TGS 06: Gears of War Single-Player Impressions

We meet with Microsoft and Epic Games to take a look at the latest version of this much-anticipated shooter.

TOKYO--Earlier today, while taking a welcome break from the madness that is the Tokyo Game Show, we met with representatives from Microsoft and Epic Games and checked out the latest build of Gears of War. We weren't allowed to get our hands on the game on this occasion, but we did get to watch a member of the development team play for around 20 minutes as he talked us through some noteworthy features of the story mode.

In Gears of War you'll assume the role of a soldier named Marcus Fenix who has just been released from prison after being branded as a traitor. Humanity is losing a bloody war against the locusts, and it appears that, regardless of the fact that some of your fellow soldiers don't like you much, you're their only hope. Our demo got under way with an in-engine cutscene that showed Fenix and his close friend Dom Santiago flying over a ruined city in the back of a helicopter. Their destination was a place called Embry Square, where they were to meet with a general named Hoffman, who has a real grudge against you.

The assembled characters were in mid-conversation when they came under attack from a small group of locusts, and they scrambled for cover and took care of the enemies using the same "stop and pop" tactics that you'll be encouraged to employ in the game. Fenix's mission as the movie transitioned into gameplay was to locate (or at least determine the fate of) a missing squad that hadn't been heard from in some time. You'll be fighting alongside a few squadmates of your own in this portion of the game, but because you're not the squad leader, you won't be able to give them any orders and will occasionally be required to do what you're told.

We were told that one of the recurring themes in Gears of War is "destroyed beauty," which was certainly an accurate description for the architecturally rich city in ruins in which the demo was set. The ruins afford plenty of places to take cover, of course, but that's really a double-edged sword because the locusts are quite adept at moving in and out of it. Locusts also have the ability to come up through the ground via "emergence holes"--we saw a couple of these enemy-spawning tunnels throughout the course of the demo and watched as Fenix tossed frag grenades into them to close them up. Grenades, which you'll aim using a fairly conventional arc targeting system, are one of four arms types that you can carry about your person at all times, along with a pistol, and two larger (two-handed) weapons.

Gears of War is played from a Resident Evil 4-style over-the-shoulder perspective, and one of the things that the game does extremely well is have the camera shake in relation to what you're doing. When you're running with your head down, for example, the camera sways from left to right almost as if it's being carried by a wartime photographer who's following you around, and when you slam yourself up against a wall to take cover, the sudden jerk of the camera makes you feel like there was some kind if impact.

Much of what we saw during today's demo didn't tell us anything new about the game, partly because we were fortunate enough to actually play the game at the Electronic Entertainment Expo earlier this year. There were a few new pieces of information that are worthy of mention, though. For starters, you'll be able to revive fallen comrades in the single-player game if you reach them quickly enough, but they won't be able to revive you. In cooperative mode (two players assume the roles of Marcus and Dom), you and your friend will be able to revive each other, but anytime you both go down you'll be sent back to the last checkpoint. We can also confirm that you can play Gears of War cooperatively either on two systems or using a horizontal split-screen, though it's not yet known whether or not two players will be able to participate in online four-on-four games using a single console.

It's difficult to say whether or not Gears of War looks any more polished than it did at E3 earlier this year, largely because it was already looking so good then. The character models and environments held up to even the closest scrutiny today, though, and we're pretty sure that there was more blood spattering onto the screen whenever the much-loved chainsaw bayonet was put to use. We'd also never seen the dismembered limbs of enemies being kicked around on the ground before, which was a nice touch.

Epic Games claims that Gears of War should take most players at least 10 hours to play through on the default difficulty setting, which doesn't seem like such a bad deal given how promising the game's multiplayer content is looking. Expect more information on Gears of War from next week's X06 event in Barcelona, where we'll be meeting with lead designer Cliff Bleszinski and checking out both story mode and multiplayer features.

Written By

Want the latest news about Gears of War?

Gears of War

Gears of War

Follow

Discussion

302 comments
matty_sen
matty_sen

damm whats wrong with u people i played the campain 5 times thu and spend over a 100 hours on the mutiplayer!!!!!!!!!

GrimBee
GrimBee

"res.evil 4 on the ps2 and had some of the best fun for 40hrs that to this day was the best deal i ever got buying a game" I agree. But also, not agree. Final Fantasy X was the best "bargain" i ever had. It took me 97 hours to complete the main story. And im not going to count the 30+ hours trying to get the dark versions of my aeons etc. And there is SOO much in that game, i was literally playing it every now and then trying to get all the monsters for the monster theatre. Now THAT is value for money. Would I want this from a Resident Evil game? no way. Resident evil 4 was just about right. From my experience with final fantasy x, i would say that any game which doesnt offer me 90 hours is just doing to be a dog pile of crap. so, metal gear is a pile of crap, sonic is a pile of crap.. and pretty much 90% of everysingle game featured on gamespot is a pile of crap because it doesnt last as long, as said game. Geez. Im kidding. Of course game length matters, but only if it works for that kind of game. I would definately not find shooting for 20hours constantly fun to play, if i wanted to do that, i would sign up for the army. Or set an fps game, with bots, on for infinate time and stick it on god mode. It would get boring. Its not just games for the 360 are short as hell, its just that the games you have played have been either long, or short. If you rushed through gta it would take you about 10 hours. But its your choice to do that. Resident Evil 4 doesnt send an endless amount of zombies to you, you cant "level up" your character (like with castlevania). I would say castlevania games hold more than resi 4 because you can level up your characters for DAYS.. DAYS! Its so superficial saying that a game is "dissapointing" because the actual main story lasts about 10 hours. I am not the best gamer ever, because i approach games as a means of fun, rather than just being uber skillful at one thing (like a fighting game or tetris). Gear of war, even though may last 10 hours, it will last me longer because (like in resident evil 4) i will take my time. And besides, ive seen people complete resi 4 in under 6 - 7 hours. So that 30 hours you claim is how Long YOU took to play it. I probably could play gears of war, take it really slow, and add like 6 hours to the gameplay. Then i can come on a flipping website and say "well. it took me 16 hours to complete.. so there!" Its all fabricated nonsense. We are all used to having games being long, but its never really mentioned how long the game lasts on the back of the box. You then get surprised how long it is when you play it. I was surprised when completing mgs3 that it took me 13 hours. But having to fight against the end for 3 of those hours (yes, it took me a looong time to figure it out). Overall, some of the BEST games dont even last this long. Get over it.

jiggerbug
jiggerbug

[This message was deleted at the request of the original poster]

jiggerbug
jiggerbug

you know, i just read were g.o.w can be played in just 10hrs. it seems that all new games for 360 are short as hell. we pay 59$ or 69$ for games we can beat in just one day. are the graphics taking up this much space? i played res.evil 4 on the ps2 and had some of the best fun for 40hrs that to this day was the best deal i ever got buying a game. and it kept getting better hr.after hr. now i have 700.00 in a 360 and just four games thats worth a **** and i feel its a rip off. if it werent for g.r.a.w.,far cry.and burnout revenge and their online play it would be a total rip off. if they dont come up with some new games that are challenging,fun and last more than two hrs. i,d like to throw the dam thing in the river and kick myself in the but t for buying it. it takes more than looks to have a good game and i really believe so far it,s a rpi off big time.......

slim_jim7007
slim_jim7007

Reelhero....ur right u dont need demo to tell this game is gonna own...y buy a ps3?....but i dont understand ur comment on GRAW's online play....i think it rules....u might jus suck idk. ;)

Reelhero1
Reelhero1

Got to put this game in my collection GRAW was great with the story mode But i didn't like the online. But i hope GoW will be the best 3rd person ever. I dont need a demo to see this game great. Its a Guarateed this game is awsome. Plus halo3 is coming out soon. Thank God I bought a the 360

emmerin
emmerin

Gears of War will be the best original title to hit the xbox360 ever!!! and i put "original"......halo3 isnt original, and thats gonna be the best 360 game lol

GrimBee
GrimBee

hooharr! Thanks guys :) Im glad that "10 hours of gameplay" moaning has kinda gone now. Its like, people are so used to figures, because of sony and launches of consoles and what have you. Figures dont matter! One thing which has changed in this industry is that they dont measure games in LEVELS anymore. And most dont even measure them in HOURS either! Take a look at the back of most game boxes today. Almost everygame you see will not mention how many levels there are in it, or an average gameplay time. Back in the 90s, all they liked to do was say how much more memory the cartridge had for the graphics, and how many LEVELS were in it (value for money). We have been living with the notion that games look good, the box art is good, i heard "its a good game" etc. But we seem to be losing what makes a game "good". Does 10 hours of gameplay make it good? I dont freakin know! I havent even played it! Would 38 levels of "mahem" make a game any good? Not if its repetetive. Games like to narrow down its descriptions on the back to something like "you are a lone soldier in the thick of war... battle through realistic terrain, driving vehicles, sniping from trees, holding people hostage..". Games like to throw these imaginative concepts at you, like a film. Whereas before we would look at a game purely at the visuals, and how many levels we had to play to make it worth that £40. Because we are kind of used to this Advertising in games, we are lead to believe "better visuals mean better games" rather than the actual things you can do in the game itself. My point is, games dont advertise the LENGTH anymore. And most of us have forgotten that average games last 8 - 9 hours at the most. Then as soon as someone says "this new game has about 10 hours gameplay" those people automatically think its not enough. If you rushed through GTA, its got like 10 hours of gameplay there. But the freedom of it makes the game last for however long you want it to. Its nice though that Dead Rising says "swarm of zombies" and things like that, because the artwork and the description basically describes what you do. so, just because its 10 hours strict gameplay, doesnt mean you have to be strict with how you play it ;) Hope that kind of irons things out which i forgot to mention! :P

Dinghy_Dog
Dinghy_Dog

kudos to GrimBee. Well written. Still, I can't wait for GoW...

bluewitnesss
bluewitnesss

I don't understand why Epic doesn't release a demo on the Marketplace. What a great way to stir up even more buzz. Look at Dead Rising. They released that demo a few weeks ago and it has became the most downloaded demo today. Not to mention the sales of the game increased greatly. Demos should come out before the games released not after. Oh well, not my money.

GrimBee
GrimBee

"mgs4 not coming out till late 2007 or early 2008 gears of war comes out in just a few weeks your funny mgs4 have fun with the the ps3 if you can get one " People are willing to wait for an MGS game, i am, because its that kind of game. Its not a game which looks like absolute craziness to play, people wanna play it mostly for the story. All the action bits just makes the story even more involving. I have met people who got a metal gear solid game JUST for the sneaking and the shooting, and now they hate it because they said that story is forced on them too much. People wait for the story, because once they know its over, its over. Gears of war is an entirely different game. Its looking awesome (im getting it) but whether getting gears of war over mgs4 is a thing to do..? Im not sure. Im certainly not getting mgs4 and a ps3 when they come out. Im waiting until christmas 07. Mgs4 will be out before christmas 07, and definately out before 08. Gears Of War looks awesome to play, and to look at . Cant wait for it. But to those people who say "10 hours.. boooo!".. Er... try getting a bunch of games in a list , which had ten hours gameplay or more. And if they were crap, you win. Metal gear solid games have LESS gameplay hours. Mgs2 had like 3 full hours of gameplay. The rest was filled with cut scenes, intercom and all that stuff. Boss battles wouldlast you like 5 minutes each, sneaking to and from locations was constantly littered with cut scenes. MGS3 gave you more to play, but it was NEVER 10 hours of gameplay. Final Fantasy x gave me 97 hours of gameplay before i completed it. But things people forget are, it will take you however long YOU take to play it. When resident evil 1 came out, magazines etc said it would take you at MOST 6 - 7 hours complete. I found, that i completed it in 5 hours the first time round. (without counting dying and going back to the last save over and over, the gametime isnt recorded if you spend an hour playing, then die wthout saving). So you would say that resident evil 1 has about 5 -6 hours at a normal play time. 7 - 8 hours if you go around and look at every room at your own leisure. But some guys can complete it in 1 hour 20 mins!! What.. so resident evil will take you 1 hour 20 mins to complete? YES! It all depends on how you play games. Im not terribly awesome at shooter games, and i like to walk around a bit and i like to flank enemys instead of randomly blast away. The game length is there are a normal estimate. It can take you how ever long you like.

thekey
thekey

10 hours, oh well from what Cliffy B showed at E3 the game looks hard as ____ ! It takes some where along the lines of 130 rounds to drop the locust drones! So I don't think your average gammer is going to blow right through it but I still can't wait for GEARS OF WAR!

EnigmaNemesis
EnigmaNemesis

That would rock if 4 player online co-op will be available.

scruffybawls
scruffybawls

TheWindUser I'm popping a chubby for this and Halo 3! ------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------- wat the hell does that mean, that your bangin a fat chick

Brutalus7
Brutalus7

looks sweet, but only 10 hours!! Boooo!

sewpal
sewpal

its going to be a trilogy thats why it is ten hours i think it sucks the game is great don t get me wrong but its not a full game i bet they are working on the other 2 games well thats what i think and i am still gona bye the mother

cholo1075
cholo1075

Well 360 is getting a must have game. Its about time because the 360 was just looking like a wast of money. But in all Im still getting a PS3 yeah u read right a PS3 and play MGS4.....What? oh I thought so.....

WillT12345
WillT12345

Halo 2 can be beat in less than 4. And most seem to like that game. I'll take quality over quantity any day. Riddick is another great example.

Bigdeebdnd
Bigdeebdnd

10 Hrs. considering you're the type of gamer that blows through a game without taking the time to enjoy it. Chronicles of Riddick : Escape from Butcher Bay was a dope game; sort and with no multiplayer and it was one of the sickest xbox games i ever played. and yes difficulty levels add alot as far as replay value. I will blow $400 for a 360 just to get GoW to keep me busy till Halo 3 gets here. Gow will Kick ASS...and everyone knows it.

AL13NK1LL3R
AL13NK1LL3R

shyeah.. .this game is goin be the best ever... keep it goin wooo wooo.. i goin play this game untill halo 3 comes out....

AdMordem
AdMordem

10 hrs isnt that great for any game singleplayer... especially a title as anticipated as this... dont get me wrong a huge focus on multiplayer is great but for a game as pushed as this for the 360 i would have thought a huge focus on the single player as well wouldnt be such a huge thing to expect... then again prove me wrong and make then the best 10 hrs of my gaming life!

ZeroDemo
ZeroDemo

Gears of War.....such games are reasons to buy systems. Great.

makemeweak
makemeweak

10 hours is great for a shooter! I can't wait to play this!

TheWindUser
TheWindUser

I'm popping a chubby for this and Halo 3!

rowey_999
rowey_999

I will buy a xbox 360 for this

REVENGEotSITH
REVENGEotSITH

COD2 was under 10 hours on normal setting. Put it on Veteran and it was up around 10+ hours and I don't remember anyone talking about how that lessened the single player experience. I never seem to play these games at the speed that game reviewers do. I like to take my time and check out every part of a level before moving on to the next. Plus, I play at the hard level on top of that, so a 10 hour game quickly becomes a 15+ hour game. No big deal.

halo2_addict
halo2_addict

hey guys chill out over the 10 hour single player. If you remember thesingle player from halo 2 wasn't long at all( or that great) but halo 2 is still being played today. GoW will have a great single player, I trust Epic but after that 10 hours it'll be time to crank up the multiplayer.

gnieves
gnieves

Will they say something about multiplayer? I will love to know if we'll be able to play coop using the same tv or via linked systems.

goose_uk
goose_uk

I don't reckon this game has enough substance to back up this massive hype, but i don think it will be crap. As for 10 hours, its quality not quantity right? dead rising was short but i replayed that loads, same with fear.

Chaos_Daro
Chaos_Daro

To perfect_chao: The reason Saint's row, dead rising ect. have framerate issues is down to improper use of the 3 cores. This game uses 90% of one core and (don't quote me on this) uses another core to handle anything the first core couldn't, thus ridding the framerate issues. Basically, it shouldn't have framerate drops. It may have a little but who knows?

jasper1989
jasper1989

[This message was deleted at the request of a moderator or administrator]

rocklegacy2
rocklegacy2

[This message was deleted at the request of a moderator or administrator]

ShinDe0n
ShinDe0n

I'm definetly picking this game up and will play it for a couple of years...

Ne0zEEd
Ne0zEEd

GAME LOOKS DOPE..nuff said.

perfect_chao
perfect_chao

"solutionBE This game is going to be the hardest disapointment in the history of Xbox. i'm pretty sure of that. And yes i own a xbox 360 so i'm not a nintendo or sony fanboy. if you look at the graphics they realy look very nice. But no way is the xbox 360 going to handle that smoothly. Saints row , deadrising even Graw runs on a low Framrate and then this ? i'm just looking forward for Epic's new unreal tournament on PS3 but this game .... no." you dont know that, maybe the devs have found a way around the frame rate prob.. dont forgot not all games utilize all 3 cores.. it may be solved if all 3 cores are used

bam11bam
bam11bam

RE4 took me 14 hours first time thru it,and thats with action/puzzles and thinking of what to buy/upgrade....what to sell...what to carry along so 10 hours of an acion packed game is good enough a game usually takes me double of how long "they" say it should take so......16-20 hrs

rugripper40
rugripper40

i guess 10 hrs is the standard time for games anymore.i would have thought that if the game was 20 dollars more to buy,you would get more content to play with.i myself hate multiplayers,so i guess ill wait a couple of years for the 40 dollar price point.games are getting so overpriced and the content is getting less and less.i really dont get it.they said the samething about god of war and i beat that game in 7 hrs.....cheers dont mind me im just letting off steam so i dont blow...lol

psychoflex
psychoflex

i know the 10 hrs is not that long but then again we are talking about shooter game wish it is ok. but the why the epic been talking about gears of war and how much time the were putting into the singel player game i was kind of waiting for a lil bit more time the just 10hrs.

DaTank60
DaTank60

10 hours of Gears of war u kno wat that means? u got 10 of GOW on easy then medium then hard...thats 30 hrs of GOW right there not to mention if they have a very hard mode!! or a Very very hard mode or elite mode thats then 60 hours of GOW!! lol...well u get the point plenty of replay value in this game Bwahahahaha!! can't wait ; )

Flakor
Flakor

As some people don't realise, some of us arn't going to blow through the game and skip cut scenes and what not. I'm going to be taking breaks to eat and what not. I'm not going to play a game for 10 straight hours. Also note that 10 hours is almost half a day so it is by no means "short". You want a long game? Beat KOTOR 100%.

Saturos3091
Saturos3091

10 Hours is long for a shooter. Stop complaining. Resident Evil 4 could EASILY be beaten in 10 hours, and yet look how that worked out.

jagster123
jagster123

Sidrat2004 be cool man it is coop and multieplayer man calm down this game will own you

Sidrat2004
Sidrat2004

I want to throw my hat in with the other people that said these short single player excursions aren't long enough for the sake of multiplayer. Not everyone enjoys playing online with annoying kids and non sober teens with little vocabulary's. Me in particular. Don't get me wrong, I do enjoy multiplayer games, but within reason. If they're going to do a multiplayer game, make it a persistant character driven experience, so there's a reason to continue playing levels. For example, make a mode that has a defend and counter attack over several levels with a viable storyline and equipment drops, but bring it into a context of a story, so they're not just random maps joined together for the sake of it. There's nothing wrong with having ten minutes of spare time for a match or two before logging off, but it's not really worth getting such a game when the single player mode is so short.