August 20, 2013
Seventh Generation Reflection: Gears Of War
As one of the first Xbox 360 exclusives, and an original seventh-generation franchise, Gears of War has made its mark on the third-person shooter genre with its’ gruesome action and not-so-original space marine plot. Let’s take a look back at the last seven years of Gears of War.
Epic Games released Gears of War exclusively for Xbox 360 on November 7, 2006, and later on the PC. The game follows a group of COG soldiers, including protagonists Marcus Fenix and Dominic Santiago, as they fight to liberate what little is left of the planet Sera from the Locuste Horde. It’s a third-person shooter with a huge emphasis on cover-based combat and strategic movement and targeting, inspired by Resident Evil 4 and Kill Switch. In addition to a campaign featuring five-acts, the game features co-op and some sections with two paths that the player can choose between Marcus and Dominic. The multiplayer consists of two teams of four fighting one another. One team represents the Gears, while the other team represents the Locusts. There are two game modes, one where one player on each team is nominated to be the leader, who has special abilities that the rest of the team doesn’t. The objective is to track down and kill the other team’s leader. Gears of War was praised for its visuals and sound, cover-based gameplay and level design, while it was criticized for some of its plot elements and controls in the PC version. It received many Game of the Year awards and received 8’s and 9’s out of 10.
Gears of War 2 was released for the Xbox 360 exactly two years later, continuing the story of the first game as the COG are still fighting to liberate Sera from the Locust forces. This installment included much of the same style of gameplay, with a few new mechanics such as “chainsaw duels.” Many more weapons and vehicles were also added to Gears 2. The multiplayer also got some updates, allowing for five-on-five matches, and adding new game modes such as Guardian, Submission, a capture the flag variant, and Wingman, where the ten players are split into five teams of two. A Horde Mode was also introduced, where a team of five players fights against increasingly difficult waves of Locusts. Epic Games also used a new modified version of Unreal Engine 3 for the graphics, allowing for hordes of actors to be rendered at a time. Gears 2 received 9’s out of 10, falling just short of perfect scores because of an underwhelming final act and a few multiplayer bugs.
Gears of War 3 released for Xbox 360 on September 10, 2011, ending the Gears trilogy. It tells the story of Marcus and the Gears as they fight against a new threat, the Lambent, while trying to preserve the little human life left on the planet. Gears 3 retains the same gameplay as the previous two installments, with new mechanics such as destructible cover. Multiplayer received some new game modes such as “Capture the Leader” and “Beast,” a reversal of Horde Mode where the players play as the Locust against the COG. Gears of War 3 received 9’s out of 10.
Gears of War: Judgment is the fourth and latest installment of the series, released on March 19, 2013. Judgment told the story of Damon Baird and the rest of Kilo squad during the events of Gears of War and Gears of War 2. The campaign featured smaller missions where players have to meet certain criteria to get the highest score possible. Also added to the multiplayer were two new game modes, Free-For-All, and OverRun, another twist on Horde where there’s a team of COG and a team of Locusts. Gears of War: Judgment wasn’t received as well as previous installments because the game didn’t have as much content as the original trilogy. It received 7’s and 8’s out of 10.
Image Credit: Epic Games