Epic’s Unreal Engine watermarked this generation. It’s proliferation from the Arkham series games to BulletStorm illustrates the engine’s maturity and versatility. Never has the growth process been as demarcated as it has been in the Gears of War series.
Gears of War is a third-person shooter that delineates humanity’s struggle against the Locust horde, a humanoid bug race. Marcus Phoenix, the protagonist, leads a team of unique characters in this foul-mouthed yet nicely censored game. The overused plot of man vs alien is book-ended by archetypal characters and a wooden script.
Honestly, I cannot tell you much more about the story as it plays second fiddle to the gameplay. Gears of War brought many staples to single and multiplayer this generation. Here they are in detail.
1. Running with camera shake (Roadie Run) – Binary Domain,
Mass Effect, and virtually every shooter this gen zooms in when the main character sprints. It is the roadie run and Epoc boldly says you’re welcome.
2. The “Can you hear me now?” loading curtain – So many characters place their hand to their ear, Bluetooth headset or cell phone to talk strategy over the cellular airwaves. This gaming convention slows the movement pace of the player-controlled character so that the new game area can load in the background. It’s a brilliant technique that keeps players engaged but is jarring when it occurs in Batman Arkham City, The Amazing Spiderman, Mass Effect 3 and other games.
3. Horde Mode: This form of multiplayer throws increasing difficult waves of enemies at groups of players on one particular play area or map. This mode is a cooperative multiplayer mode that truly engenders cooperation and communication is success is the end game. Many games, including Halo, Call of Duty, and Binary Domain adopted this play mode. Games known for single-player experiences like Mass Effect deliver their own variation of Horde mode.
4. Refined cover systems: The folks at Epic Games often credit the game Killswitch for the cover system now used by every third-person shooter. It is a simple and consistent cover system that games of Resident Evil 6 to Mass Effect all use. While not an innovation by the Epic Games development crew, their cover system has changed gaming for the better.
Gears of War is the technical benchmark for Xbox 360 visual maturity throughout this generation. The Unreal Engine drastically improved from 2005 through 2013 and the Gears of War series has always been the window-displayed product to showcase said growth. If for no other reason than to see the growth of gaming on the Xbox 360, you must play the Gears of War trilogy.