Gears of War: I Wouldn't Buy It

Jul 28, 2006
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What this thread needs is a hug. Maybe a drink, too, but most certainly a hug.

It's strange, these arguments get so heated and personal that you'd assume some of us have a personal interest in how well the game does. I'd like to think we as a community will not be depressed if Microsoft only sells two million copies of GoW, instead of two million and one.
 

Adamus [deprecated]

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Jul 11, 2006
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First off, I don't own an Xbox 360. All I've seen of GoW myself is five minutes of play at a friend's. I don't plan on buying an Xbox 360 so I won't be playing GoW anytime soon. As it stands I don't have any real opinion on the game. The hype was also mostly lost on me, as I'm pretty much a pure PC gamer and I tend to ignore a lot of what happens in the console world.

What I'm trying to get at, as a writer of game reviews myself I too sometimes make the mistake of judging a game on only part of its merits instead of all of them. I get called out on that, like when I gave NWN2 a bad score without having considered the toolkit that enables players to create their own multiplayer adventures. That is a huge part of the appeal for many players of NWN2, and to leave it out of a review and score the game without having looked at all its features, that doesn't do anyone a service.

So what I'm basically trying to do here is to make it clear that while GoW's single player experience may be flawed, it's very much possible the multiplayer aspect of it more than makes up for it. For example, if you judge BF2142 on its single player experience alone, you're not really reviewing the game properly as it's not meant to be a single player game. GoW is more single player than BF2142, but it still has a very strong multiplayer aspect to it and I genuinely feel that a game reviewer should also consider that aspect of the game before forming their definitive opinion.

Now I'm not trying to pick a fight, and if anything I posted is considered overly argumentative then I apologize, that's not my intention.

P.S. Demiurge, I'll take that drink.
 

heavyfeul

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Sep 5, 2006
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Gears of War is really the first major "beta" release of the next generation, meaning it offers gamers the first taste of what the new hardware can actually do. People have been waiting a year for this drink of cool refreshing water and they are relishing in it. I do not think it's glowing reviews have anything to do with the hype machine as Fletcher claims, but are the result of a lot of eager gamers finally getting a tasty morsel of a good next generation game. As this generation matures, standards will get higher and Fletcher's review will not seem so out of place, but spot on. Let's be honest. While Gears of War is a great shooter, it really doesn't do anything all that innovative, besides render beautiful graphics. It takes already tried and true game play mechanics, with a few new twists, and executes them extremely well. For that it should be applauded and it may be the best game to come out for the new consoles so far, but it doesn't really have much competition at this point in time. Thus, should we judge Gears of War by the current state of the next gen. software line up or by a more rigid less historically contingent standard, which Fletcher seems to have employed?
 

David Miscavidge

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Dec 13, 2006
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Fletcher said:
Goofonian said:
Real life generally consists of brown and grey and a billion different shades of green.
Real life is also often boring, frustrating and/or depressing. But that doesn't mean my games have to be.

Word, Fletcher.

Monochromatic military games might be appealing to some for their realism, but to me, well, I might as well be watching the news from Iraq. (And whatever your politics, is that by any stretch fun?)

On the other hand, using the example of Halo, here you are: In a blobby, vibrant purple and pink environment, wearing emerald green armor. And here's your weapon: it looks like a huge sky-blue chicken leg with fuschia bristles poking out of it. And you have to shoot the orange guys with it. It's like military psychedelia. Now that's fun. That's playing a game.
 

Russ Pitts

The Boss of You
May 1, 2006
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well at least don't pay $59.99 for it, wait for it to hit the bargain, bargain bins say in the $5.99 bucket or better yet wait for the inevitable sequel that should at least manage to fix half of what the first game did wrong.

like getting rid of the one button does everything except what you want it too, like not get you killed in multiplayer because its stupid.
 

Russ Pitts

The Boss of You
May 1, 2006
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Adamus said:
First off, I don't own an Xbox 360. All I've seen of GoW myself is five minutes of play at a friend's. I don't plan on buying an Xbox 360 so I won't be playing GoW anytime soon. As it stands I don't have any real opinion on the game. The hype was also mostly lost on me, as I'm pretty much a pure PC gamer and I tend to ignore a lot of what happens in the console world.

What I'm trying to get at, as a writer of game reviews myself I too sometimes make the mistake of judging a game on only part of its merits instead of all of them. I get called out on that, like when I gave NWN2 a bad score without having considered the toolkit that enables players to create their own multiplayer adventures. That is a huge part of the appeal for many players of NWN2, and to leave it out of a review and score the game without having looked at all its features, that doesn't do anyone a service.

So what I'm basically trying to do here is to make it clear that while GoW's single player experience may be flawed, it's very much possible the multiplayer aspect of it more than makes up for it. For example, if you judge BF2142 on its single player experience alone, you're not really reviewing the game properly as it's not meant to be a single player game. GoW is more single player than BF2142, but it still has a very strong multiplayer aspect to it and I genuinely feel that a game reviewer should also consider that aspect of the game before forming their definitive opinion.

Now I'm not trying to pick a fight, and if anything I posted is considered overly argumentative then I apologize, that's not my intention.

P.S. Demiurge, I'll take that drink.


people will drink piss if deprived of water long enough, some how i don't think that makes it as refreshing and satisfying as a nice cold filtered and parasite free glass of water.

im glad someone gave this game a realistic review, thanks Fletcher.
 

heavyfeul

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Sep 5, 2006
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To counter the "Why I Wouldn't Buy It," stand, I say if you have a 360, this is THE game to own. Why? Fun, fun, fun! Put simply Gears of War is just a really fun game to play and it has a lot of satisfying gameplay elements. I think Fletcher's criticisms are all valid, but of all the shooters I have played Gears of War is one of my absolute favorites. So, while I do not disagree with any one point, I am baffled that Fletcher didn't have fun playing the game, despite some of the issues he brought up. Sure, the AI can be stupid at times and once in a while you roll instead of taking cover, but it rarely detracts from the fun of playing the game. Also, the world in the game is decidedly gray in color, but the graphics are stunning to behold and provide a sense of realism that I find immersive. But on to what I like about Gears.

To begin with, the third-person perspective, combined with the duck and cover system are wonderful additions to the genre and are implemented well. Playing a shooter where no one can use bunny hopping and the flop and fire technique in multiplayer is a breath of fresh air and makes for a more realistic battlefield environment. These guys move like real soldiers weighed down with hundreds of pounds of weapons and armor would move. They are lumbering beasts who would likely chainsaw any soldier they saw bunny hopping around like an idiot. To stay alive you have to stay in cover, protect your flanks, and plan an attack. This applies to the campaign and multiplayer. More than any shooter I have played, Gears of War perfectly blends the super soldier ideal with the reality of the lethal battlefield and the need for cover and tactics. I get the sense that you can win every battle, but only if you are smart about it. Epic's decision to not rely on either aspect too much (super soldier vs. tactical squad) was a great design decision. Online multiplayer is a blast and Co-op is just fantastic. Even playing the campaign alone is a lot of fun. I think Epic made a wonderful game here. While not perfect, it is still a lot of fun to play and I can't wait to see how Gears of War 2 turns out. If you only have one game for the 360 this is the one to have, IMO. Buy it!
 

Beery

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May 26, 2004
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I really wish I'd seen this review before I bought this game. I agree with almost everything in the review. I'd add that the washed-out colours make it seem extremely depressing overall, and I just don't like that in a shooter. It's like I'm playing a game in black and white back in the 1930s. I mean I can handle games like Call of Duty which are a bit washed out, but this is ridiculous: everything - EVERYTHING - is grey.

Also, the much-touted 'cover' system simply doesn't work. Sure, when you're in cover you're safe, but basically the only time the game allows you to shoot at anything is when they're shooting at you (because the enemies take cover too), and as soon as you aim and fire you break cover, rendering the whole system pointless. Then there's the issue of aiming - you can't aim when you're in cover so you have to break cover in order to get your gun on target, and there's no looking with one eye exposed - if you see them they can shoot you. Aiming is clunky at best - many times I find my aiming reticle bouncing around an enemy because I just can't control it with the finesse I need.

Then there's the graphics - sure there are some nice smoke and heat effects, but for a next-generation game built on a state-of-the-art graphics engine there sure seem to be a low number of pixels for the characters' bodies and facial animation is minimal at best. When compared to the faces in Dead Rising the facial detail and animation in this game SUUUUCKS!

Basically, it's a flawed shooter, uninspiring and clunky but with a huge amount of hype that will, I'm sure, fuel a horde of fanboys who won't hear a bad word said about it. Buyer beware.
 

siamus [deprecated]

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Sep 28, 2007
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i disagree with some of what the poster above me said. Some of the things that you complain about don't even make sense...such as the game doesn't allow you to shoot at an enemy unless they are shooting at you and that you can't aim while in cover. Well..duh. It's a stop and pop game play mechanic. The idea is getting in the right position to get off good shots. It's ducking behind a wall and reloading before the enemy blows your head off. And the cover system works fine...you sounds like one of those guys who just stands there and lets themselves die because they don't want to follow the rules of the game.

It's fine if you don't care for the kind of game that it is, but calling it a flawed shooter assumes that it's like other shooters which it isn't. It has a vastly different playing style. Sure it has flaws. The game isn't for everyone, and has fair steep learning curve...but it is indeed worth the hype. It's just not as "pick up and go" as the original Halo was.
 

maxjae

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Sep 28, 2007
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I have played Gears of War to death and there is no doubt in my mind that it is a great game. Its focus on strategy is a breath of fresh air for shooters. The single player, the online co-op, the multiplayer, it's all great because the core gameplay is FUN. The hype surrounding this game was justified, in my opinion. It's one of the few games that lives up to its hype.

There is also no doubt in my mind that Gears is a game that not everybody likes. Case in point: this reviewer. Obviously this game is not his cup of tea. That's fine. What bothers me is that he makes Gears seem like a mediocre game that is only getting attention because of its hype.

The design issues he points out as major flaws are only minor annoyances that pop up rarely in the game. Yes, your squadmates are unreliable, and spend about as much time downed as they do fighting. Does this ruin the awesome strategic gameplay of Gears? Did your useless marine buddies in Halo ruin that game? No and no. There are problems in the Kryll infested level, where it's hard to tell if a semi-dark area is safe or deadly, and sometimes that results in your death. It's a minor flaw in one of the game's levels, but the game as a whole is still great.

But even great games can't please everybody. Personally, I can't stand Starcraft. All the micromanaging is tedious work to me. But I can still recognize Starcraft to be a great game. It has personality, a good plot, cool graphics, strategic depth, etc. It's just not my kind of game. Don't ask me to review it because I won't do it justice.

Gears of War is not Russ Pitts' kind of game, and it has more to do with his particular taste than the ignorable flaws he point out in his review.
 

J.theYellow

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Jun 1, 2007
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maxjae said:
I have played Gears of War to death and there is no doubt in my mind that it is a great game. Its focus on strategy is a breath of fresh air for shooters. The single player, the online co-op, the multiplayer, it's all great because the core gameplay is FUN.
Why is it fun?
 

J.theYellow

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Jun 1, 2007
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I ask the above not because I will ever disparage anyone for liking any form of legitimate entertainment, and I won't ever do that. I just think most of the responses of "but it's fun!" come off thin in reply to the original article. If you had fun playing Gears, great. But is it necessarily more fun than the FPSes that have come since for the 360? Would it have given Halo 3 a run for its money? I have trouble imagining that it could.

Rather, I tend to think Gears came out right on the market bubble. People bought it because there were few good games for the 360 at the time, and even fewer shooters. I don't doubt there was fun to be had, but I wonder how many of the above replies of "but it's fun!" are just people knee-jerking against anything that might make them regret spending money on what might actually be a lackluster game.

Gamers are really good at kidding themselves that way.
 

maxjae

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Sep 28, 2007
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J.theYellow said:
Why is it fun?
Gears is fun because it's more strategic than most shooters. Playing well is as much about good positioning as it is about good shooting. If you take cover close to the enemy, you can pop up and do some real damage, but you're vulnerable to a sudden charge. If an enemy is running up on your position, you can pop out with the shotgun and try to blow him away, or you can blindfire with the lancer (machine gun) which won't damage him much but will make him retreat without having to pop up and make yourself vulnerable. It's these kinds of decisions that make Gears of War fun. Other shooters have this stuff, but it doesn't have as significant an effect on the gameplay as it does in Gears.
 

Redfeather

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Sep 18, 2007
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WHY OH WHY WON'T YOU REVIEW MULTIPLAYER WHHHHHHHY
Here's a thought on why so many reviewers don't. In single player your gaming experience is determined by the game, and you as the player. That's it. And an experienced player can eyeball the game and make determinations about roughly how difficult it's going to be for less experienced gamers. You can even make qualified comments about how the game will be for more experienced players if you as a player are somewhat lacking in an area.

Multiplayer experience depends largely on the other people with whom you play

How many times have you played a game which involves other people, and heard descriptions of it that frankly didn't even sound like it was the same damn game. I have many, many times. Additionally the personality of a player heavily biases one's experience. We all know 'those people' who seem to group with nothing but slackjawed asshats. Strangely enough the only commonality to their experience is...them. Good luck suggesting it's them though, they never seem to believe it.

Plus not everyone plays the multiplayer aspect of a game. Games are sold on the strength of their single player game. Yes, certainly games like Halo3 will have the majority of their market not because of the single player aspect, but the online muliplayer. But that's not a majority of games. And even people who did review Halo3's multiplayer had to stick strongly to mechanics and past history simply because it's so dependant on the others you play with.

Just some thoughts.
 

shadow skill

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Oct 12, 2007
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You know something how does a game with a keymapping that utterly cripples the player deserve all of these high scores? Why for the love of god is it not possible to change the keymapping so that people who use Southpaw and legacy layouts can actually control the game properly? Explain to me how great it is to be forced to use the A button for everything so that if you use the Southpaw layout it becomes virtually impossible to perform the actions that A controls while moving because YOU CANNOT MAINTAIN FULL CONTROL OVER THE STICK AND HOLD DOWN A AT THE SAME TIME WITH YOUR RIGHT THUMB!? I don't feel like choosing between aiming and the ability to move around correctly, and there is no way in hell a game worthy of those kinds of scores should have such a pathetically bad control scheme. What good is any kind of multiplayer if the game mechanic is so horribly broken that you cannot even play properly because the developers were too stupid (and yes they are stupid.) to properly adjust the keymapping to account for the stick options they provided in the first place?
 

Easykill

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I like the aiming and ducking system, although it took some getting used to and I find the visuals are drab but appropriate and theyre not always drab, there are a few instances that youre outside during the game if you bother to take a look around, maybe at the sky which is bright blue and very beautiful.
 

Condorbeta

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Dec 15, 2007
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I agree with a fair bit of the review, but I must say that Halo is also on the big hype machine, and you do seem to treat it like gold. Maybe it's just me playing CS for the last 2 weeks, but I played Halo 3 at a mates house, and the single player was unbearable.

The aiming was sloppy (the assault rifle hardly hits anything unless you're at melee range, and then you might as well press B anyway), and the characters had hardly any 'feeling' to them. Plus, you rarely got to use anything as cover, and you were forced out into a direct firefight, where if you weren't quick, you (and your "super trillion dollar armour") would be gone in a matter of seconds. Don't get me wrong, it's the basis of shooters, but when you have weapons that run out of ammo faster than "your mum", and have weapons that hit the enemy half the time, it pisses you off.

The only really fun aspect I got in Halo was the multiplayer. On certain stages that was REAL fun. Especially the "Sword only" matches.

The first Halo was really the only true gem the series had going for it in singleplayer. After that, it was cliche after cliche, leaving you to have fun with multiplayer or co-op.

It's like what Yahtzee said - Halo isn't a BAD game, it just isn't GREAT. Run of the mill. With a galleon of overhype.

(P.S: Nice, well detailed review. 4.5 / 5 from me.)
 

Necros_21

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Sep 18, 2007
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I think both Halo games and Gears of War are mediocre action games but at least GoW looks great. :)
 

Beery

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May 26, 2004
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Finally a reviewer has the guts to say what many of us have been thinking about this over-hyped and mediocre trailer-trash of a game. I'm still amazed that so many people still buy into the hype for this lemon so many months after its release. I guess it just goes to show how effective marketing (and subconscious homoeroticism) can be.

The only thing I don't agree with the reviewer on is the notion that Halo is any better.
 

Scarpy

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May 10, 2008
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I've got to dis-agree with you there. I LOVED Gears and would do anything for GOW2 to be released faster. And I don't see the amount of hype backing Halo to be worthwhile either. Halo was mediocre. Average. It's fun don't get me wrong, but the campaign was toos short, required no skill, and the graphics really didn't show off what the XBox 360 could really do. GOW, conversly, had exellent graphics, an adequate campaign and a GREAT story. I suppose it's just what kinds of games you like, more serious, tough games like GOW on Insane, or more relaxed games like Halo on Legendary (which isn't even hard AT ALL any more.). This is just my opinion anyway, and I'm sure I'm gonna have a lot of people agreeing and dis-agreeing with me.

*edit* As for the single player game time (Taken o average across all difficulties): Halo 3 6hrs 45 mins GOW: 11hrs 10 mins. HL2 took 10 hours, so GOW is right up there with half-life in terms of story. (Don't flame me, this is just my opinion.)