Tuesday, 28 October 2008

Brushing up on some Gears

I wonder quite how many people are doing, or have been contemplating doing, what I got up to for a great deal of last weekend. With the imminent release of Gears of War 2 for the Xbox 360, I felt it wise to return to some old ground with the original Gears of War. Released in late 2006, this is still one beast of a third-person shooter.

Playing Gears again reminded me of quite how good it was. Sometimes it's too easy as a gamer to knock games and take the truly important stuff for granted. Playing through it on the Insane difficulty setting with a pal over Xbox Live co-op affirmed for me one thing above everything else; that this game still remains to be bettered. No shooter has really come close to offering the level of co-op integration that exists in Gears. Sure, Vegas 1 & 2 gave us a few laughs, and no doubt Halo 3 kept parties keen well into the night, but there is no denying that in terms of integration of co-op gameplay Gears is the daddy.

I was also reminded of the simple fact that Gears just feels solid and smooth around the edges. It's in the details such as the way a bright orange glow will pierce bullet holes upon initial impact with solid surfaces. It's in the way the cover system is just flawless. It's in the way your A.I teammates just seem to get on with it and it's in the way the active reload feature keeps even reloading your weapon entertaining.

Frankly, I just forgot about the calibre of game Gears represented. I forgot how much of a marvel it was and remains today. I'm sure vast swarms of gamers will be revisiting this title over the next few weeks in preparation for the arrival of the sequel and I bet most of them conclude much the same as I; that in actuality we've seen little in the way of greatness over these last two years.

Call of Duty 4 stands out for me as the only truly special game to have come out since Gears. Again, the key with CoD4 was its polish. The 60 fps touch. The unique perk multiplayer. The engrossing story. The developers just had that special touch that makes a great game. GTA IV just didn't quite nail it for me atleast - not enough for me to call it great anyway. Halo 3 certainly didn't. The rest were never really in the competition.

Roll on Gears 2 then.

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