CARY, N.C. – The early reviews are in, and it appears “Gears of War” from Epic Games is living up to the hype given it for months.
In 10 rankings compiled by GameRankings.com, the new Xbox 360 title distributed by Microsoft Game Studios received almost all near-perfect scores.
“It’s here that you truly realize what a masterpiece Epic has created in Gears of War,” wrote Jonathan Miller at the website IGN. “Yes, it’s the most gorgeous looking game on the Xbox 360, period. Yes, the sound design is worthy of awards. Yes, the game is fun as hell. But playing with a friend, as you bark flanking orders into your headset over Live, or across the room during a system-link game, or right next to you in a split-screen campaign, you realize that Epic has created the 360 game we all hoped for, and that Gears of War more than lives up to the impossible hype.”
Miller headlined Gears of War as a “killer app.” So too did another reviewer.
“Gears of War is definitely the killer app that will help Microsoft sell Xbox 360s this year and beyond,” wrote John Gaudiosi, a widely published game reviewer for his blog at WRAL.com. After his first exposure to the game, he added: “ … I can tell you that so far, the game matches the unprecedented amount of hype that Microsoft and the gaming community has created for it.”
MTV.com’s reviewer described Gears of War as “downright amazing” and “a wicked game of hide-and-seek.”
“In Gears of War, a slab of concrete is your best friend,” the reviewer said. “And if that slab of concrete isn’t around, you can always make do with burned-out cars, piles of metal, huge columns, or even the ever-popular wall next to a doorway. Why are these inanimate objects so friendly? Because if you aren’t hiding behind something in Gears of War, you might as well be dead.”
However, not every reviewer liked all aspects of Gears.
“In my opinion, if videogames want to be taken as seriously as Hollywood films, they need to present a compelling narrative, not just good graphics. Yet there I was, deciding oh-so-begrudgingly to give Gears of War an Editor’s Choice award when its story was such an utter disappointment,” wrote Jonas Allen at DailyGame.net. “That’s what I hate about this game: its quality in every regard other than the story earned it a 9 out of 10.”
GameRankings.com reported these mostly sizzling scores for Gears of War:
IGN: 9.4 of 10
GameSpot: 9.6 of 10
Game Informer: 9.5 of 10
GamePro: 4.75 of 5
Yahoo! Games: 4.5 of 5
TeamXbox: 9.6 of 10
1 Up: 10 of 10
Computer & Video Games: 9 of 10
Eurogamer: 8 of 10
Games Radar: 10 of 10
As for the violence and the grimness of the story, science fiction author Eric Nylund said Gears of War doesn’t exceed his tolerance level. Nylund, who helped Epic create the story, is best known as author of two novels about the hot-selling “Halo” game series from Microsoft. A third novel is forthcoming.
“There are many things I’m not comfortable with (which I’m not going to listed here),” he told Tim Surette of GameSpot. “Gears has none of that stuff – just a bunch of guys with guns and chainsaws fighting for the survival of humanity. And there’s nothing wrong with that!”