Saturday, May 13, 2006
I'll admit to having some skepticism about this title going into E3. I hadn't read too much about it, but I remember hearing hype about it ever since the terrible MTV unveiling of the 360. During that program, they only showed a brief video clip of the game, but that didn't stop droves of Xbox fans from salivating all over it. This kind of hype usually drives me away from a game, but I approached it at E3 with an open mind. I got to watch one of the developers demonstrate the single-player mode in a special theater screening. Upon leaving that room, I had officially been sold. The "cover and fire" gameplay looked extremely solid, and it seemed easy to conrol while simultaneously innovative. My newfound optimism was only solidified when I got to play the game behind closed doors. In these five multiplayer rounds, I had an absolute blast. Battles were quick and ferocious, and everything from the sniping to the close-quarters melee controls were excellent. Gears of War has quickly jumped to the top of my "must have" games list for the Xbox 360.
Gears of War was easily one of the titles that I was looking forward to getting a better look at during the course of E3. And thankfully, I wasn't disappointed. During a brief multiplayer demo, I had the pleasure of getting to try out what is sure to be the next big game on Xbox Live. The game we played was 4v4 team-based gameplay, with humans vs. the locust hordes. Both sides played similarly, and the only difference was cosmetic. The "stop and pop" cover-based gameplay works extremely well in a multiplayer setting, and enhanced a lot of the tension when the numbers playing the game dwindled. Gears of War is just as beautiful in-motion as it is in screenshots, and the gameplay was just as great. One of my favorite gameplay elements from Gears was the melee chainsaw, which essentially just lets you rip another player in half if you're lucky enough to get close to them. Gears of War was definitely one of my favorite games of the show, and I can't wait to get my hands on it again once the game comes out later this year.
You've heard the hype. Microsoft's Ace of the show, Epic's Gears of War, was the most beautiful game of the show this week. Shown in a specially constructed Xbox Theater right on the show floor, and playable behind closed doors, this game blew our collective minds. Nothing else on the show floor made me gasp more than when I sawed my opponents in half with the chainsaw secondary function of my assault rifle in a hard fought team deathmatch. The game is slower than your average FPS, as duck and cover mechanics are the primary focus of the game. I'm normally a big fan of the run and gun style FPS's so I really expected to not like this game, but it really works well within it's unique system. This is hands down the Xbox 360 title of the show.