Gears of War - hands-on

Oct 26, 2007

We're playing the Gears of War PC's new King of the Hill mode, which has just seen four other players kill each other viciously from behind one after another in a hilarious cartoon chain of death. As the legendary lead designer CliffyB said to me earlier in the day, the new multiplayer game is indeed, "f---ing hilarious."

Gears of War has shifted over four million copies on Xbox 360 alone, won countless Game of the Year awards and become one of the most popular online shooters of all time. Until Gears' console release this time last year, developer Epic was more famous for Unreal Tournament and the all-conquering Unreal Engine 3, used as the de facto modern game engine to build titles such as BioShock. Now the company is preparing to unleash on PC not only the hugely entertaining violent blaster Unreal Tournament 3 but also Gears of War - a massive game event.

Gears of War, a game that was built for the Xbox 360 from the ground up, is enormous amounts of fun to play on PC, with a host of new single-player missions, mouse/keyboard support, a new multiplayer mode, three brand new maps and co-op play over Games For Windows Live.

Our first experience of Gears on PC had to be the new five single-player missions built around the Act V encounter with the infamous Brumak beast, which CliffyB succinctly described as "four stories of teeth and guns," and was only previously viewed in a brief cutscene on the Xbox 360 game. The new level is unlocked from the beginning, so if you want to jump in and experience the Brumak battle immediately from the off, you can. Although be warned, it appears near the end of the game, so if you're new to Gears, you will die, easily.

"The Timgad level was always an idea early in development, but ultimately you have to decide how much to bite off and still keep the quality you want," said senior producer Rod Fergusson. "Also you get the biggest bang for the buck with the Brumak. No one was really asking for new weapons or a new character, they were all like, "I want to fight that thing!"