April 7th, 2007 08:51 EST
Epic Games is a name familiar to most video game fans. They are the creators of the famed Unreal series. Their latest project, however, is a slight deviation from the gameplay of Unreal Tournament and has been looked forward to, and in development, for quite some time. The project I`m talking about is the now critically acclaimed Gears of War. Ever since the first screenshots were shown at E3 2005, gamers have been eagerly awaiting its release to get their hands on one of the best looking games yet.
Gears of War, which was released on November 7, 2006, is one of the best looking and most advanced game of the current video game generation. The game uses Epic`s "Unreal Engine 3` and is the first game released to use this advanced graphics engine. The visuals in Gears of War are simply amazing. In cinematic sequences where the camera is zoomed in on the characters, you can see all of the detail in their faces-- including wrinkles, scars, and even sweat.
Going beyond the stunning visuals, the game does a fairly good job at getting the player involved in the gameplay, and interested in the characters` stories. There have been many games before that have tried to draw the players in and get them involved with the characters in the game but have always fallen short. In GoW, the creators at Epic have done a very good job at getting the player involved with the characters and their stories in order to expand upon the already amazing gameplay.
Gears of War is a third-person shooter... which means you control the character from a camera view position behind him. The creators use this perspective to the player`s advantage. For example, when the player is taking cover behind a pillar, there are many options to advance from that position. The player has the option of leaning out to try and get a shot on the enemy, another option is to move from one area of cover to the next, yet another is to dive out from your cover or to move forward and run to another area. With all of the options available in any given situation, this gives the player many choices to advance in the game.
With the options available in the game, the amazing visuals, and the way the game pulls the player into the game`s world, it is definitely one of the best games available on the Xbox 360. While these features alone are enough to make this an incredible game, the story is also rather encompassing. In the game, you play as Marcus Fenix, an ex-special forces soldier who is set free to help the humans on earth stop a menacing enemy force known as the locusts. The game takes players through urban environments, through sewer systems, and in houses, among other places. The game proceeds mainly on foot, requiring caution at every turn; but in some areas of the game, it progresses with the player driving vehicles and manning turrets to fight off the enemy forces.
Through the various environments, and using the many different pieces of equipment, you will fight a plethora of different types of enemies. There are many varied "species` of the locust forces which range from small and fast creatures to large, lumbering enemies with brute strength and heavy weaponry. There is also the occasional boss fight, where the player will take on enormous monsters in order to advance the gameplay. The game also has some fairly easy puzzles to solve in order to move on to the next area.
The game has 3 different difficulty levels to accommodate gamers of all skill levels. The game also has different achievements unlockable in various ways. For example, if you collect certain amounts of "COG` tags, (the equivalent of DOG tags) you can gain points that will add up for your online profile.
The game also has many multiplayer options, playable on one system or playing online with many opponents. The multiplayer has different game modes, including free-for-alls and team battles. Playing the game online can also net you some more achievement points to flaunt with your online profile.
All in all, with the amazing visuals, stunning gameplay, and it`s diverse features in between, this game is definitely one of the best I have played in a very long time. Be aware that this game is rated "M` for mature and has definitely earned this rating, so it`s not for all ages. But older teens will definitely enjoy it. My final word on Gears of War is that it is by far one of the best games to be released on any platform in years.