The StarSoldier


Artist touch:. Cover art rating: 8/10

(Epic Games, November 2006)

Month it won: 2007

Special note: .

Introduction and Story:
Microsoft's Xbox 360 was all the rage in the holiday 2005 season and gamers everywhere were going nuts for the then new console. It wasn't uncommon for people to pay over thousand bucks for it while their kids didn't eat. I'm still mad at my dad. Anyway the problem is in 2006 the Xbox 360 is getting heavy competition from new arrivals Sony's Playstation 3 and Nintendo's Weeeeee consoles so they are no longer had the edge of newest system out there. Microsoft didn't just bend over and give up though because they had a secret weapon with the game called Gears of War! Although Gears of War appears to be a lot like hundreds of other dire survival/shooting games in a war tore environment we all seen before, the game does several awesome things to help separate it from the pack.

First things first: the story here is a planet kind of like Earth is under attack from a violent race of subterranean creatures known as the Locust. In a last ditch effort to repress the Locust uprising you are freed from prison to help with the resistance Gears army. Yeah, it kind of sounds like Halo 2 or something like that but it's a bit more gritty at least and I still found myself caring about what happens to these flawed but interesting characters.
Controls and Game Play:

This is a third person shooter where you control the scarred anti-hero Marcus Phoenix or his friend Dom. You can either play the story mode with two players via split screen on the same TV or there is even the option to get another player from online as well. Of course you just might need to play this game with two players here because regardless of the three difficulties you pick here if you want live through this intense action game you have to take cover and shoot at the right time. If you just go in guns blazing you're dead meat. I seen this cover using game play in other games like Rainbow Six and Full Spectrum Warrior but using this stop and pop technique here really helps the game feel unique since this is more of a Sci-fi environment now.

The only problem with using cover here is that it's all assigned to the 'A' button here. This wouldn't be so bad if that button wasn't also used for rolling out of the way of fire as well. I often found myself sticking to walls and rocks when I didn't want to but it still wasn't too bad overall and the controls are very user friendly and don't take too long to master. The game makes up for highly sticky game play with some killer list of weapons to try out like a freaking laser beam that shoots down from a satellite to a machine gun with a chainsaw mounted tip. I love hitting a unexpecting opponent with a good melee chainsaw attack just to see the blood fly heh heh. The game even has a feature where you can reload faster if you hit the button at the right time but it can also slow you down if you not careful too.

Graphics and Sounds:
Another thing cool about the game is the stunning/nearly life like graphics and realistic sound effects that are easily some of the best I ever seen in a video game so far. This ruined world here has everything from huge cities landscapes littered with urban decay to underground caverns filled freaky enemies like giant spiders. It's a shame the multi-player can only be played with up to 8 players but the fighting is always very fast and chaotic plus the game never lags either. That's great when you're trying to crush someone's head in, eh? Remember this game is rated M for a reason because not only is there tons of blood and decapitations, but there is a lot of foul language from the Gear soldiers as well. The game also comes with a great list of music when enemies start attacking or when an important cinema kicks in to help complete the package.
The Bottomline:

So when it's all said and done did the game live up to the hype? OK, the cover based game play here can get repetitive and sometimes I can't always tell if I'm shooting a teammate or a enemy since everything looks so gray here but those are just very minor complaints to the incredible action found in both single player or multi-player modes here. The game also breaks up the constant need to find cover action like when you have several smaller enemies attacking at once or if there is a freakish blind but very powerful Berserker creature in the area. The cool thing about Berserker is it can rip you apart in one hit if it detects you and that's just one of many big enemies in the game here. With all it's features it's easy to see why this was one of the biggest video games of 2006. The bottomline is if you have a Xbox 360 and you love gun games with excellent graphics, sounds, and controls then you have to get the very vicious Gears of War.

*Xbox Live compatible

overall rating: 94/100

For 1 to 8 players
Rated (M) for Mature
graphics: 10/10
sound: 9/10
gameplay: 9/10
replay: 9/10

(Ryan Genno) 2007

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