First of all, let me introduce myself. I am Louis, I am a 30 year old married gamer.
I live with my wife in South Shropshire along with my two cats, Carmine & Anya plus my Dachshund, Betsy.
I have been playing Gears of War since it first came out. So to get my Beta codes for the GoW: Ultimate Edition was almost as good a feeling as chainsawing my first locust all those years ago.
Today started like any other except I had a code that allowed me to download the Beta. Unfortunately, I like many others had a duplicate code for the access pass so went off to work and looked forward to my next message from Xbox. This arrived sooner than anticipated as my phone buzzed at 9am as I entered my office. The Coalition sure know how to tease a guy.
Luckily work is not far from home. So at 1pm I headed back with every intention of forsaking my sandwiches and playing some GoW:UE instead!
I loaded everything up, played with the settings, War Journal and all. Like a big kid at Christmas, trying to savour everything about the game, all before jumping into the 60fps delight in front of me… these are my first impressions
The big red screen with the original gang is what first stuck me. I couldn’t get a screenshot, but I shall find that picture online and it will be my XBox background.
The menu looked clean and was really easy to navigate, everything was responsive and the option to switch servers was a neat touch. Especially if trying to bump into someone across the pond or in a region you wouldn’t normally be placed. However, If that doesn’t interest you, let it at least assure your inner doubter… There will be servers.
With only time for one game I jumped straight in to a game of Team Deathmatch and was greeted by the familiar character and weapon screen associated with the private matches of Gears of War 3. One thing I miss though, is having the opportunity to choose characters and skins outside of the lobby. Maybe this is just a beta choice but I am unsure if anyone else felt this way.
Once in the game itself, everything is bright and pretty. Baird’s chiselled features and Cole’s silky skin. Very impressive. The Coalition/Splash Damage art and graphical teams have done a great job, but I always knew they would.
Gunshots and flesh tearing is music to my ears, those Sound Effects are delightful. From the hammer hitting a watermelon POP, to the whistle of a Boomshot shell, the sounds are on point and with a headset on, it truly feels like the Locust are there to grind your bones. As with the visuals, the audio teams have hit it out of the park.
Now onto the unpleasant parts of my review. I must add that these are not game breakers (to me) and they are gathered from a three round game of Team Deathmatch.
My first issue. With active pre-loading being as prevalent as it is, firing off shells in order to get those precious actives in previous GoW games was easy and in some cases, necessary. When running toward cover, hit cover whilst having the trigger pulled and a shot is fired and you will carry on running as you peel around cover. Not in this game, You hit cover, fire and if you don’t remove your trigger finger, your character carries on the shooting process, rather than going back to running. Leaving your head up in the air for someone to pop. A minor issue relatively, but its the little things, am I right? This leads me onto…
My second issue. Cheesy active Longshot downing. People either remember it from the original Gears or they have seen it in one of the various streams. Unfortunately, it is being abused like a bad habit. I know people are on the forums and Twitter are saying to “take cover” or evade, but either way it is a one shot down and it is being taken advantage of. Personally, I believe power boosts on a perfect active reload should be removed and maybe have a different effect. Once again though, this is a Beta and the damage can be turned off. I am sure we’ll see the alternate option soon.
My third Issue. “Respawns have swapped”, without actually looking at the notification directly, it looks a lot like “Respawns Depleted” especially if you’re a regular GoW3 player. It doesn’t work for me, but others might like it. Maybe an option to turn it off or have more vocal notifications would work better. (Louis, Its just a Beta, it’s just a beta)
Having watched The Coalition’s stream last night, I was a little dubious about the glowing characters. “They are far too bright.” I thought last night, but once in the game, this didn’t seem to be as bad as I originally envisioned. Maybe a touch less bright please, but this is the sort of feedback The Coalition want to hear.
As for movement and sticking to walls, I didnt experience this, but with a 16ms ping to the European server and the hard work put into the game, i’d expect not to. The lack of wall cancelling didn’t bother me at all either. It was a taste of nostalgia that I ate up like a chubby kid would a sugar donut. Strafing, as an alternate to bouncing, is easy to do, but will be difficult for some to master.
My overall impressions are good so far. Its visually and audibly stunning. Movement is fluid, although some people may need to learn how to play all over again.
There are obvious tweaks needed to make the game-play perfect, but this is what a beta is for after all.
If you haven’t got your codes yet, please be patient, the wait is well worth it. Trust me!