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  1. #1

    Retro|Spective 039: Gears of War

    Once again we explore Microsofts darker toned franchises with this weeks entry:

    Gears of War

    Mainline Entry 01 - Gears of War
    Formats: Xbox 360, Xbox One and PC
    The initial release drew widespread attention to Microsofts second console thanks in no small part to its cutting edge visuals. However, the actual gameplay drew praise as well upon release thanks to the smart way it handled the cover to cover shooter mechanics and reload systems. It's approaches to these would be aped by competition for a long while but the initial game hit the mark best and MS had on its hands an immediate commercial and critical hit franchise to propel its second attempt at cracking the console market. To date this is also the only entry to receive a proper remaster in the Ultimate Edition released a few years ago.

    Mainline Entry 02 - Gears of War 2
    Formats: Xbox 360 and Xbox One
    Following from the original was a pretty straight forward job for the second entry, hype was massive from the get go and the sequel followed the time honoured path of refinement and going bigger with its set pieces. On its own merits the second entry is mostly remembered for the scene with Dom finding his wife and fore the sequels much improved and popular multiplayer modes.

    Mainline Entry 03 - Gears of War 3
    Formats: Xbox 360 and Xbox One
    With such a hit on its hands the chance to close a trilogy in a single generation wasn't missed and the third game rolled out to the masses in familiar form. The game focused mostly on refinement again and closing its storyline leading to a fan pleasing but unsurprising entry. The game was a big success and despite the closing MS was keen to milk the teets of the series one more time this generation...

    Spin Off Entry 01 - Gears of War: Judgment
    Formats: Xbox 360 and Xbox One
    This spin-off strained the definition somewhat as the bulk of the experience mirrors that of the previous three games. The story takes the form of a prequel but alters the gameplay experience by breaking up missions into sections where the player is scored based on their kills and methods where stars are handed out, these unlock a bonus chapter set after GOW3. The game received positive reviews but with time has attracted some scorn from some corners.

    Mainline Entry 04 - Gears of War 4
    Formats: Xbox One and PC
    Set years after the previous games, this new entry restarts the storyline and boils down to 'the next generation'. Bringing a new generation of visuals, the core gameplay remains very traditional to what came before and comes following MS buying the rights off Epic. The response was positive but it lacked the impact the previous games held due to how traditional to the previous generation entries it was.

    Share your thoughts and memories of the Gears of War franchise so far

  2. #2
    This is a series where I've enjoyed every single entry. Judgment is definitely one I feel gets an overly bad wrap when, despite the changes, it's not different enough to be significantly worse. However it's not a series I deeply treasure and though GOW4 was enjoyable the shift to the new characters made it feel a bit more generic as they were so bland and its main trouble is it hasn't really evolved.

  3. #3
    I loved the first two, and I think the second one is often undersold. People say it was too similar, but I suspect many of those people haven't gone back to the first game since playing the second one; it's actually hugely superior in terms of gunplay and controls. The first one feels clunky afterward.

    That being said, I think I played 3 as well, but after that, I was done. Similar to Mass Effect, I think it's a shame that it's still being flogged like this.

  4. #4
    I have only played the first three. I love all three but the first is definitely a bit more special to me even though the sequels brought some improvements. The thing I loved about the first was the perfect balance in the tension for me. I found it really tough at first and had to play really carefully. I felt under threat at all times. And hearing "BOOOOOOM" was terrifying because I knew one hit could take me out - the stakes instantly jumped when I heard that. I played through on Hard or whatever the equivalent was and it was a serious challenge for me and had to chip away at it bit by bit.

    I loved how it looked, even with the desaturation, and it had some incredible sequences like the spotlight bits and so on. I felt like I was on a journey through real places... except for that one jump where it felt like something was missing and I think that missing chunk became a PC bit or something.

    The second was a lot more action and, in ways, more fun. But with it lost the tension. I no longer feared the boom and could play far less strategically. And then also seemed to have really stupid AI companions. It looked technically better and more colourful but when we went underground I didn't buy those areas as being real places - there was no sense of worldbuilding and the locations just seemed like generic game locations rather than anywhere these things lived.

    The third got even bigger and more shooty and more set piecy and fun and colourful. It's the big splashy hollywood version of the series and, as that, I think it worked really well. It doesn't have what I loved about the first but it brings its own fun and improved on many aspects that bugged me about the second one so, for me, kind of makes that second one a bit redundant. I could play the first for the tense shooter and the third for the big action game.

    They're good games all though.

  5. #5
    Gears Of War 2. It knocked me socks off, what a brilliant, impressive game!!! Apparently DLC is free right now or has been, recently. For the 49p you can get it for, this is up there with MW1&2, a brilliantly presented, truly epic experience available for sod-all.

    I always remember this bit when you're on this walker thing, blew me away. Played so well, too. Superb!!!

    Loved the first game but it felt too grey, 2 had more variety and colour. Didn't like 3 that didn't feel quite right and the visuals didn't knock my socks off like 2, I felt a bit disappointed in it but clocked it nevertheless.

    Got Judgment sitting in the 'to play' stack, well, on my 360's HDD so I really have no excuse.

    I even played Quantum Theory. It's actually not too bad but god knows why they proper censored it over here, not like it stood a chance against GOW, anyway, might've helped the sales a tad if it had more blood n guts..

  6. #6
    Clue for thread 40:

    Clue - Saved by a spanner and an In-Your-Endo


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