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52 Reviews

Gears of War

Jon Blyth closes down his higher brain functions and learns to love it

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Between this and the large menu of competitive multiplayer game styles and maps, you've got a huge amount of added value.

Now, let's accept the truth that you probably do know a bit about Gears of War. You want to know whether it's a shoddy Resident Evil 4 rush job. You want to know about those new bits that fill the confusing gap left behind on the 360. You want me to stop saying "Have you heard of videogames? I hear some of them can be quite fun."

The biggest fear for GOW was being forced, by sloppy interpretation, on to a
360 controller. Not only doesn't this happen, but the ease of control and the sheer, stupid boost of enjoyment I got from the game, having previously been saddled with the 360 controller, is a slap in the face for everyone who's ever got it wrong.


Everyone knows that the mouse and keyboard is the best combination for shooters, and although GOW came from a console, Epic's PC heritage has done the platform proud.

The PC version is just plain better. Even the camera - the bane of the third-person shooter genre - doesn't cause any problems. I'm going to repeat myself and say that the squad control is rubbish again, just for the sake of saying something unpleasant.

If you finished the game on the 360, you'll have noticed a bit of a plot change at the end; that's because most of the fifth act was missing. This has been restored for the PC, and these levels are bigger, more punishing, with more distance and Locusts between checkpoints than the console version. You'll also get to hunt the 30ft tall Brumak.

The worst thing that can be said about GOW is simply that it takes an engaging, well-developed combat system and works it to death. And, yes, the core gameplay is repetitive enough to occasionally break the immersion. But the loop of cover-kill-advance is broken up by just enough diversions - the blind Berserkers, the light-fearing Kryll, vehicles and bosses - to keep you engaged.

Sadly, with these distractions, the game's instinct is to patronise you with deflatingly obvious clues. It would have been nice to have been trusted - if only for a couple of minutes - before being told what to do. But like I said, if you pansy intellectuals want to walk around thinking, go read a book.

The PC version of Gears of War is a welcome reminder of how much better PC gaming can be, and that it can do big, stupid action way better than the consoles that took stupid to the masses.

And the extra levels that won't be released on Xbox because it can't handle them? Well, that's just f****ing funny.

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The verdict

Please sir, can I have war?

  • Immersive, beefy guns
  • Beats the 360 version for gameplay and length
  • Co-op play triples the fun
  • Repetitive
  • You need a Games For Windows LIVE account