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Gears of War is a tactical third-person shooter video game developed by Epic Games (the creators of the Unreal Tournament series) using Unreal Engine 3.0 technology and published by Microsoft Game Studios. Released for the Xbox 360 on November 7, 2006 in select stores in the United States, it was broadly released in major U.S. retailers on November 12, 2006. The game was released on November 17, 2006 in Europe outside of Germany, where Microsoft Game Studios did not publish the game after it was denied a rating. A limited collector's edition was also released, which included a disc of bonus content and an art book titled "Destroyed Beauty" that detailed much of the game's backstory. Gears of War centers on the soldiers of Delta Squad as they fight to save the human inhabitants of the fictional planet Sera from a relentless subterranean enemy known as The Locust Horde. The player assumes the role of Marcus Fenix, a former prisoner and war-hardened soldier. In cooperative play, the second player plays as Fenix's friend and fellow soldier, Dominic Santiago (Dom). The two soldiers join up with Delta Squad and battle the Locust Horde through the course of an action-packed campaign. The game achieved major success after its release. On November 7, 2006, Gears of War became the most popular game on the Xbox Live service, overtaking Halo 2, which had held the spot since its launch in November 2004.By January 19, 2007, just ten weeks after its debut, over three million units of the game have been sold.
The Gears of War Limited Collecter's edition was released on the same Day as Gears of War. It includes an official art book entitled "Destroyed Beauty" and a bonus DVD featuring an inside look at the making of the game enclosed in a metal box.
Gears of War is a third-person "over-the-shoulder" shooter. In an interview with Cliff Bleszinski, lead developer for Epic Games, he cites that three games were the primary influences in the game's design included the third person perspective from Resident Evil 4, the tactical cover system from kill.switch, and the progression from platform to platform via a grappling hook in Bionic Commando. These design choices reflect themselves in the gameplay as Gears of War focuses mainly on sound team-based and cover-dependent tactics with limited weapons rather than brute force. Epic Games placed emphasis on the importance of cover, and on the harder difficulty levels where being exposed to enemy fire for only a few seconds can result in death. While behind cover, players can choose to aim carefully with their weapons or use blind-fire to avoid subsequent damage from showing their heads from behind cover. Players have a wide assortment of rolling and cover maneuvers at their disposal with the press of a single button. The availability of certain maneuvers are also indicated by context sensitive icons that appear at the bottom of the screen. The game also includes a sprint, known as the "roadie run", a roll, and the ability to jump over small walls. The roadie run is part crouch, part run, which can help traverse exposed ground quickly as well as making characters harder to target. During a roadie run, the camera lowers towards the ground and bobs considerably, as if the camera were being held by another person running behind the player.
Gears of War features a small variety of weapons, following other first-person shooter weapons sets with assault rifles, shotguns, pistols and sniper rifles. One of the most notable weapons is the game's signature firearm, the Lancer. The Lancer is an assault rifle with a chainsaw bayonet. This weapon gives the player the ability to cut enemies in half, killing them in a single blow. Some of the more powerful weapons in the game include the Torque Bow, a high tech mechanical spring bow that fires explosive bolts, the Boomshot rocket-propelled grenade launcher, the Longshot sniper rifle and the Hammer of Dawn, a targeting device for a powerful orbital particle cannon but only usable when outdoors. All weapons can be used to bash an opponent at melee range (except for the Lancer, which uses the aforementioned chainsaw bayonet). Both smoke and fragmentation grenades are also available which can be tossed, but can also be stuck onto an opponent by hand at close range. Single player missions usually carry over weapons from previous missions, while multiplayer matches provide players with a smoke grenade, Lancer assault rifle, Snub pistol, and Gnasher shotgun, with more powerful weapons being scattered at strategic locations on the map, though the host can select to randomize weapon locations. Discarded and dropped weapons and ammo can be collected by the player, but the player may only carry one type of grenade, one type of sidearm, and two types of the remaining weapon classes at any time.
A gameplay component unique to Gears of War, the Active Reload, entails hitting the right bumper at the correct time to speed up your reload. There are three possibilities for the result of the second tap of the reload button: perfect, good, and fail. If timed perfectly, the reload takes less than a second and any bullets refilled will momentarily have an 8% increase in damage. If timed well, the reload will simply take less time. If timed poorly, the gun will jam momentarily and the reloading process will take longer than if an Active Reload was not attempted.
Instead of a health bar found in many first-person shooters, Gears of War uses the Crimson Omen, a Cog shaped icon that fills up with blood to represent damage. If there is a faint appearance of the Omen on the screen, it shows that the player has experienced minor wounds. When the Omen becomes more defined, it shows that the player has experienced severe wounds. When there is a skull inside of the symbol, the character has been incapacitated; in the single player mode, this represents player death and game over, while in multiplayer (both co-op and competition modes), another team member may attempt to revive the player. A downed player in the competition mode Execution may also try to restore himself from incapacitation by rapidly pressing the (A) button for several seconds, though during this time, the enemy can brutally end the player's life by using the chainsaw bayonet, smashing the player's head with the butt of a weapon, performing a "curb stomp", or also a headshot. If the player has taken damage but is not incapacitated, the damage can be healed by staying out of the line of fire for a short time, which causes the Omen to slowly fade away.
Gears of War weapons are unique weapons, but they are also few in number. There are only 11 weapons in the game. (Discounting the Troika and UV turret.) However these weapons have been considered balanced, mainly because all of the weapons have a significant drawback.
Lancer Assault Rifle The Lancer by far is the most used weapon in Gears of War. It is used by all COG in cut scenes, and it is standard for all COG. It is given to the COG at the start of each mission, and can contain up to 660 shots. It is also given to the players in the beginning of multi player. One of the unique features of this weapon is the chainsaw attached to it. When Chainsawing an NPC or another player, the person chainsawing is granted invincibility. This ends as soon as the chainsawing sequence is over. The Lancer is relatively weak compared to the other weapons. The Xbox live names are lancer or the machine gun.
Hammer of Dawn "The Hammer" as it is sometimes called, is a very valuable weapon to the COG. When the Locust invaded, and took over most of Sera, the COG used the Hammer of Dawn to destroy their civilization, preventing the Locust from taking it. It is deadly when no one is behind you. "Dropping" the Hammer can be very deadly if there is an enemy in the vicenity. The beam of light lasts about 8 seconds from launch. Its names are the hammer or the HoD (pronounced hod).
Snub Pistol Standard issue sidearm for all soldiers of the Coalition of Ordered Governments (COG). You always have your Snub pistol. It shoots only one bullet at a time but it fires as fast as you can press the R Trigger. This weapon has a zone feature if you click in the right thumb stick. Two direct bullets and a melee will down an enemy. The Xbox live names are the pistol or the noob punch.
Longshot Sniper Rifle Used best at long ranges, the Longshot has a powerful shot that can remove anyone's head with a well placed shot. To zoom in further click in the right stick. An Active reload to the midsection of an enemy will automatically down them, no matter how far away. The Longshot carries 24 shots, with one shot per clip. Its called the snipe,the sniper, sniper rifle, or the snipey.
Fragment Grenade Hold in the L Trigger to see where it will go exactly when it is thrown or press the R Trigger to blind fire. When equipped if you melee an opponent you will "stick" them. It's called the frags or the frag grens.
HammerBurst Is a standard for the Locust with a 6 bullet burst shot. It is more powerful that the Lancer, and actually fires faster. It can carry 720 rounds at once. It carries 60 bullets in a clip at a time. The hammerburst is called the burstgun or the locust rifle.
Boltok Pistol This weapon design is based off a 6-shot revolver. This weapon has a very slow fire rate and carries 6 rounds in a clip at a time. This weapon carries 30 rounds total. Head shots are a rarity, but can occur online occasionally. It is called the sixshooter or the magnum of Xbox live.
Gnasher Shotgun Shotgun-like weapon that is mainly used for close quarters. Aiming at the head will potentially give the shooter a head shot kill. The Gnasher has a max of 39 shots. It has 8 rounds per clip. It is called the shotty or the shotgun.
Boomshot The Boomshot is a basically powerful grenade launcher. It fires one arched bullet the explodes once and then three smaller explosions soon follow. The Boomshot must actually hit the opponent with one of the explosions or it will not kill the opponent, it will merely stun the enemy. A melee after a very close shot will down an enemy. The Boom has a one round clip and carries a max of 12 rounds. Nicknames on Xbox Live include: "NoobShot, Boom, the B.S. cannon, rocket, blaster, or the pown launcher."
Torque Bow The Torque Bow is like a fusion of a grenade and a Crossbow. It has a retical similar to a grenade but the R Trigger must be held in until the line is straight or the Torque Shot will not penetrate an opponent. It will bounce off, and stick into whatever it lands on. If the Torque does penetrate the skin at all, It will automatically kill them. If there are If a person is downed the Torque will automatically fired if the explosion happens near the person firing the Torque It will give the person who downed the person a Torque kill. The Torque has a one round clip and can carry 12 rounds at a time. The Torque bow has the longest reload of any weapon, but is one of the easiest to active-reload. It carries the longest penalty-time for an unsuccessful active reload. It's called the tork or the bow.
Smoke Grenade The smoke grenade is used in multiplayer only. It is not referenced anywhere in campaign, so its origins are unknown. In multiplayer, each player starts off with one. They are useful against snipers, and good for tactical retreats. The smoke lasts for about 15 seconds, and takes about 3 to fill a 20 foot area. Players that enter the smoke will find that they only can see about 3 feet. Only sight is obscured, the players can hear fine. The internet names are the smokes, smokeys, smoke nades, or smoke grens.
PCGears of War was recently ported to PC. It includes new maps, as well as a Map Editor, which has the ability to make new missions. It was not ported to Vista as Halo 2 PC was, but rather to Windows XP instead. With DirectX 10 the effects will be better than the Xbox 360, with sharper particle effects and clearer images, as well as more significant shapes and outlines. It is also a Games For Windows Live title, meaning mutliplayer is done via live gamertags and it has achievements.
In the PC version of Gears of War, there are 5 added chapters. In one chapter, the player fights a Brumak; the Brumak will "be stalking you, and there is no chance of pressing Q or X as you will need all the time to Roadie Run away, and any cover you posses will be demolished by the Brumak". It also has a map editor which has the ability to make new missions.
In addition to the 16 multiplayer maps already available for Gears of War, the PC version includes three new maps: Courtyard, Sanctuary, and Gold Rush.These three maps are also now available on Gears of War 2. Gears of War PC also comes with a Map Editor with the ability to create new maps. It does not cross-platform play between the PC and Xbox 360, however.
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