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    ChronicGamer's Gears of War (360)

    [January 11, 2007 09:40:26 PM]
    So today I played my first online ranked match and I must say it actually doesn't feel too different than playing the single player campaign. But firstly about the multi-player maps. The first map I played was called Old Bones which looks like a cross between a mansion and a museum. The map was dark and haunting which created a nice atmosphere that made gunfire very noticeable. Most of the maps were designed symmetrically with ample obstacles to provide cover. The game type was WARZONE which is a form of team death match. Each player has 1 life and the objective is to eliminate the other team until you win a preset number of rounds. My first game was pretty uneventful as my teammates were bunching up too much and our opponent made full use of the frag grenades and charging us with shotguns. The level is fairly big with large fighting areas as well as buildings with narrow winding corridors, However it seemed that all matches quickly centralized in the middle area and ended quickly. I think the longest round I played was 4 minutes, which is a little disappointing.
    While my first game went terribly, the next one was quite the opposite. Our team had one person who almost single handedly beat the opposition. He had 23 of our 28 kills through 7 rounds. He would immediately grab a sniper rifle, move to an ideal spot and within seconds the round would be over. Obviously this offers a contrast in gameplay experience. Would you rather have a difficult uphill battle against a more experienced foe or be on the winning side of an all to easy slaughter? Unfortunately, this is a frequent occurrence, especially when playing with random teammates.
    Nonetheless, I found my first online multi-player experience with Gears very enjoyable. Talking and coordinating with teammates is (usually) one of the more enjoyable and immersive aspects of online play and this time there were no problems with malcontents. In fact, I probably heard LESS swearing in my online experience than with the single player campaign (unless that French team was being insulting). Although the warzone rounds end fast because of the 1 life rule, I felt that the gameplay had a nice pace and a good mix of strategy. Some teamates would engage in a lengthy, long-distance gunfight while other teammates would strategically maneuver around to get the drop on the opposition. The 3rd person camera makes it easy to spot and surprise enemies from cover and I even found many opportunities to use the chainsaw on unsuspecting foes. Clever tactics really pay off in this game. However, I felt that some of the weapons became harder to aim against real foes, most noticeably the torque bow and sniper rifle. I also felt that the 3rd person camera made it hard to react to enemy flanking and sometimes became difficult to manage in close quarters combat.
    What surprised me most was how similar the experience felt to the single player-campaign. I guess this is a great compliment to the AI design as they really do have human behavior. The maps were gorgeous to look at and well designed around the team strategy concept. I also thought it was cool that when playing the human side, your team was made up of the 4 heroes from the real game. The online component of Gears of War is enjoyable because it offers a different way to enjoy the game. While I feel that the co-op campaign is the single funnest way to experience Gears of War, the competitive multi-player experience is definitely vital to the overall experience of the game.
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    [January 9, 2007 08:32:30 PM]
    I'm in the middle of Act 4-3 "Hazing" on single player. This is a somewhat straight forward segment after the "Bad to Worse" chapter which was and intense standoff against 2 boomers followed by a fight against the invulnerable berserker in the conservatory. The first area you enter is an open garden. A troika gunner is placed at the opposite end at a pretty far distance, which is bad news since they are much more deadly on hardcore difficulty. One small problem with Gears is that the default "casual" difficulty is far to easy for most experienced gamers and the hardcore difficulty is a bit to unforgiving (especially in the final chapters). Anyway, it took me 2 or 3 tries to clean out the wretches (think ghouls from WarCraft 3 except they're speedy and latch onto to your face) and get behind the troika to take out the drones protecting it.
    The next area was a little tougher since their were mostly drones, but the enviornment provided much better cover. However its easy to die instantly when entering this area since a Theron guard fires a torque arrow from the roof across . Torque bows are the deadliest weapon in the hands of enemy since, if an arrow hits you, your body explodes and they are VERY accurate from range. Thankfully he scatters when fired upon just leaving the drones to your left. Cover helped greatly leaving a clear path for a few lancer (chainsaw) KO's which is always a brilliant technical display unto itself. Watching a locust's body rip apart as blood splatters the screen to a grinding symphony never gets old. So the usual shoot from cover, grenade, blind fire, shotgun to face took place. Unfortunately, I found my first glitch in the game. A boomer was supposed to break down a a door after the area was cleared but he never blew it down :(.
    He showed up after I reloaded the last checkpoint and went through the firefight again. After defeating the boomer I hit the next checkpoint and stopped playing.

    Some notes:
    Dom (my AI squadmate) was more suicidal than usual in the last firefight, he rarely used cover.
    I feel the nemycst, which are large floating balls of flesh (or something) do not make very fun enemies.
    Dirty language makes this game great. It just does.

    While I wish the weapon selection was a little more varied, I realize a chainsaw-bayonet is all that matters in this world.

    My next log should be more exciting since I'm nearing the end of Act 4 and something awesome always awaits.
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    ChronicGamer's Gears of War (360)

    Current Status: Playing

    GameLog started on: Tuesday 9 January, 2007

    ChronicGamer's opinion and rating for this game

    Amazing. The best shooter of the year in one of the stronger years for shooters.

    Rating (out of 5):starstarstarstarstar

    Related Links

    See ChronicGamer's page

    See info on Gears of War

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