Last night Microsoft and New Line Cinema held a “match made in hell” where two hundred or so lucky people got to watch a screening of Texas Chainsaw Massacre: The Beginning and afterwards play Gears of War. This is the first time Gears of War has been shown to the general public and they got to play the same polished build on display at X06. We were on the floor of the Los Angeles event and it was pretty clear that most of the people at the event were there to play Gears of War.
Right when the credits rolled flat screen panels with Gears of War went up and the audience cheered. The product manager went up to demo the game with an intro movie and a brief overview of the controls. The A button is used for action like running and taking cover. The trigger buttons fire your gun and you can switch weapons with the D-pad. He went on to emphasize that Gears of War is not a first person shooter, it’s a third person action game and multiplayer combat is designed for teams. One interesting feature in Gears of War is the revive ability, when you’re shot you just remain down and not dead. A friendly player can come up and revive you, which brings you back in the game. The only way to truly eliminate an opponent is with a melee chainsaw attack or to “curb stomp” them while they’re down on the ground. Before the match begun the audience screamed for some chainsaw action. The demo continued briefly with Marcus, the soldier searching for redemption, chop up a Locust Horde soldier with the chainsaw attached to the Lancer gun.
The audience roared in excitement and the first group got to come down to test out Gears of War. There were two games of four on four matches running on the Gridlocked multiplayer map. Only one extremely fortunate gamer got to play Gears on the movie screen while the rest of the audience watched, anxiously awaiting their turn. The first match was clearly dominated by the Locust Horde players who quickly discovered how to utilize cover effectively and the curb stomp technique. As a bonus to the Gears of War shirt that everyone got they snagged extra swag, an Xbox 360 shirt and cap.
What did the players think of the game? We pulled a couple of gamers to the side after they got some hands on time with Gears of War to get their reaction.
One enthusiastic fan said he “loved the gore and blood and.” His buddy Sepher played in the same match and said that Gears of War “plays really well. It’s going to require a lot of team tactics.” After playing one of the first matches another gamer claimed that Gears of War was “kick ass” and while the general tone of the audience was positive we spoke to another gamer who was more critical of the game.
Daniel got to sit in on the second Gears of War match and he wasn’t as thrilled as the rest of the audience. A couple of bugs and issues with the game distracted it from being the blast that everyone else claimed it to be. “Every time I started the match I’d be firing. Sometimes I was behind a car and I couldn’t fire. Another guy next to me his controller stopped working.” Daniel admitted that it could have been a problem with the controllers or the build, but there was another problem with the game’s general control set up. “You hold A to run, but you also press it to duck. If you run near a car you stop running and duck behind it. It doesn’t seem like a glitch to me. It seems like the game doesn’t know if you want to run or duck behind the car.” Is Gears of War going to be a huge hit? Daniel has his doubts, “No not in this state. Not in its present form.” Gears of War might have not lived up to the amount of hype behind it for Daniel, but that didn’t stop him from having a good time along with everyone else. Want to see what Gears of War looks like? Watch a quick clip of the game below and yes the curb stomp is in it.
So why tie in Texas Chainsaw Massacre to the game in the first place? They both have chainsaws. No one really seemed to mind too much about sitting through the movie to get their hands on Gears of War. Right after spending sometime playing Gears of War Sepher said, “Five minutes of this is better than two hours of the movie.” He admitted to not being a film junkie, but that bold statement either a punch in the face towards Texas Chainsaw Massacre or a plug for Gears of War.
Even if the movie wasn’t that great and everyone only got to play the game for about five minutes the audience was ecstatic about the event. There really aren’t that many public gaming events so it isn’t a surprise that Microsoft got a genuinely positive reaction from the gamer community by throwing the Match Made in Hell. Hopefully, this will start a trend and more companies will have premiere junkets for their games. At the very least we’re pretty sure Microsoft is going to continue throwing gamer parties in the future. Anyone want to see a Halo 3 or Blue Dragon premiere?