Gears of War First Impressions

Image1.jpgI had a bit of a scare right off the bat — I started up my 360 to the red ring of death. I panicked because I ran the Dashboard update last week and hadn’t booted up the 360 since. Just last night I chatted with a buddy of mine whose 360 died on him shortly after updating, so I was certain mine was down for the count, too. But I turned it off, took a deep breath, restarted it and it booted right up. Phew. I thought I’d be GoW-less for a minute there.

So, what to say about my first impressions? I’ll be honest — for the first half hour, I was not digging GoW at all. I didn’t like the controls, they felt too sluggish for me and things didn’t feel right. The action was intense, almost too much so. At times, so many things were going on around me that I was completely disoriented and going crazy trying to figure out what the frack was going on. I couldn’t tell my teammates apart from the bad guys. As soon as I’d find something to shoot at, someone was blasting me in the face. I had no idea how he got around me, but there he was, punching my face in.

Then I realized that all the mayhem was exactly how the game was supposed to feel. The bad guys were actually using a little bit of strategy. One guy kept me occupied with the other one flanked me. I finally got comfortable with the duck-and-cover gameplay and how to watch my back and things started to click. I was using the environment to my advantage and I was curb stomping grubs in no time.

I think my first mistake was not starting off with the easy/normal difficulty. I jumped right in with the higher difficulty and I think that hindered my progress. When I go back to the game tomorrow, I’m starting over with the normal difficulty. Call me a sissy, but I’d rather get a better hang of the game before I tried to tackle the harder difficulties.

Aside from the control issues I have primarily, I can say that Gears of War is, so far, an excellent game. The visuals are stunning. The details, like heat coming off the barrel of the gun to the sweat and grime on the soldiers arms, are amazing. I still can’t get over how good things look, especially on my standard-def TV. It looks FANTASTIC. The sound is great and the voice acting is a treat as well. Gears of War is one polished game.

I will say that the learning curve is probably going to be steep for a lot of people. I think it may turn some people off, especially those who will be hoping for a run and gun shooter. GoW certainly isn’t that at all. But if you’re willing to get past the learning curve, GoW is extremely fun. I can’t wait to get back to it.


  1. I wouldn’t call you a sissy at all for going through casual first. You spend your money on games to have fun with them, not to impress other games with playing on a harder difficulty; at least that is how I look at it. I went straight to casual difficulty and am having a blast with the game. I adapted to the controls very quickly and was not taken by surprise by how it played, probably because I’ve watched a couple of videos of gameplay to get an idea of how the action would be. Watching someone else play makes it very clear that this is a “stop and pop” game (as 1UP put it), and anyone expecting a run and gun game will probably be very disappointed.

  2. This game looks very interesting, I just wish I could try it out. I get to though, I’m going to my local 24 hr walmart 6 hrs before the midnight release, if i’m first, I can play around with the demo booths untill other people start showing up.

  3. I have yet to play this game because the family is sick and hogging the TV. Sigh.

  4. When I finish Oblivion I will grab GoW. If it is as good as you say I will forget all about the Fable fiasco.


  5. Will – switching to casual has made a marked improvement. I’m glad I did. And yeah, this is definitely not a Rambo-style, guns blazing kind of game.

    ag – Should those sick family members be in bed? I know I didn’t get to watch TV when I was sick.

    Bobster – I thought I had redeemed myself from the Fable fiasco with Guild Wars and EVE? I know we’re not playing those anymore, but those should have erased your memory of Fable, right?

    For those who don’t know what we’re talking about – I highly recommended Fable to Bobster. Due to my high praise, he ordered a copy of the game and when it didn’t show up fast enough, he bought another copy. If you’ll remember, Fable SUCKED. So yeah, I lost a lot of credibility that day. I’m still paying for it!

  6. OUCH! so he paid $100 for fable?

  7. Got this game last night, plugged it in, and it won’t run for more than 10 minutes without crashing (I tried like ten times. It’s so damn frustrating).

    I think I’m gonna call MS and yell at them a bit for crappy hardware.

  8. FS – actually, probably more than that, since he ordered one that he to pay shipping on.

    Jason – that sucks! Is it an overheating problem? Hopefully you’ll get things straightened out, because it’s a great game. It’d be a shame you couldn’t play it.

  9. FlamingSquirrel says

    AH! Seriously, Fable is worth a $3.50 rent, not $100!

    Wii launch is coming closer, I should have enough cash now (I sold a ton of things on, but have yet to be paid for them) Me and my freind are camping at a 24 hr walmart for 6 hours before hand, but I can’t afford any games! I guess Wii Sports will have to satify me for a while, I am playing Metriod Prime 2 though, GREAT game, must have for anyone with a GC

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