow away the Xbox 360 competition in one fell-swoop. Performance is excellent too, even on my mid-range PC; the game still looks great and runs great, even without a ton of hefty specs backing your rig up.

So how about the controls? I rarely say this for a console-to-PC title, but the controls are fine. The standard WASD layout provides movement, while spacebar does your covering and dodging. Laying my fingers on the keyboard and getting into the game was just easy and fluid. It’s kind of funny to see a game like Gears come from a console, because the PC controls are 100% superior and much more natural than with a controller.

Of course, the reason many people will play this game even if they own a 360 is because of the new levels. The new levels appear right at the beginning of Act 5 on the run from the Brumak. While these little extra missions are not critical to the story (because then they’d have to change an awful lot), it’s pretty nice to get some new content. You’ll run and cover on a bridge and through some courtyards; not exhilarating, but it’s more action! Honestly, I wouldn’t have known where the new levels were until one of my friends didn’t recognize the current level I was on and asked. They’re implemented very naturally and flow well with what’s going on in the game already.

There were some tiny hitches with the game, namely the awkward animation while using the Lancer chainsaw on enemies, checkpoint saves, dumb squad AI and weapons/ammo inconsistently disappearing. For some of the crazier battles, your buddy will usually be on the ground bleeding because of his foolish AI. It’s annoying, but you can heal up your squad in mid-battle for some extra yet brief firepower.

Gears of War is one of the best examples yet of a game making the move from console to PC. Everything transferred smoothly; controls, visuals, performance and gameplay were all finely crafted for the PC, and the updated engine and new content feels like part of the original title, not an added bonus for repurchasing a game you may have already played or owned. Bravo, Epic! We PC gamers may have had to wait a while to finally get Gears, but the wait was certainly worth it, and in my mind the PC version is superior to the Xbox 360 original.


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Author: GamerNode Staff View all posts by

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