GEARS OF WAR
By Ferry "Sadhonker" Adams on January 8, 2016
Ah, 2016 is here, opening up a number of possibilities as far as our Big Red Timemachine is concerned. As some of you may know, I strive to only review games that were originally released 10 years or more ago. Yes, yes, there have been a few exceptions, but I had a very good reason for all of them and, being the ruler of time and space, I donít need to follow the rules all of the time. So, now that 2016 has finally arrived, letís see what games have reached the required age for our little time experiment. Hmmm... no... no... yes... maybe... no... oh, that was also a cool game, but weíll save that one for later. Oh alright, Iím just pretending I donít know what game to pick! In truth, Iíve been dying to review this next game for quite some time now.
But, first things first; Iím sure you are all dying to know how my brave crew is doing. Well, so are theyÖ at least for the dying part. Yes, ladies and gentlemen, Iím sad to announce that my entire crew has diedÖ a really stupid death. As we all know, New Years Eve is the time for resolutions, forgiveness and getting blindly drunk. Usually, this does not have to be a problem. It rapidly becomes a problem though, when a bunch of people decide to celebrate this momentous occasion on the bottom of the ocean floor among the remains of the once mighty Atlantis (yes, we know where it is and no, Iím not going to tell you!). Because it is built to withstand tremendous pressure, they took the spare timemachine out for a spin to do just that, even after I had strongly recommended they didnít. As far as weíve been able to deduce, the party was going swimmingly until two of the drunken gits wanted to have a little party of their own and mistook the outer hatch for the bathroom door.
Can you imagine what happens if you open the outer hatch of a submerged vehicle at 20í000 ft below sea-level? No? Let me rephrase the question; have you ever seen a soda can after a big truck has run over it a couple of times? Exactly, thereís your answer! So, due to a shortage in able staff members, I will personally oversee this weekís Big Red Timemachine. And boy oh boy, have I got a game in store for you. It has it all: firefights, awesome characters, a fantastic, story-driven campaign and, last but not least, chainsaw bayonets! Yes, ladies and gentlemen, boys and girls: the year is 2006 and the game in question is, as most of you will have guessed by now, Gears of War.
Released by Epic Games for the Xbox 360 in 2006 and for the PC a year later, Gears of War regaled us with tales of blood, bullets and bona fide third person mayhem. In a distant future, the earth-like planet Sera is invaded by alien aggressors, known as the Locust horde. These Locusts want nothing more than to decimate humanity as much as they possibly can. Needless to say, we humans will not stand for this and fight back, so a global war ensues. To cope with the sheer numbers of enemies, the best and bravest soldiers are assembled into Special Forces units, known as Gears. We play through its blood-drenched campaign as Marcus Fenix, an ex-Gear and Persona Non Grata as far as the army is concerned. When the game starts, we are sprung from jail by our old Delta Squad comrade Dominic Santiago. It seems that everybody in there was pardoned; they only forgot to tell Marcus.
After a short tutorial, itís right into the action! Bullets flying left and right; ducking and weaving through the battlefield in the nowadays well-known roadie run stance. And, of course, the best part; letting your alien foesí faces make the acquaintance of your chainsaw bayonet. At the time, Gears of War featured one of the most excellent story-driven campaigns Iíd ever seen. Our mission to eradicate the alien scum takes us to exotic locations across the planet, ranging from deserted cities to giant subterranean caves. Everywhere we turn, we are attacked by Locusts, hell-bent on our destruction. To decimate these Locust forces, Marcus can use his trusty chainsaw gun, or pick up any weapons that are dropped by dead enemies. This lets the player really choose his or her approach to any given hurdle; if you prefer to stay away from the center of the battle, you can always use a sniper rifle. But if youíre a bit like me, you just run screaming into the thick of it and start blasting and chainsawing your way through hordes of enemies.
What I liked most about Gears of War is the fact that it features a glorious split-screen co-op mode, which lets two players team up on the couch and fight the Locust Horde together. Yes, online co-op is also a possibility, but I kinda like the split screen. True, it does narrow your field of view somewhat, but it more than makes up for that with the fun there is to be had when you invite a friend over and start blasting. When playing Gears of War in co-op mode, one of the players controls the always grouchy Marcus Fenix, while the other one controls the somewhat more cheerful Dominic Santiago. One of the things that make playing the co-op mode so much fun is the fact that you can decide what strategy to use and who goes where, instead of just storming ahead while hoping that the AI doesnít bugger up your plan too much.
Gears of War really put the Third Person Shooter genre on the map. Its characters were brilliant, as was its story; its visuals were absolutely stunning, the controls were simple yet effective. Combine this with an awesome soundtrack and you have yourself a winner! Iíve personally played this game for hours on end, and donít see myself giving up on it in the foreseeable future, especially with the re-release of Gears of War on the Xbox One. Now everybody that hasnít had a chance to enjoy this awesome game can easily enjoy it on their shiny new console. So what are you waiting for? Get out there, rev your chainsaw and save Sera from these scum-sucking Locusts. ALRIGHT MEN! WE KNOW WHAT WE HAVE TO DO! LETíS SHOW THESE LOCUSTS THE REAL MEANING OF PAIN. FOR SERAÖ CHAAAAAARRRGEEEEEE!
And thatís all the time we have for today! Incidentally, due to the untimely demise of my brave but incredibly dumb crew, I will need to go out and find new recruits to train, so I will not be here for the next Big Red Timemachine. In my stead, Diana ďDumeeGamerĒ Dumee will do the honors and guide you through what will undoubtedly be an excellent adventure. As for me, I will be interviewing several candidates for my new crew. I think the 2014 Olympic Russian womenís curling team is in town, so I think Iíll start by ďinterviewingĒ them... simultaneously. Wish me luck!