Unrelenting action; challenging gameplay; amazing visuals; PC-exclusive content.
No jumping; no split-screen coop; LIVE membership fees.
As devoted PC gamers, we’re usually not very prone to console envy, but there are a few reasons to be jealous of our closed-platform counterparts. Chief among them are the exclusives games that Microsoft and Sony hook up with their fanboys. Gears of War made its debut a year ago to widespread acclaim, and we finally have the PC version of Epic’s gritty masterpiece. Five exclusive new single-player levels, new multiplayer maps, and high resolution visuals help the game stand the test of time and make the PC port the definitive version.
The story for the uninitiated: you lead a warbound squad of testosterone infused soldiers through the ruins of the planet Sera to fend off the alien Locust invasion. Through five lengthy story acts, you shoot, chainsaw, and eviscerate hideous enemy soldiers in abandoned city streets, underground caves, and factories. While not nearly a thinking man’s shooter, Gears does require that you utilize cover and flanking tactics. We easily grooved into the contextual cover system and thoroughly enjoyed the challenging shootouts. Aiming with a mouse definitely helped us score long-range kills, but we also played with a gamepad at times to quickly maneuver around obstacles and cover.
Five new story chapters have been added to the last act, which feature the same skirmishes we played in the rest of the game. One new boss, the colossal Brumak, is the highlight of the new content, and a thrill to kill. We were also very pleased with how well the game ran on our systems, with all the settings cranked up and at high monitor resolutions (suck on that, console scum). Multiplayer on Microsoft’s LIVE network is streamlined for matchmaking, but you’ll need a Gold membership to take advantage of rankings and leaderboards. Ultimately, the PC extras aren’t enticing enough for someone who’s played the Xbox version to rebuy the game. But for those who’ve held out on selling out, Gears of War on the PC is an astounding action game that shouldn’t be missed.