Emergence Day Preview: I find it kind of funny, I find it kind of sad. The dreams in which I'm dying are the best I've ever had?
Just a few more days and the hardcore faithful will finally have, in their hands, the game that likely sold them on the 360 way back at E3 2004. Just a snippet, less than 30 seconds of footage and the entire industry was buzzing about this incredible looking new action shooter from Epic Games. Fast forward to November 3rd, 2006, just days until the game releases and the anticipation is through the roof on this one. Cliff Bleszinski and Epic are betting a lot on this new IP, and Microsoft hopes to have another all-star franchise in the vein of Halo to bolster its first party library with Marcus Fenix and company.
Fortunately for Cliff (who's most certainly busting right now, waiting for those first major reviews to hit) and for us gamers, everything we've seen of GoW up to this point is looking top-notch, and it seems from a glance around the Net that most ? if not all - of our fellow gaming press seem to agree. The single player campaign (again, what we've seen of it) is appropriately cinematic, the game controls appear locked down and finely tuned, the multiplayer is pretty insane and Marcus Fenix looks and sounds pretty damn bad-ass. Reportedly, the framerate is quite solid with only the occasional instance of slowdown, and even that may be ironed out by release day. The music is great, a sweeping orchestral approach that fits the subject matter perfectly, and the weapons and combat scenarios appear sweet indeed. Overall, Emergence Day should be full of sci-fi goodness for the gaming faithful.
The ability to jump in and take-on the entire campaign over Live with a buddy is promising stuff, and you'll undoubtedly want to tackle missions by yourself, and then replay them again with a friend. If you have a big friends list, you may wind up running levels multiple times, but again, the fun factor should make repeated play-throughs a no brainer anyway.
The game looks absolutely stellar, and for once I'm pretty much all out of excited hyperbole with which to describe it. It's gritty, yet beautiful at the same time, brimming with a ridiculous level of detail and a shimmering, ethereal quality that's juxtaposed against the grittiness that makes it quite unlike any shooter you've seen before. The characters move with weight and presence, and you can see how they slam
against cover, shaking dust and debris loose as they do so. The documentary feel of the camera as you ?roadie run? from cover point to cover point is fantastic, imparting a real sense of being right there, on the front line. The shooting action appears unparalleled and the different weapons, including the chainsaw equipped automatic rifle, a powerful pistol, shotgun, grenades and the Hammer of Dawn (an orbital laser that you can direct to eradicate your enemies in one fell swoop) are authentic and powerful. The sniper rifle lets you pop heads in an especially gruesome animation, and overall the game's looks are pretty much in a class by themselves at this time. Literally photo-real characters with facial scars, rippling muscles and highly detailed armor and weapons grace the screen, and the environments are just as incredible. The game sports ultra-realistic smoke, debris, rusted metal, shattered concrete, towering buildings, a stunning color palette and incredible vistas of destroyed beauty as far as the eye can see. I'll tell you this - you will not see a better looking title in the next six months, guaranteed.
Multiplayer is looking very nice, with a 4 vs 4 set up and several gametypes to play. The maps look almost as good as the single player game, and the character models of both the Locusts and the COG soldiers look phenomenal. The cover element that's central to the gameplay carries over here as well, and the matches look to be intense and dramatic conflicts with very realistic and tactical shootout mechanics. Cover, blind fire, SWAT turning, diving and rolling ? it's all here, and it all adds up to a cinematic shooter that feels just like the real thing. Between single, multi and co-op play, Gears of War should keep your 360 drive spinning for a long time to come.