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The Art of Gears of War

  • Jan 16, 2009
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Gears of War is one of my all-time favorite games, and to 
me it's one of many that makes a very strong case for the pro side in the
 silly "Can Video Games Be Art?" debate (of course they can). And please, 
before you, dear Lunchster, jump to any conclusions, I do not propose that GoW's
 incredibly detailed and fully-realized production design make it a work of art. 
Nor am I positing that the clunky premise and macho narrative—the story—qualify 
it as such either. Folks who try to defend games-as-art often miss the point: 
it isn't necessarily the game's look or the story that should be the focus when
 deeming a game artful, at least not yet. Games haven't quite
 matured enough in the storytelling department to compete with the best of other 
narrative-based media (like novels, comics, or really good movies). Might 
happen in the future, but so far not so much. And like I said, it's beside the point


Where the focus should be (as far as considering whether a
game is artful or valid as an aesthetic experience) is the simple mechanism—the core gameplay element—that makes a game unique, innovative, addictive (gulp), or
 beautiful, even. And fun. Let's not forget that. Tetris is a wonderful example,
and so are other games like Katamari Damacy, Pac-Man and (on the analog side)
 Chess. Tetris in particular is an amazing game built around a very simple, primal desire: To Organize Space. The graphic simplicity of it is part of what
 makes it work; the game is essentially abstract, like a Piet Mondrian painting 
in motion. Yep, I said it.


Which brings me back to Gears. The beauty of this game lies
 in what I have narrowed down to 3 well thought out, well executed elements:


-The "stop and
 pop" method of fire. This little in-game function lets you move your character
 behind an obstacle to find cover. Depressing the left trigger "pops" you up or
 to the side for a quick look-see while also zooming you into a reticle.
 Releasing the trigger "pops" you back down to safety.


-The "active reload" system. Difficult to explain but
 basically this is a function that lets you control the speed at which you 
reload ammo, rewarding you if you do it perfectly with a boost in firepower. 
It's like a small game within the game.


-Implementation of multiplayer "versus" mode. Also hard to 
explain briefly, but trust me when I tell you that the team play element of the
 game is very well balanced while encouraging teamwork and communication. It's
 not completely as innovative as "active reload" or "stop and pop," but I feel
 the multiplayer experience is still head and shoulders above most
 other console shooters out there (except for maybe Halo). The new "Horde" mode in Gears of War 2 adds a wonderfully fun gametype where a team of up to five friends work together to survive wave after wave of aggressive, zombie-like enemies.

So while I do not think that Gears deserves a place in the permanent collection of the World Art Museum of All-Time Great Games, I do 
believe its 3 above mentioned gameplay elements are incredibly well-designed 
and in short, little works of art. If anything, Gears of War could be in one of the smaller, local "low-brow" art galleries that specialize in 
representational, macho stuff.


PS I'm a wimpy pacifist and yet I find the more aggressive,
 violent aspects of this game to be a complete gas, I'm ashamed to admit.
The no-neck muscleheads of Gears white knuckle action! um, I dunno if this is appropriate for the site.

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May 15, 2009
as long as the credits include ANY title that has the word artist attached to it i believe it should be considered art as much as a movie would be.
May 05, 2009
I don't know if you have a PS3 as well, but you should definitely check out Killzone 2. If you think Gears of War is beautiful, you really should it out. It is by far the most realistic warfare game out there right now. It features smart adaptive AI that reacts to every bullet, to beautiful graphics that i cannot compare to any other game out there right now besides maybe Heavenly Sword. I do share your love for Artistic and realistic games :)
About the reviewer
John Pham ()
Member Since: Dec 19, 2008
Last Login: Nov 29, 2009 09:34 PM UTC
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About this video game


Gears of War, an Xbox 360 exclusive game that blends tactical action with survival horror, thrusts gamers into a deep and harrowing tale of humankind's epic battle for survival against the Locust Horde, a nightmarish race of creatures that surface from the bowels of the planet. The storyline plays out like a Hollywood blockbuster -- lead character Marcus Fenix pits advanced human technology against the overwhelming Locust Horde. Built around a revolutionary third-person tactical combat system and breathtaking, high-definition visuals from the Unreal Engine 3,Gears of Warimmerses you in a horrifying tale of war and survival.

Gears of War

Gears of War is harrowing tale that pits humankind against the Locust Horde. Gears of War

Marcus Fenix and his team battle nightmarish creatures. View larger. Gears of War

In Gears of War, you must take cover to survive. View larger. Gears of War

Gears of War presents a focused and well-paced cinematic experience. View larger. The gameplay is focused on a fire team co-op so advanced that your A.I. teammates are indiscernible from human players. Voice recognition and real-time lip synching heighten the absorbing experience. The Unreal Engine 3 technology brings out the smallest details in the largest of battles. With GOW you're sure to experience a rich, dynamic world where characters spring to life. Speaking of life, the battlefield is a lethal place. To survive, you must suppress your enemy with blindfire, take cover in interactive environments, and use weapons and teammates...

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Number of Players: Single-player, Multi-player
Publisher: Microsoft Game Studios
Developer: Epic Games
Console: Xbox 360
Genre: Shooter
Release Date: November 07, 2006
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"The Art of Gears of War"
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