The COG In The Machine


With Gears of War 4 coming up in a little over a month, I’ve finally jumped into the beloved series. This is the first time I’ve been a multi-console owner, and this is the first Xbox game I’ve ever played.

Gears Of War begins 14 years after E-Day, also known as Emergence Day. The two superpowers of planet Sera (the Coalition of Ordered Governments, also known as COG, and the Union of Independent Republics) fight over the planet’s natural resource, also known as Imulsion. This leads to the 79-year-long Pendulum Wars. After the Pendulum Wars came to a close, Sera became overrun by Locust Horde and many major cities had to be destroyed. Lead hero, Marcus Fenix of Delta Squad, is rescued from his cell by his pal Dom. The squad is tasked with heading deep underground to detonate a resonator, which will map out the Locust tunnels. When the resonator doesn’t work as planned, Delta Squad settles for Plan B : crippling the enemy stronghold by deploying the Lightmass Bomb. Things become more complicated when General RAAM makes it his personal agenda to stop the Gears at any cost.

Gears is a third-person cover shooter. The controls feel as if I really am controlling Marcus. They’re very bulky / clunky…kind of like Resident Evil controls. Cover is quite detailed and deteriorates over time upon shootouts. The control scheme is quite simple and easy to get used to. This helped tremendously since Gears was my first Xbox game.

The main weapons in Gears are pistols, magnums, assault rifles, burst rifles, sniper rifles, shotguns, grenade launchers, and frag grenades. One of the assault rifles has a chainsaw attachment that can be used as a melee weapon. The Hammer of Dawn is a special weapon which uses satellite technology to take out large targets. Due to the satellite requirement, the weapon only works outside with a clear view of the sky.

The graphics are gorgeous. I’m not sure how the original Gears looked in comparison with its Xbox One counterpart, but it’s very solid. The game doesn’t very have much color in it; it’s a pretty dark game. This helps to show what the planet is like after being in war for almost a century.

The Locust Horde reminds me of the Chimera from Reistance. They mostly resemble the goons from that awful Mario Bros. film. Enemies come in all different shapes and sizes. Many of the enemies appear from emergence holes in the ground. They will continue to come out of the hole until a frag grenade is thrown, which closes up the hole.

COG Tags from fallen soldiers are collectible items which contain comic story segments. There are 33 total COG Tags throughout the game, resulting in 5 comic book issues. The comic books help add to the overall story. These stories are comprised of the COG battles against the Union, Marcus’s father (Adam Fenix) coming to terms with leaving the war behind to develop weaponry (he creates the Hammer of Dawn used in the game which actually ends the Pendulum Wars), and a young Marcus’ start in the COG army.

I appreciated that Gears kept throwing in new and different things to keep me engaged in the single-player experience. I wasn’t just shooting from behind cover, I was driving vehicles, riding in carts, and turning levers. While I enjoyed the game immensely, I did feel that the story was a bit lacking. It could have been better. I wanted to know more about these characters and how the disaster happened. I wasn’t quite sure why the missions took place where they did (Why did we go to Fenix Mansion? What was the importance there?). I felt that the comic collectables did a better job at explaining the Pendulum Wars and the overall story. I’m assuming the story will be explained further in the sequels. I also thought it was odd that General RAAM, the game’s primary antagonist, is only shown like three times in the entire game. In the end, Gears was a fantastic way to start my Xbox experience. I can’t wait to check out the rest of the games in the series.

 

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Next up : Red Dead Redemption & Undead Nightmare!