Gears of War

Review

posted 11/7/2007 by John Yan
other articles by John Yan
One Page Platforms: PC
The big addition to the game going to the PC is the new Brumak sequence. Previewed at E3 and clamored for by fans, the Brumak sequence isn't just a tiny tacked on fight with the big lug. In fact, there's a good hour and change of content added to tackle a plot hole with the train and also introduce a few new environments. You'll fight in a nicely done theater, parking garage, a few other new outdoor areas to name a few. The new act's difficulty has also increased as a few times you'll be attacked on multiple fronts. You'll definitely be on your toes more as you can just rely on the enemies coming from one area. Throughout the act, the you'll see the Brumak trudge around and even get a tease of a fight with him before the final showdown. The final fight with the Brumak is also pretty intense as that monster not only has a few machine guns but the ability to launch a few rockets at you as well. Epic did a great job with the new content and I'm happy that they added so much more when they ported the game rather then just going through the motions and releasing a straight port of the content.

The move to keyboard and mouse on the PC made this game really easy though. I had a relatively easy time getting through all the levels on hardcore by myself because I was so much more accurate with the setup. I was able to track my gun on the heads of the Locust without any problems right from the get go adjusting for the recoil of the guns. I tried jumping into a game of Gears on the Xbox 360 after a long layoff and had a great deal of problems adjusting to the aiming and controls. Playing on the PC however, I was comfortable right from the get go with the keyboard and mouse. Because you can be so much more accurate with the mouse in a relatively short amount of time, the game is a lot easier on the PC than on the Xbox 360 at higher difficulty levels. Easy was just way too easy and hardcore was easy.

On the 360 you change weapons via the D-Pad. On the PC version, the mouse wheel now scrolls through your available weapons. You won't get the exact selection of weapon that you want with what the D-Pad offers you but changing weapons with the mouse wheel is pretty fast and any PC gamer that has experience with FPS games will be pretty comfortable and quick in changing weapons.

A few other little control additions help make the game easy to play. You can double click forward to initiate the run. Double click the side or back keys and you'll dive in that direction. If you want to dive forward, just tap the space bar while pushing forward. The double click action can be turned off and all dives can be performed by tapping the space bar if you desire. Holding the space bar will also initiate the run. Of course,everything's adjustable on the PC version so you can change the key actions if you wish which is something I like about the PC port.

One thing I wish they would've incorporated though was a true save system. Like the Xbox 360 game, you'll have to move to checkpoints for your progress to be saved. I've always disliked the checkpoint system and PC gamers are used to saving whenever they please. Now it can be argued that you can't be as reckless since you can't save at anytime but I think a save system should've been implemented. At least the checkpoints aren't too far off from each other though so it does save often.

If you love playing multiplayer Gears of War, Epic has included three new multiplayer maps for you to fight on. Added to the multiplayer modes is King of the Hill. You are given capture points and you score points for the amount of time you have the active point captured. You have to stay inside the capture point though to rack up the score making it a little different from Annex. A new point is presented to you once the maximum score possible is allocated for the point. The gametype also lets you spawn as much as you want so you don't have to sit out a round once you die like Deathmatch.

Modders will be happy to see that UnrealED is included letting you make new content for the game. I've used a few variants of the editor going back to the original Unreal Tournament days and it's really simple to create new levels with it. The GUI isn't too complicated and you can easily import your new levels into the game. You can't use the new levels on the 360 of course but PC folks should have a great deal of new maps to fiddle around with once the game's in the hands of modders. I'm anxious to see what modders can do to extend the game over level creations. I'd love to see the engine used with different genres though perhaps seeing the game skinned and tuned for a Western or a modern day tactical shooter. Epic's always great about giving the community the tools necessary to generate new content of their own and they continue the tradition with Gears of War.

Since the game has Games for Windows Live components, there is are Achievements in this game as well. Most of them are the same but there are a few on the Xbox 360 that the PC version doesn't have. A total of 50 are available while the 360 has 57 Achievements that you can earn. I wouldn't be surprised if more were added in the near future.
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