Gears of War shaped the way we play third person shooters when it was released and it still feels modern today.
I was so excited for the release of Gears 5 a few months back, so I decided to see how the very first game held up. Obviously I chose to play the ultimate edition for nicer visuals and the added content, but I still couldn't believe that this is a game from 13 years ago. The story, gameplay and visuals are still fantastic.
Story Unlike the other games in the series, Gears of War tells a small intimate story. Following just our 4 heroes, this story feels lonely and like there will be no back-up to help. Gears of War perfectly sets up this new world and introduces you to instantly likeable characters, (Baird, Cole) then follows the bonds you make with them. You really feel like you are the last hope to gather info and set off the light mass bomb. Even though you feel lonely throughout the campaign, you experience some awesome action sequences! Fighting a Berserker, Corpser, RAAM and the added Brumak from the PC version, the boss fights in this game make you feel small and out-powered. I also loved the section with the mining karts, and walking through dark streets avoiding the kryll. This campaign is awesome. SPOILERS: Not really much to talk about spoilers wise. The end of this game does set up the sequel nicely, however it could stand on its own. The light mass bomb does go off and does kill a lot of Locust, however it didn't wipe them out. Which is where the sequel picks up. In the original, the story ends with the bomb going off, but in the remake, the game shows Queen Myrrah with a cliffhanger ending.
Gameplay The gameplay in this game is fantastic. The snapping the cover feels weighty and essential to survival. The shooting feels good with some weapons (lancer and gnasher), but amazing with other weapons. I especially love the boom shot and long shot. Using the D-pad to switch between weapons was inventive for the time, however I feel like the Y button could of been used better. Now I come to my biggest issue with this gameplay, granted it is fixed in the sequels, but the chainsaw feels crap to use here. Tearing through enemies obviously feels great, but it's walking up to them I have the issue. You move fairly slow, which is fine, but you can't move left or right. In the newer games, you can still use the right and left stick like normal, however in the first game, you move forward and back with the left stick, pivot left or right with the left stick and the right stick just does nothing. That is only issue I have with the gameplay.
Gears of War: Ultimate Edition does look nice, however I think it looks more like Gears of War 3, rather than the new generation games (4 or 5). I don't really mind considering this game came out in 2006. The lighting is nice and the art style of everything being big and bulky, still stands out today. I like the character design and the enemies do all feel different. If you don't mind muddy graphics, which I don't, then Gears of War looks fine.
General RAAM General RAAM sort of comes out of nowhere in this game. For some reason, RAAM is seen as an icon in the gears franchise, and I have no idea why. He turns up at the end of the first chapter, kills a teammate, has another appearance about halfway through the game, then he's the final boss. That's it! He doesn't feel like a villain, more just a bigger enemy. I know he's fleshed out in comics and dlc, but I feel like his character arc in this game is empty. Also the boss fight with him at the end is total rubbish. Overall Opinion Gears of War is still a brilliant game today. The inventive gameplay and compelling story, with exciting action sequences and terrifying boss fights make one essential game to play before you die. The ultimate edition is the best way to play this game but if the original is your only option, just play it.