Hands-on: Gears of War

Being a huge action/shooter fan, when I heard that Xbox 360 owners got to hog a fine game such as Gears of War all for themselves, it made me feel a bit glum for my PC. But a few months after the game’s release, Microsoft announced that GoW would head to PC with some new bells and whistles, so all was well in the world. Now that I got some awesome hands-on time with the game, I’m happy to say that Gears of War made a perfectly fine transition to PC.

As I’m sure most of you have already beaten, played or at least saw a glimpse of Gears of War during the last year, I won’t spare too much space for the game’s story, characters or ongoing plot. Basically you play a badass soldier named Marcus Fenix and you beat up various aliens and ugly life forms (the Locust Horde) across several environments. Stuff about Fenix’s past and blowing up many Locusts ensue.




Now, the PC edition adds 5 new single-player levels into the game. They begin right at the end of act 4 and the beginning of act 5. It’s kind of interesting that I didn’t know where these new levels would be since I never played GoW in its entirety on a 360 before. A roommate pointed them out to me and he was wondering why the PC version got new levels. I snickered.

I found that the controls transferred well from Xbox 360 to PC. The camera works really well, which is usually a fault in most video game ports. You control Fenix with the usual WASD keys (or re-mapped to whatever you use) and the spacebar handles your covering, roadie running and dodging. I’ve read in other previews that they had problems with having the spacebar act as several different actions. But an easy solution to that is just re-mapping some of the actions to other keys. Since I’m used to having left shift as my running key, I just re-mapped the roadie-run to left shift and that basically solved everything.




There were some issues regarding when you’re near several different obstacles that can be used for cover, though. Sometimes when you hit spacebar, there would be some confusion if you wanted to stay in cover or get out. But these weren’t horrifying or obvious issues that needed to be fixed.

Performance was pretty flawless and certainly surprised me. My aging mid-range PC ran GoW pretty darn well, but I had to turn down a few options to medium in order to achieve my favorable frame-rate. I rarely noticed any stuttering unless when something absolutely insane was happening on the screen. The Unreal Engine 3 continues to push graphical limits and GoW definitely showcases the engine very well. Overall, the performance was excellent and the game looks great.




Since the game hasn’t been released yet (November 6th), multiplayer servers were empty, so I have no impressions regarding that aspect. But heck, with 5 additional multiplayer modes and 19 new maps, PC fans will certainly have some fun with GoW upon its release. Also note that if you don’t want to shell out $50 for the Windows Live Gold account, you can still make your free Silver Live account and participate in all the online co-op you want. In addition, you can use your free Silver account and enjoy non-ranked multiplayer games. With the Gold account, you’ll get additional achievements and ranked servers.

If you’re still a bit shaky about GoW for PC, just chainsaw an enemy for the first time and watch the pure gore and blood splattered camera in its fully glory, then come back to me and say that you don’t want to play the game. I dare you. The port doesn’t feel like a port; instead it feels like a rather finely crafted PC game, which is very different from the usual console-to-PC release.


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Author: GamerNode Staff View all posts by

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