During the run up to the Xbox 360 launch, one game that really got gamers excited was Gears of War. The screen shots that circulated the web looked absolutely awesome, and gave a real indication of what could be done with Microsoft’s next generation console. Unfortunately Gears of War wasn’t a launch title, and now it looks like it will be hitting the streets a year after the console was launched. However, if this does turn out to be the case, it could give Microsoft some major fire power to combat the PlayStation 3 launch.
Now, when a game generates masses of interest but the release date slips, one of two things generally happen – the game turns out to be a major disappointment, or it turns out to be better than you had ever hoped for. Being a cynical journalist I was still sitting firmly between those two camps, that was until I saw the latest build of Gears of War actually running. When you’ve been playing video games as long as I have, very few games make you stare in amazement, your mouth open, eyes wide, but that’s exactly what Gears of War did to me.
The Gears of War demonstration being shown off on the Microsoft stand only covered the very first level of the game, basically the introduction/training level, but that was enough to convince me that this game is going to be amazing. Just like the first time I saw Halo running on an Xbox, seeing Gears of War playing on an X360 sent shivers down my spine and filled me with pangs of disappointment, disappointment at the fact that I wouldn’t be able to play this game for several months.
The opening scene involves one of the main characters (whom you control) being broken out of prison, just as the evil Locust Horde attacks. You have a choice of taking two different routes – there’s an easy route to get you used to the controls and gameplay, and a hard route which throws you straight into the thick of battle. The demonstration ran through both routes.