Gears of War (PC Video Game) - Review

Gears of War (PC Video Game) - Review

Microsoft’s popular Xbox shooter shifts gears towards the desktop


The Good
  • Fantastic graphics
  • Refreshing take on third-person shooter gameplay
  • Excellent multiplayer options

    The Bad
  • The storyline is a bit ‘heard it all before’
  • Some players may experience an early technical glitch

    It’s easy to overlook this ex-Xbox 360 game next to all the other great PC shooters that have come out recently, but Gears of War for Windows is, if anything, even better than its highly-praised predecessor.

    PC gamers have had to wait a good year for a bash at what is one of the best Xbox 360 titles.

    We had to wait a bit longer, as the PC version crashed almost as soon it started - it's a known problem and by the time you read this Microsoft should have issued a fix for the problem (if not there are a couple of ways to work around it).

    Technical troubles aside, Gears of War works extremely well on PC, proving to be every bit as enjoyable as its console cousin. More so, in fact, given that the Windows version contains several additional chapters and multiplayer modes. And if you’ve got a new-ish PC, the game has the potential to look even better than the highly-polished Xbox 360 original too.

    To bring up to speed those new to Gears, the game is set in a grimy, run-down future where an alien force known as the Locust has taken over the Earth from the inside out.

    Yes, we realise that this isn’t exactly an original premise for a computer game, but it’s as good an excuse as any for the highly exhilarating third-person shooter action that follows.

    Key to Gears of War’s success - and something that has been borrowed by countless other games since its initial release - is its innovative ‘duck and cover’ mechanism. Basically, it means that during firefights you can hide yourself round corners or crouch behind chunks of handy fallen masonry, popping up whenever you see an opening to unleash a barrage of ammo, and ducking back before you take too much damage.

    It might not sound particularly thrilling on paper, but in practice it makes for a refreshing twist to the well-worn shooter. Running in all guns blazing isn’t going to do you any favours here, so you’ll instinctively find yourself planning the line of attack with a little more cunning: pulling off flanking t actics, for example, or using the various weapons strategically.

    The single-player campaign is deep, well-paced and varied, with some heart-stopping set pieces peppering the plot throughout. And in some ways the game’s multiplayer mode is even better. Gears of War continues to be one of the most-played titles on Xbox Live and it’s not hard to see how it could enjoy similar levels of popularity on the PC's online gaming scene too.

    Gears of War might be old news for console gamers, but this bloodthirsty ballet of bullets is still very much worth getting hold of if you want to play Xbox 360 owners at their own game.

    Vista compatible: Yes