You know how they always say you shouldn’t judge a book by it’s cover? Well, that’s almost doubly true for video games. Covers are cool and all, but they sure don’t mean a lot. Take the Gears of War trilogy for instance. Each title features the same giant, square headed, soul patch sportin’, do-rag rockin’ Super Hero on the cover. That big ol’ giant sack of frat-boy douche is modeling an equally meaty suit of Pilsbury Doughboy armor and is wielding a giant Chainsault rifle…
Oh-kay, so maybe you can judge some video games by their cover, but I thought, hey, what the heck, let’s give this here Gears of War series a fighting chance. How about I read 8 pages into the original Gears of War to judge for myself if all the entries are truly worthy of a full play through? And so, 8 Minutes Later was born.
I slide the first Gears of War disc into the old Xbox, wait for the main menu to pop up and then I hit start on my controller and an 8 minute timer simultaneously. I select campaign, then single player, then new game, and then of course Hardcore because I play every game in Hardcore Mode… even the ones that don’t have Hardcore Mode, because that’s how I roll.
My immediate impression is: this game is all about load screens. I don’t know how much of my 8 minutes just ticked away, but it was significant. Here I am, waiting to shoot things into Bolivan with the Soulpatchinest Hero that has ever Souled a Patch, and here all I’m doing is watching a load screen work its magic. Let the good times roll!
Okay, here we go. The load screen disappears and the faceshooting is about to start. Oh, wait, no, what is that… some sick Xtro looking monkeydogs are drooling all over me from above as I lay there napping… IN MY JAIL CELL! Okay, sweet, not only am I a seemingly evil criminal, but I’m stuck grooming this miraculously magical soul patch of mine with a rusty shiv as I rot alone in a prison cell.
Then, out of nowhere, this fragile looking fem-bot cuts through my cell door and a massive Latino beefcake tosses me a bag full of who knows what — please let it be a shaving kit. Wait, it’s probably that 275 pounds worth of armor which my giant, square doucheface is wearing on the cover of this game. Yeah, thanks. My life was so much easier walking around without the weight of chafing hot metal on my shoulders. I don’t know whether to thank you now or just let the soulcrushing weight of this armor suit implode my heart.
Rescued at last, but wait, there you go spouting garbage about trouble and change and… the Army?!? So umm, how about I just wait things out here in my cushy cell where I have the hot rain of slobbering monkeydogs to keep my bare, armor-free skin smooth and supple? If you don’t mind, would you please have your feeble floating robot solder my door shut so I can pretend this jarring experience never happened? Wait… I can’t?
Fine, I guess we can take a walk. Ugh, what now? I can either go on a training mission in the guard’s quarters… or get right into combat by taking a left. Strange, but I guess that’s an easy choice, I think I’ll go pump some iron in the prison blocks and see what’s cooking in the showers after I work up a good sweat. Let’s go kick some butt.
Hey, who moved the weight benches and set these randomly placed concrete barriers all around? What the heck… now a chopper just swooped by and tried to kill me with death from above. I did NOT sign up for this.
I guess it’s off to the showers. Let me just open this steam room door here… WOAH, what the what? It’s a jump scare. When did I start playing Resident Evil? Anyway, these guys hanging from the ceiling look like they were either dropped off from the set of the latest Predator movie or they took a nice relaxing acid bath before hanging out together in the locker room.
Let’s move on then. This place smells worse than the toilet in my cell, and you do NOT want to know what’s been going on in there. So, it’s out of the steam room and into the fire. Here come the rescue choppers. No wait, that’s the second time they’ve tried to drop a building on me. Who’s side are they on anyway?
Ah, here we go… some things to shoot. I’ll just line them up and mow them — ouch! Why are you bullet-timing my soulpatch? Killing my sandpaper face with your guns is not hardcore. Hardcore is me watching you eat the bullets from this here chainsaw of mine as you cower in fear. This is the first level. Did you not get the memo?
So, I’m dead now. And all goofing aside, I swear that in some past life I’ve beat this game on Insane Mode flying solo. Who gave these bullet sponges the murder, death, kill order? Let’s try again. Dead. Okay, try again, but this time I guess I should hide behind these lovely barriers. No wait, you just walked up and punched my jaw off its rocker after I filled your giant, grey, ghost turd of a body with two clips from my chainsaw…
And there goes the timer. Go ahead and chalk up three humiliating deaths. And so ends my lengthy, eight minute experience with the original Gears of War. My conclusions are as follows:
You should never die three times within the first eight minutes of a gaming experience. This leaves me with two conclusions. One, either I suck. Nope, not possible. Or two, Gears of War is an amazing death simulator.
As such, if you find dying entertaining, this is the game for you. Gears of War is the kind of game that makes dying fun. Undaunted, I believe I will soldier on to learn what my fate holds. Or maybe I’ll just skip ahead to see what Gears 2 is all about… but that is a story for another time. Until then, enjoy the carnage.