This is well-overdue.
I mean, this was probably THE first big game I got with my 360. It was actually the game that got me to buy a 360 – and eventually my first high def TV. One of my best friends got a 360 shortly before I did, and he bought FEAR and Gears of War. I’ve played FEAR – though it’s been a long time, and just never really got into it, but Gears was a completely different matter. Still, as hard as it is for me to believe, this game is about five years old. Is it worth taking a look at if you have not already?
Graphics – 8:
At the time, these were among the best graphics I had ever seen. They still hold up pretty well five years later. This is one of those titles that made me think of it like a summer blockbuster movie – full of visual spectacle. There are almost no technical issues with the graphics to speak of, and they really do a great job of pulling you into the game.
Music & Sound – 9:
That said, as good as the graphics are, the sound and music are even better. Sound effects are great, voice acting is generally very good and the music was excellent in my opinion. It often set just the right tone. This aspect, when combined with the graphics really made for a very movie-like experience at times.
Gameplay – 8:
The cover system was maybe not completely original upon release, but it worked as well if not better than almost any other I could recall at the time. There were some cheap deaths waiting to be had, but checkpoints were frequent enough to keep it from getting too annoying. Also, some aspects of the combat held up better than others – it felt like the real long ranged weapons were never quite as awesome as I had hoped, and while chainsawing an opponent was a lot of fun, firefights at close range were sometimes clumsy affairs.
Intangibles – 7:
The game is quite short – I beat it the first weekend I owned it. Being able to do it in co-op though was fun as I had 3 different friends I played through the game with in this way. Different difficulty settings are there for people who like to make their games harder or easier. There are some ‘collectibles’ along the way to find for people who enjoy that sort of game-within-a-game. This was also my first game I played online, and while the maps and variety were fairly limited, they were cool at the time. They hold up a bit worse now though, considering how far we have come with online modes.
Overall – 8:
Considering how cheaply this game can be found (I’ve seen it for as little as 8 dollars), it really is a very good deal if you like third person shooters. Not a kid-friendly game between the swearing and bloody deaths (when you chainsaw an enemy, the screen itself splatters with blood). With the online not being as robust as newer titles and the fairly short campaign mode, it would not be worth a full price new buy now for most people, but a used or discounted game price makes this an excellent play.