|System: PC, X360||Review Rating Legend|
|Dev: Epic Games||1.0 - 1.9 = Avoid||4.0 - 4.4 = Great|
|Pub: Microsoft||2.0 - 2.4 = Poor||4.5 - 4.9 = Must Buy|
|Release: Nov. 6, 2007||2.5 - 2.9 = Average||5.0 = The Best|
|Players: 1-8||3.0 - 3.4 = Fair|
|ESRB Rating: Mature||3.5 - 3.9 = Good|
Tactical strategy and use of terrain cover comes into major play at every step of the way. Well-placed barriers, debris, and other scenery elements must be used to protect your hide. It's a lot of fun to dive from one barrier to the next, jump over a wall, or pop up from behind cover to send a stream of gunfire flying towards foes. If you're in a tough spot the ability to stick your gun out from the safety of cover and blind-fire is great. Your squad-mates have your back sometimes, but most of the time they'll get in your way of your shots or rush head-first into enemy fire only to be taken out.
Through the Game for Windows Live service, players will be able to get their frag on in all of the multi-players levels from the Xbox 360 version in addition to three new maps and a new King of the Hill gameplay mode unique to the PC version. The inclusion of online co-op play is also a nice touch. A built-in game editor will also allow players to craft their own levels for maximum tactical carnage. Multi-player combat is always a good diversion, but if you've got a hankering for a lengthier solo campaign then this PC port delivers.
Overall, the best addition to the PC version is the new content worked into the single player campaign over the course of five new chapters located at the start of the game's final act. While the bulk of the main game is linear, forcing players to move along a fairly rigid path, the new chapters allow for greater flexibility in choosing how you get to where you need to go. The big highlight of this new section is a series of ongoing run-ins with the Brumak found originally at the end of Act 4. Brumak is a giant walking tank-beast of a monstrosity, and the new chapters let you get up-close and personal with the big guy. Needless to say, he doesn't take kindly to having pip-squeaks with guns all up in his business. The new content culminates in a crazy, action-packed showdown with the brute.
Gears of War is all about breaking apart the status quo, and the port to PC succeeds masterfully in this endeavor just as the Xbox 360 version did. It's a heavy hitter on every level. If you missed-out on the first go around, definitely pick up the PC version for the extra goodies and - mostly - improved controls. It's the best Halo alternative around, and if you're looking for something a bit different, you might even find Gears of War to be ultimately superior.
CCC Freelance Writer