Gears of Mediocrity (A War Against Reviewer Bias)

Gears of War 2 was one of the biggest disappointments of my life. Period. In a life marred by things failing to ever live up to my already meager expectations, that’s saying something. After a solid first entry in their machismo, testosterone-addled franchise, I had high hopes that the sequel would deliver more tight gameplay and visceral set pieces, as well as delve deeper into the established fiction, which was ripe with potential.

Instead of this complete package that built off the strengths of the first installment, I got Gears of War 2. The story was laughably terrible, the character development (if you can call it that) made me cringe, and the gameplay actually felt somewhat dated. I’m not sure what exactly I was looking for, but incoherent grunts and offensive, borderline racist dialogue wasn’t it. Even the gunplay was a letdown; it was still the “stop and pop” style shooter, but the build of the levels and placement of the chest-high walls for which your roided-out character takes cover behind created a sense of the game playing itself. When you can walk into a battle and see exactly the way the developer intended you to progress, it transforms the experience into a sort of rail shooter. Instead of being in control, I was along for the ride. Mix this with fights inside of the belly of a worm and one of the most anticlimactic finales of this generation, and Gears of War 2 just wasn’t as good of a game as everyone led me to believe.

So forgive me if I’m not buying the early hype and positive reviews for Gears of War 3, especially given what aspects of the game the reviewers are basing their scores on. Continue reading “Gears of Mediocrity (A War Against Reviewer Bias)”