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Face it: Gears of War sucked

posted on June 10th, 2007 by matt

I’m sorry my fellow videolamerians, but I’m gonna be the first one to say that Gears of War was a big disappointment. After going through the game twice, I can safely say I will never play that game ever again. I traded it in, got $20 for it, and picked up Condemned: Criminal Origins with my winnings. And amazing as this may sound, I’m having a far more enjoyable time with C:CO than I ever did with Gears.

I know, it sounds like complete blasphemy what I just said. But let me explain my heresy before you stick that spike up my pooper.

Gears of War seemed to cater to the more hardcore shooter fans, and while I do like those kinds of games, I was hoping to see a little more innovation.

And by that I mean presentation. That game was so full of holes in terms of story and presentation that it made it hard for me to get involved with the universe. The gameplay was there, but what’s the point if nothing is driving me to succeed?

You have a beautiful-looking planet just steep in history, but damned if I know what that history is. Epic did a horrible job of explaining what was going on, even within the game itself. The whole surprise of Fenix’s Dad being some crazy scientist was only discovered after the fact. That’s not supposed to happen in a game. You’re supposed to know immediately how important what you’re doing is. Gears failed at that horribly.

I’m sure there are a few of you that love Gears of War, which you should. In a technical sense, it’s a great game. But for me, it was merely a great shooter with no substance. And I’m not talking the generic “zero substance” that most games have. Gears of War didn’t even seem to try.

And what I really don’t like about this whole issue is that I’m sure many people agree with me, but are afraid to say it. Like a game can do no wrong if it sells nearly a third of the system’s install base. And it is Gears of War, after all.

Gears of War is a great shooter, but that’s not all I want with a game like that.


  1. christian said on June 10, 2007:

    Gears of War almost reminds me of what I call the “Halo 2 Effect”. Said game came out, sold a bajillion, and everyone sang its praises. Half a year later IGN does a retrospective that discusses all the flaws it actually had that they never discussed. Guys at Bungie have admitted the game wasn’t very good (or at least not as good as it should have been). A huge amount of hype and some real fancy graphics seem to be able to put a lot of extra weight behind a game, and it is only afterwards, when the dust settles down, that people will come out of the woodwork and say anything. By that time, it hardly makes a difference.

  2. chud666 said on June 10, 2007:

    While I agree that GOW is slightly overrated the reasons you listed are weird. Playing a shooter for the plot is kinda weird. I mean if a game has a sweet story thats bonus but rarely, especially in a shooter is it a deal breaker. I mean the art of game does not require plot or narrative. I mean if you are looking for a good narrative not only is the shooter a bad genre but maybe video games are a bad choice. I think it lacking in this respect doesnt mean its low in substance, because its filled with the substance games need; good gameplay.

    Now the 1 player campaign is kinda dissappointing – I wondered “Is this it?” But there is copious options – co-op over live is awesome and then versus is engaging to me like few other shooters are. I played Condemened as well, and it is a decent game, but I felt it was a low rent Silent Hill. The department store was sweet though, but the Marilyn Manson final boss is lame.

  3. GoldenJew said on June 10, 2007:

    I actually was entertained (enough) by the story, but I only played the game in co-op 2 player, and my roommate and I had a blast playing it.

    If anything, what annoyed me most about the game was the killing system. It takes a hundred bullets to kill something, or one chainsaw. Also the fact that once you’re chainsawing the person, they’re dead and you’re temporarily invulnerable (dunno if they patched this or changed it, I haven’t played on Live in a long time).

  4. jarrad said on June 10, 2007:

    whoa whoa whoa. How are you going to say it sucked, but you played through it twice?
    Sounds to me like you got run over by the hype train and there was little GoW could do to live up to your expectations.

  5. Matt said on June 10, 2007:

    I played through it twice hoping it would show me something worth playing. The original Halo did that. I played it on Easy and it was so easy that it was boring. Not until I played it on Medium did I see the true power of Halo. I don’t think it was hype per se. Maybe it was, maybe it wasn’t. I think the reason I bought GoW was a) the commercial, which briefly described a world torn apart by destruction (which was only revealed to me through graphics when playing), and b) the assumption that a game like GoW, dubbed the 360’s true system app by Microsoft, would bring me a level of presentation that is usually seen in shooters. Which brings me to chud666’s comment. From the shooters I’ve played, most of them have pretty complex narratives, which I’ve enjoyed immensely. Max Payne, Halo, Half-Life, FEAR, Deus Ex, System Shock, Metroid Prime. Jesus, even Doom 3 had more narrative than Gears of War, and that’s really bad. Not sure how you think shooters don’t have narratives, as I just cited almost every shooter there is. If you’ve only played multiplayer-only games like Battlefield, then yes, I agree, but I wasn’t talking about them. I can even say Resident Evil 4 had more narrative. And I’m sorry, but I have a library full of games that have superb narratives. Not sure how you don’t think video games can showcase narrative. There are so many examples I don’t even have the space to list them all. Also, games today are not like the games we had in the early days. We have fairly realistic representations of real-world situations, and the lack of any narrative/story would make it hard to get sucked into their universes. Play Silent Hill without the story. Play Metal Gear without the story. Play Deus Ex, System Shock, Max Payne without the story. And I guarantee you that they wouldn’t be as good had they included the narratives they have now.

  6. chud666 said on June 11, 2007:

    Basically what I meant was this; they are games first and narratives 2nd, or even third. Silent Hill would definately not be as good without the narrative, but games like all those shooters would still be immensly playable. I didnt need any character motivation to play through Contra a million times. Maybe a bad example as teh game is 15 minutes and not 10 hours like Gears, but it boils down to the same thing – fun because of play. Anything else is just gravy.

    I dont think every game, especially shooters need a RPG-esque quality narrative. Also Deus Ex, Metroid Prime 1+2, Resident Evil 4 and System Shock are, in my opinion, more adventure games than straight shooters, with stat and ability building. With gears, for good or bad, you can start any stage and be just as equipped as you will ever be. I dunno, maybe I’m splitting hairs, but in an action game filled with WWE rejects about killing aliens or subterranean mutants or whatever I’d rather just get to the point.

  7. christian said on June 11, 2007:

    Matt is right about replaying; I loathed Halo until I beat it on Legendary, after which it became my favorite co-op game and a fine solo experience. Now back to the hype machine; it is a double edged sword. It can make us get far too excited for a new game, and I also think it can cause extra backlash when the machine fails to deliver. The tricky thing is avoiding the hype, because with a game like Gears, you will see it everywhere, and for a long time before and after its release.

  8. Cunzy1 1 said on July 28, 2009:

    It’s true. It’s one huge corridor.

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