Universal acclaim - based on 88 Critic Reviews

Critic score distribution:
  1. Positive: 88 out of 88
  2. Mixed: 0 out of 88
  3. Negative: 0 out of 88
Buy Now
Buy on
  1. 100
    Each stage is memorable...They all combine for an unforgettable adventure through 36 hectic, desperate hours of a group of soldiers' lives...A visual and visceral masterpiece.
  2. Play Magazine
    Gears of War is truly a breakthrough: The absolute finest game of its kind. The bar has definitely been raised. What Halo did for first-person shooters, Gears does for third person - it's that good.
  3. Huge, muscular combatants move like giant men wearing heavy gear, fine details are everywhere, and splattering blood never looked so beautiful - and we mean that in an uncreepy, non-Hannibal Lecter kind of way. It just looks incredible.
  4. 100
    I'm smitten with Gears of War and all its glorious, horrific violence, blood and anarchy. Move over Master Chief, 'cause Marcus Fenix will kick your bony ass all over town.
  5. 100
    It's all about the gameplay, and Gears of War delivers in that department so completely that it wouldn't matter if you were playing the game in 16 bit graphics. But you're not. And Gears of War's glorious presentation - everything from the sound effects to the art direction to the awesomely dark storyline - only enhances what lies at the heart of Gears' destroyed beauty: the gameplay.
  6. 100
    The single impression that I've consistently had about this game since I put the disc in my 360 was one of total and absolute awe and shock. Gears of War doesn't just raise the bar for what we expect from next-gen games, it doubles its height.
  7. No longer a covert operation, Epic's sci-fi shooter Gears of War has finally emerged, and it's pretty much everything we hooped it would be, as well as a few things we didn't expect. [Holiday 2006, p.41]
  8. We'll just come out and say it: Gears of War is better than "Halo"... It's a fantastic-looking, riveting, fire-first-ask-questions-never third-person shooter that manages to show you things that you've never seen before on a console.
  9. Played with a friend, on Hardcore, Gears of War is simply an astounding game. Yes, it has the best visuals ever to grace a video game, but it's how these are used to create an intense shooter that make it so good.
  10. AceGamez
    Combining the excellent gameplay with superb level designs, non-linear battles that allow you to use any weapon or cover at your disposal to eliminate threats, as well as completely unique storyline elements is what really makes Gears' solo mode shine brighter than any of the grim graphics in the game.
  11. As long as you're not too distracted by the superb graphics, you will discover that Gears of War is a classy, imaginative shooter with plenty of gritty action.
  12. The dark storyline isn't fantastic, but the way it's presented certainly is. Gritty characters with a rare touch of humanity, intense combat that will leave you breathless, and some great multiplayer modes are sure to keep you hooked until the inevitable sequel comes along.
  13. The loftiest of production values married to one of a kind graphical fidelity, all wrapped up in astounding, innovative and exciting gameplay that shooter fans will die for make GoW a true AAA title that not only lives up to, but surpasses its massive hype.
  14. 100
    A lot of Gears is derivative, from the Pitch Black light gimmick to the sassy black sidekick to the "Saving Private Ryan cam" to the way the score apes James Horner's Aliens soundtrack. But Gears of War feels like a game built out of homages rather than creative bankruptcy.
  15. There’s not much left to do in games after this.
  16. X-ONE Magazine UK
    Unsullied by over-complication and masterfully focused, Gears of War aims to offer the most bang per buck yet seen in a videogame, and we're glad to say it does just that. [Issue 14, p.72]
  17. Some games nail the gameplay mechanics, others have an amazing art style, some are incredibly fun to play, and yet others are amazing technical achievements. It’s rare that a game has all of those qualities, but Epic Games’ Gears of Wars does.
  18. games(TM)
    Gears Of War couldn't feel more vital. Some will see the future, some will see the past; we just see a truly great game. [Christmas 2006, p.96]
  19. The camera is so good in Gears of War that I never once thought about it while playing. I can't recall a single instance where it did not frame the action right, or hide anything I should have seen.
  20. A milestone, a legendary achievement in gaming that only comes along once in a very long time. With game quality visuals, and sound design increasing with just about every new title that ships, the fact that Gears of War manages to make such a huge leap forward only emphasizes just how innovative this game truly is.
  21. From the amazing experience that is the single player to the well balanced and extremely fun multiplayer to the visuals and beyond Gears is the best game of the year hands down.
  22. Rarely do games with this much fanfare actually live up to their talked-about potential, but Gears does something that almost none do - it exceeds the hype. It looks almost unbearably gorgeous, it sounds out of this world, it plays as smooth as butter but most of all - it's fun. Pure, unadulterated, blood-spattered fun.
  23. Gears of War excels for so many reasons it is impossible to count them all. Aside from the obvious things like graphics and gameplay, there numerous little touches like the roadie run and character dialogue that push it over the edge into video game greatness.
  24. Visually, Gears is astonishing. It undoubtedly breaks all previous technological barriers with the use of the Unreal Engine 3.0 and raises the bar to a stunningly unprecedented level.
  25. A new twist on the shooter genre, amazing graphics and a top-notch presentation are only the starting points for a game that stands, bar-none, as the next-gen title to beat in the future.
  26. It is a shooter of unparalleled grandeur and scale, featuring graphics that put the PlayStation 3 launch lineup to shame.
  27. From start to finish, Gears of War is one wild ride and the best game that I have played this year on the 360.
  28. The term memorable comes to mind instantly when thinking about Gears of War. Epic and Microsoft have really done something awesome here and we, as gamers, should be grateful.
  29. It's difficult to really describe what exonerates the game from being considered a lifeless, average game. Maybe it's the stunning visuals, or the satisfaction from chainsawing your opponents into chunks of flesh or the unparalleled sense of realism. It has its problems just like any game, but the experience of playing Gears of War is undeniably incredible.
  30. If you're a graphics whore, you absolutely, positively need to pick this game up. To say that Gears of War features "next-gen graphics" is a gross understatement. It's got the most impressive graphics ever seen in a video game, and the stellar art direction only makes it more beautiful.
  31. A wicked game of hide-and-seek with high-powered future guns, which delivers one of the most heart-pounding and graphically thrilling experiences of the year. If its exciting campaign doesn't rope you in, chances are the team-based multiplayer will--either way, Gears of War is downright amazing.
  32. 96
    The gameplay is fresh, exciting, and surprisingly nuanced, the graphics are gorgeous both technically and artistically, and the online play is incredibly addictive. Unquestionably the best game on the Xbox 360, a major contender for game of the year, and quite possibly the game that will forever define the Xbox 360.
  33. The only thing I need to say about the graphics is that they're perfect. Character models, vehicles, environments, weather, it's all spectacular but not overwhelming to the point of distraction.
  34. Gears trumps all previous console games, including the fabled Halo franchise, for its production values and addictive multiplayer. This title will have a greater impact on 360 owners than "Halo" did on the original Xbox.
  35. The controls are intuitive and well-mapped, and quickly feel at home in any hand as you’re blasting heads and chain sawing your enemies into submission.
  36. It's short, at about 8 hours in length, and the last level and a half seems abrupt. I still feel like there’s a rail sequence missing when the squad tears away from the mansion in the APC... It also doesn't necessarily take the third-person shooter to new heights. What it does, however, is present one of the best looking and sounding games whose gameplay is as polished as it gets, with intense shootouts, exciting boss battles, and sleep-depriving online play.
  37. 96
    It will go down as one of the few games that managed to live up to the insane hype it created.
  38. netjak
    To not have this game in your Xbox 360 game collection is like a form of self-punishment. There's no doubt in my mind: Gears of War can easily go down as one of the greatest video games ever created.
  39. Gears of War raises the bar for action games and gives the Xbox 360 its first true killer app.
  40. This is one of the best co-op games I have played, especially when you crank the difficulty past Casual and up into the Hardcore and Insane levels. Working with your buddy to flank and outwit the enemy is a blast.
  41. 95
    The game glows in a revelatory way we haven't seen since "God of War" and "Resident Evil 4." If nothing else, it's infinitely more engaging and suspenseful than this year's crop of by-the-books FPS games.
  42. Gears of War has easy to grasp gameplay with solid controls and tons of action. Plus, the weapons are great (you just can't beat the chainsaw attached to a gun).
  43. 95
    It executes the ultimate culmination of 25 years of action gaming: a visceral and violent experience that drains every ounce of all five senses, accentuating each player action with more grace, more beauty, and more precision than any game before it.
  44. One of the best team based multi-player games out there. They decided to build the whole experience around two teams. Instead of doing a lot of different modes "pretty good", they built one mode really good. The game is so balanced and fun you will never have to insist that the teams switch sides, on a poorly balanced map, for the next match.
  45. A breathtaking graphical masterpiece.
  46. An inventive, immersive thrill ride of a game with graphics above and beyond everything else on the market, top-notch presentation, and a multiplayer mode that will have you coming back for more, even if you were only in it for the single-player mode from the get-go.
  47. 95
    The biggest draw to Epic’s newest masterpiece is obviously the visuals. Gears looks better than every other game you have ever seen, and yes that includes every single one of the PS3 launch titles.
  48. Electronic Gaming Monthly
    I should absolutely hate Gears of War. Tactical combat, a big emphasis on using cover, one-death-and-your-done multiplayer--all three have always been on my list of gaming pet peeves. But ironically, these aspects make up much of the reason why I absolutely love it. [Jan. 2007, p.92]
  49. 94
    There is a healthy learning curve to the cover system, but those who master it will find Epic's twisting and turning and rolling an exciting change-up in the shooter genre, a blend of fast-arcade action and basic, tactical maneuvering. The Insane difficulty level gives Gears legs months after you've finished the relatively-short campaign, and even with a friend it is an impossible, irresistible challenge.
  50. Best console shooter on XBox 360, and maybe ever.
  51. Gears of War is one well-oiled machine.
  52. Gears of War isn’t a masterpiece of innovation: it’s a masterpiece of fun.
  53. If you feel like team based action, it’s all there; and if you feel like going on a psychotic rampage, it’s also there for you.
  54. Games Master UK
    A scintillating dose of uber-violence. Un-freakin'-missable. And then some. [Christmas 2006, p.56]
  55. Gears of War cuts straight to the chase and its innovative controls are so intuitive that you’re fighting at full speed before you even realize it.
  56. Easily one of the best game of the year. Gears of War has raised the bar of what gamers should expect in future next generation games.
  57. In the end, Gears of War isn't perfect, but it does what it does so incredibly well that you just can't help but love it.
  58. From the backgrounds to the hiding spots that slowly diminish as they take continued fire, the developers couldn't have done a better job at providing the perfect environment.
  59. For lack of a better phrase, the gameplay in Gears of War will keep you on the edge of your seat--primarily because the enemy AI is so impressive. Just like the Halo series, you’ll see the same four or five enemy types over and over, but their intelligence and ability to navigate the environment makes each battle feel completely fresh.
  60. But every once in a while you have a game so mindblowingly good-looking that the gameplay, good, bad, or somewhere in between, just doesn't matter. Say "Hi" to Gears of War.
  61. Whether it is chainsawing or curb-stomping kids online, GoW is a fun game in all respects. I just wish Epic distributed their efforts more evenly because that would have pushed GoW that extra little bit to make it an all-time favorite.
  62. It’s a little easy to die and a little hard to get into a good online match, but the eye polishing graphics and brawny gameplay form a powerful polymer, gluing your hands to the controller, getting you hopelessly caught in the Gears of War.
  63. There is one area where Gears of War does not shine – bugs. Four big ones affecting multiplayer are fairly widespread.
  64. 90
    The hallmark of Gears' weapon design is the balance of powerful tools with critical, exploitable weaknesses, and it's executed with real finesse.
  65. It's not nearly as epic as we would have liked, but the gameplay provides some fantastic moments and introduces some new aspects to a mainstream shooter. The graphics and online co-op are simply phenomenal.
  66. Gears of War is absolutely rammed with excitement, innovation and atmosphere. This is a next-generation game in every respect, trampling convention and really rewriting the shooter genre with flourish and pace.
  67. The fact that you can revive your partner also adds a lot of depth and strategy to the game. Do you risk reviving your downed teammate in the line of fire, or do you stick it out and take out the bad guys first?
  68. Gears of War is a game of superlatives; it's a game so full of moments that are enough to bring you to tears; it is the next-generation. Focussing on delivering THE next-generation action blockbuster, it would be hard to describe Epic's effort as particularly creative or revolutionary; but it is a shooter of the highest quality - one to hold out on the 360 as being testament to what the system can achieve with a talented team and a $10 million budget - roll on Gears of War 2...
  69. The campaign is over much too quickly and multiplayer isn't nearly as deep as some other games, but this isn't about playing Gears of War ten, fifteen years down the road. It's all about partaking in this mass, shared experience, one that'll no doubt keep Xbox 360s running for a long time.
  70. Sure, Gears of War doesn't really offer much that is new to the shooter genre but in the same token provides an experience that is extremely well polished and more importantly, fun to play.
  71. 90
    One of the Xbox 360's best moments to date. Gears of War trades off innovation for the sake of high-class production, solid gameplay and enjoyable combat. A must.
  72. Visually the game is stunning. You really need a HDTV to see this game the way it should be played but even at the lower resolution its better than anything on the console so far.
  73. If only more multiplayer modes had been created, Gears of War would be regarded as the perfect Xbox Live game.
  74. Gorgeous visuals, fantastic gameplay, and just one of the most entertaining shooters of a long time.
  75. 90
    Appropriately billed by some as a third-person tactical action/horror shooter it is frighteningly good. Although what's really scary is to think what things will look like with a few more years' development time and the know-how to push the hardware even further.
  76. Gears of War does exactly what it promised to do – have jaw dropping visuals, strong presentation, fluid gameplay, and integrated multiplayer (co-op at any time). Perhaps we're not justified in asking any more than that and to tell the truth all else is forgotten as soon as you get thrown into the game.
  77. The elements of the story are certainly nothing inspiring but chuck in simply awesome graphics, cool dynamics and a cracking good time to be had while killing the bad guys, you've got a game that is a total blast and more fun than is feasibly possible.
  78. The Xbox 360 finally has the format-exclusive AAA title it's been hankering after since day one.
  79. 90
    Gears of War satisfies that deep yearning for a vigorous, bloody, and action-packed shooter on Xbox 360, and it does so with style. Epic's team has handled nearly everything (except the story, really) with great craft, technical genius, and completeness.
  80. Gears of War shows that intelligent game designers can use high-powered consoles for more than just making prettier versions of existing games.
  81. Another negative aspect that many seem to overlook is that Gears of War doesn't sway very far from traditional action/shooter standards; there's not a whole of innovation here.
  82. Pelit (Finland)
    Gears of War has graphics to die for, but very little else. The singleplayer storyline utterly failed to hold my interest. Even worse, the main gameplay mechanic repeats itself to death – you just sit still behind a cover and shoot it out. On the plus side, the co-op and the multiplayer modes are fun. [Dec 2006]
  83. 83
    It refines and codifies the advances that prior titles have made before it and packages all these lessons in what are undeniably sumptuous visuals.
  84. It really will take you only around six hours to complete the Campaign on the standard setting, but you will have such an exhilarating time playing through it you will probably start all over again on Insane difficulty...However, Gears longevity is sure to be guaranteed by its multiplayer modes that we predict could be the game to finally topple "Halo 2" from the top of the Xbox Live 'most played' stats.
  85. If you want to gorge on a next generation audio-visual feast then Gears of Wars is a king's banquet. But what of the gameplay pudding that Peter Moore so often reminds us that he likes? The proof, he says, is in the eating, and in this case Gears of War sticks to a well-worn recipe.
  86. Edge Magazine
    But for all the excellence on show, there's no shaking the sense that this is a game that does everything that was asked of it, but nothing more. [Christmas 2006, p.72]
  87. Call me a jaded critic, a wet blanket, or anything else, but I'm not going to be dazzled into submission by stunning visuals and overlook a core game design that doesn't impress.
User Score

Generally favorable reviews- based on 2902 Ratings

User score distribution:
  1. Aug 28, 2010
    for a game thats loaded to the hilt with bugs and glitches its one of the most funest games ive played both online and off. the story mode isfor a game thats loaded to the hilt with bugs and glitches its one of the most funest games ive played both online and off. the story mode is only about 5-6 hours long but its a fun 6 hours . with some of the best voice acting and diolouge in any game to date . it has a good cover mechanic and with 2 player co-op its a blast. not to mention you get a chainsaw on the end of your gun . the animayions of cutting your enimy into little bits of meat just never gets old . the online is the real mear of this game . never in a online game is team work so vital to victory. the fun ive had with my friends on this was just intense . the formulation of stratagy planning are next move just seperates this from all the other ho-hum cockie cutter shooters out there . the game isnt flawless the story in this game is badley told . you are basically in the middle of a story and get no clear sense of how it all started . there are alot of bugs and glitches in this game and even after almost 4 years they still havent fixed 75% of them and they have done like a 100 patches for this game . still this looks and feels original despite the flaws im still giving it a 10 because there are a million run and gun call of duty clones out there but only 1 gears of war and it rains king over every thing els that is a online shooter. Full Review »
  2. JamesChennault
    Nov 13, 2006
    This game is a must buy for any Xbox 360 owner. This is really the killer game that the system needed. It does not get a full 10 out of 10 dueThis game is a must buy for any Xbox 360 owner. This is really the killer game that the system needed. It does not get a full 10 out of 10 due to retarded AI, texture glitches, and random Multiplayer glitches. Still is one of the best game i have played this year, hands down. Full Review »
  3. MessiahLee
    Dec 13, 2007
    A generic, mediocre shooter of the most depthless proportions. My opinion of this game is hardly marred by its difficulty, Abdul, but itsA generic, mediocre shooter of the most depthless proportions. My opinion of this game is hardly marred by its difficulty, Abdul, but its been-there-done-that gameplay.
    I think it's funny that you claim Mass Effect's storyline was awful, and then you gave Gears of War, an entire experience that can be summarized in one or two paragraphs at Wikipedia, and finished in less than 6 hours on HARDCORE MODE, a perfect 10.
    You're an idiot.
    Full Review »