When I first got Gears of War (the very first one), it was still back in the time when I was more of a single player fan over multiplayer. There had been a few games that I liked playing online but for the most part I avoided online. Mostly that was down to the fact that my experience with online play on the PC was full of people trying to cheat or doing everything possible to get the upper hand.
I didn’t really mind games that had poor MP because as far as I was concerned all I cared about was how good the SP was. Since then a lot has changed, and I’ve even played games that had no SP mode at all (Shadowrun is still one of my all time favourite games and that was all MP). However, I was pleasantly surprised with the Gears of War story. This was a game that, whilst not doing anything too original (alien comes to earth, all life in danger etc etc), was somehow able to keep me gripped from beginning to end. I think it was mostly the dialogue that was the fact that the characters had little bits of dialogue whilst you shot things up, maybe it was the cut scenes followed by scripted bits of dialogue whilst you slowly moved your character into the next part, but I think it was mostly the voice acting.
Of course, the dialogue on its own is nothing without some form of entertaining game play and Gears of War certainly had that. The cover system was impressive, the enemies were tough to kill but not ridiculously tough, the weapons all had their own uniqueness without there being so many different ones all over the place and the AI (against and with you) was decent enough. Add to that some decent sounds and graphics, and this was one impressive game.
I loved the first game so much that I couldn’t wait to get the second one. Some people had an issue with the first one being too difficult when it came to big bosses. I mean who could forget that battle with General Raam at the end? The second one to me felt a bit too easy when it came to the bosses, but the rest of the game was just as expected. There were a few more new weapons added that made it a bit more fun, and pretty much everything else was kept the same or improved. However, what they certainly did do was continue the trilogy story wise. At times I really felt like I was playing a movie, and really the shooting bits were something side fun that you had to get through to be rewarded with some more video.
So again I was left waiting until Gears of War 3 came out. I had to have this game as soon as it came out so I could complete the story. However, Gears of War 2 had brought something with it that also got me interested in the MP side of Gears. I never really liked the vs game modes in Gears but Horde was outstanding. Suddenly, it was you with some other players versus the AI. It was no longer really just about who had the best connection. When Gears of War 3 came out rather than get on with the story like I had done with the others I decided to try out Horde, and the new Beast mode and I fell in love with these mode so much so that I didn’t even think about the SP much. I had done maybe the first Act but any time I put Gears in I wanted to play Horde and I think what made me want to do that more this time around was probably the additional fact that you could now start to upgrade things whilst playing horde. There’s something about working towards the next unlock that just seems to have gamers hooked.
Well this last week I finally decided to actually crack on with the SP. I had forgotten how much I enjoyed the story line and I wasn’t disappointed this time around. This was to be a great end to the trilogy, and without spoiling too much in the story, it had a satisfying (if somewhat predictable) end, with enough surprises in there to keep it exciting to the end. There wasn’t some sort of flimsy attempt at leaving it open for another game to come out in continuation.
So I would just like to take my hat off to these guys for a fantastic series that had me not wanting to put that controller down and actually had me watching the cut scenes with interest, and listening to every bit of dialogue. I just wish more game developers would put this much thought and effort into a gaming franchise. Have a plan from the start, split the game into 3 parts, do whatever you need to do to ensure you can come out with some sequels, but please don’t just keep dragging them on with more and more implausible story lines that just keep getting added. Of course, if you also want to add some great multiplayer into the equation that so be it, I won’t complain about that.
I don’t even necessarily have a huge problem with Gears of War coming out with a fourth game. Maybe a prequel, or maybe even a spin off from other characters. There is certainly scope there with there being other wars prior to eDay but for now I’m happy in the knowledge that this story is done. At least I hope it is, I really hope that I don’t get to see Marcus and company suddenly realise that they were dreaming about that ending, or that somehow something survived.