Last night I had a chance to put a little more time into Gears of War. Like I mentioned earlier, I definitely should have started with the “Casual” difficulty, as I’m enjoying the game a heck of a lot more now. Things are easier (duh) and move along a lot faster than before. I should note, though, that starting at a harder difficulty may actually be beneficial as I now have the skills to take the bad guys out with ease. At the “Hardcore” difficulty there was a lot of “blindfire” shoot-outs (blindfire meaning shooting at the badguys while staying completely covered. You don’t have much accuracy, but you stay safe from their gunfire). The enemies on the Casual level are easier to take down and don’t really coordinate themselves as well as they did on the harder level. I hardly ever have to resort to blindfire. I can’t begin to imagine how tough the Insane difficulty level will be. I imagine there will be a lot of blind shooting.
So the game has become a lot more fun. I can actually progress without having to do the same part over and over again. That definitely helps out in the “enjoyment” department. But I’m also seeing some flaws that I don’t like. If I catch a bad guy heading for cover and I start blasting him, he’ll zoom to safety at an unnatural speed. It looks like he’s warping through air to get to cover. I see it happening all the time and I don’t like it. If I catch him exposed, I should be able to put him down before he gets to cover. It’s cheap to see him safe behind a barricade when I could have easily dropped him before he got there.
The way the game handles your teammates survival is another thing I’m struggling with. I see why they did it (at least I think I do) but it’s still bothering me. If one your squad members is hurt, you can go over and “revive” him. It’s a good system. But if your mate goes down and you don’t get to him before you finish a set checkpoint, he’s immediately healed and waiting by your side. I assume they did that so you don’t have to backtrack and revive your comrade and then head back to the checkpoint. I get that. It’s just breaks the immersion a little bit.
Even still, GoW has a great single player game here, as I’ve not even touched the co-op or multiplayer parts yet. These flaws I point out are pretty minor, but still little thorns in the side of the game. I’m hoping to make some more progress this weekend and hopefully give the online portions of the game a go.