Still not getting it

Can someone please explain to me the hype around the Gears of War games?

This week past saw (see what I did here? Huh?) the release of the latest in the series of remastered game: Gears of War: Ultimate Edition.

Now, maybe I’m missing something. Maybe there is some element to this series that has managed to evade my understanding. About a year ago, or something like that, I picked up the trilogy on my 360. So, I get home from visiting with my in-laws and I anxiously popped it into my 360. Which, I won’t lie, had been collecting dust for some time. But everyone kept talking about this series. It also kept coming up in basically every “must play” list I saw online. So I sink my teeth into it. I finish the first game, and the question I had to ask, aside from the one I posed at the beginning of this entry, was:

How many times can you chainsaw someone in the face before you’re bored of it? It’s cool, and entertaining, for about the first ten or so times you’re doing it. The Locust’s just keep eating saw – and coming and coming and coming. There came a point where I just kept doing it because – why not? But after a while, everything just kept repeating itself over and over.

What’s the appeal? The story is pretty lackluster, the gameplay is mediocre and I can’t really see why this is one of those “must play” titles.

So here is what I understand:

Horde mode, and the multiplayer is “awesome”. And, frankly, I can totally understand that. I’ve learned to love multiplayer games. Survival mode, in games like Red Dead Redemption, Bioshock: Infinite’s DLC and Borderlands – tons of fun. So, I guess that part of it makes sense to me.

But here’s the game as I see it:

The characters are one-dimensional, roided out jocks. Their proportions are weird, at best. I mean, the fact that this is even a thing…

Makes me wonder how people who love this game could even continue to love it after seeing John Travolta used as a comparison. I think I’d cry a little if Tom Cruise good booked as Booker for a Bioshock movie. Now, I know this isn’t technically a reflection on the game – I saw it and shook my head.

So, character and story aren’t anywhere near the level they’d have to be to be on anyone’s top ten list. Gameplay is okay. Seeing a Locust cut in half is appealing the first 100 times. Not going to beat that horse any more.

Is the online play really that good? I played through the single player campaign for the first one. I think I got a handful of hours into number two and just never went back. From doing some online searching before writing this – apparently I’m not the first to ask. The only answer that people are offering, that I can appreciate, is the concept that they invented the cover system (magnetic cover) that a lot of other titles based their systems off of. Which, I’ll admit, was pretty good. At least in concept.

In general, I think that X Box exclusives live in the light the fanboys cast. It’s almost nostalgia, but in the present tense. Games are held to a standard that I just feel like isn’t high enough to justify the praise.

What’s disappointing, too, is that this is the same studio that developed such an innovative (and highly underrated) game like Bulletstorm.

Now, that’s a game that has basically no story attached to it, but manages to stay exciting/impressive throughout. Do I care why I’m shooting the enemies? Nope. Am I constantly trying to come up with cool combos with new/interesting weapons? Hell yes I am.

If they can make something like that, why a flagship title like Gears would end up being such a polished turd.

Not sure what else to say, if you think I’m wrong: Sound off.

– The Ego


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