E3 – Gears of War First Look

The hot-ticket event (literally, you had to get tickets) at Microsoft’s E3 booth this year was the Gears of War trailer. Set inside a room wired with cordless headsets, so no sound could escape, groups of attendees met with Cliff Bleszinski, the game’s designer from Epic Games, on a small, chairless stage.

After a brief introduction, Bleszinski played the official trailer, which features escapee Marcus Phoenix battling a group known as the Locust Horde. The creatures in the trailer look like a cross between a human and bull terrier on steroids. The story revolves around Marcus Phoenix, a soldier imprisoned on a planet taken over by the bug-like Locust Horde.

Once the trailer was finished, Bleszinski played through the first level twice – once down the “n00b” tutorial path, and once down the path he suggested for “FPS vets.” The level involved a prison break hampered by a small invasion force of Locusts. The levels showcased the game’s dependence on taking cover – Bleszinski made a point of saying that avoiding cover would lead to certain death.

Diving behind a chunk of concrete from any of the game’s destroyed environments is as easy as tapping the A button on the Xbox 360 controller. Once in cover, Marcus can shoot above or around whatever he’s behind, a move that’s especially effective with the shotgun.

Speaking of weapons, it seems that players can carry four weapons at any time – though we only saw three in action: a shotgun, an assault rifle, and grenades that are twirled around like a bolero. While using weapons, two viewing angles are used, as well. Truly running and gunning from the farther-off perspective leads to inaccurate shooting, though with the impressive shotgun it’s not much difference. Using the left-trigger to aim zooms in, allowing for more accurate aiming through a reticle. Weapons are swapped using the D-pad.

It’s worth noting that, as is, the game really deserves an M rating. Besides Marcus’ taunts of “Eat s**t and die” when killing an enemy, the assault rifle includes a chainsaw for melee kills, which stain the ground with blood and sometimes splatter the camera.

Also worth noting were the dropped frames during particularly heavy combat. Firing through haze, amid exploding concrete blocks riddled with bullet holes, the dropped frames were just barely noticable.

A hands-on demo for media may be a few months off, as Gears of War still does not have a solid release date. The marketing gurus at Microsoft have given the launch day the imposing title of “Emergence Day 2006.”


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Author: GamerNode Staff View all posts by

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