I love Gears of War. And I hate Gears of War. Epic's shooter is a source of so many hours of joy and so many hours of frustration. I've been headshotted so many times I think I've actually accumulated physical injury. I think the eight-year-olds who squeal at me about how much I suck and how much of a fag I am has caused psychological damage. What do I know? I probably deserved
that shotgun blast to the face, that smoke grenade on my downed corpse, and all that constant flaming. But I can't stop playing Gears, yet. It's a love/hate relationship, you see.
I'm not the best Gears player out there. I maintain a pretty decent record though -- I can usually splatter enough warm bodies, toss frags stragetically, in a futile effort to hold my own. But lately, I feel I'm at my limit as a Gears player; I've hit that invisible skill-wall. But instead of getting better, churning through more ranked matches and getting frustrated, I just need a change of venue. I don't want to go back
to Halo 2. I want to go forward with this generation. Gears of War is, essentially, the only shooter in my collection that I play online (from this generation). I don't count Crackdown
in that list.
I need a new fix, and Halo 3 is going to be it. I can just feel it. "I can feel it in my fingers, feel it in my toes" as the old love song goes. It's like when you buy a new bike: you have no need for that old one, so why not toss it?
I have always felt that I was a better Halo player than Gears player. I might be a delusional gamer; I might have my head on backwards, but that's how I feel. In Halo, I'm an island; I'm unpredictable
. I'm a whirlwind of fucking guns and mayhem. But in Gears, I have to contend with idiots, cheaters, and all the goddamn eight-year-olds. The game fights
me. It keeps me from turning as fast as I want, from moving as smoothly. I'm not saying there won't be eight-year-olds (or younger) kicking my ass in Halo 3, and that I won't suck it up when it launches, but I think I stand a greater chance. I can't wait to toss Gears of War, toss it forever. Reason #1
- No "Party" System. I enjoy hearing CliffyB interviews and reading his blog, but he dropped the ball on this one. Why the hell is a game designed around team play not able to support pre-configured teams? That's not just counterintuitive, that's stupid. There are, granted, two types of play. Ranked and Player matches. While you can invite friends into Player matches and pretty much do what you want -- run the gamut of tomfoolery, if you will -- you still can't go team versus team without some quick banning. God forbid they actually support a game which has sold several million copies worldwide. Maybe Halo 3 will help them get off their masturbatory piles of money and listen to their fucking fans. At least Bungie still supports Halo 2 with patches every once in a while.
Would a Team Ranked Match option really be that hard to manufacture? I doubt it. I've heard Epic's reasons for not allowing teams, saying it breaks the "jump in and play" formula. Well, guess what guys, people still
manage to get their friends into ranked matches through some clever use of round duration, match number, and map. Do that math, that's effectively causing people to WORK AROUND your beautiful "jump in and play" mechanic. And when one side is familiar and the other side is a bunch of complete strangers, who do you think will win? Reason #2
- Cheaters and Glitches. Gears of War is possibly the buggiest game I've ever played. Even buggier than ET on the Jaguar. I'm sick of playing ranked matches with people who won't stop "Crab Walking." (For those who don't know, Crab Walking is a glitch that allows one to roadie run and shoot at the same time.) And I'm at the point where I'll leave if I get stuck to a wall and can't get off of it. I've also seen people "ninja flip" up onto higher areas that are usually inaccessible, or just leave the map and shoot in from behind walls. Glitches and Cheaters ruin
Ranked matches. I'm to the point where I don't even want to play Ranked matches for the chance that'll happen (and it happens very frequently).
There will probably be glitches in Halo 3, but I think the dedication and time the team has put into bug testing the game will come through in my favor.Reason #3
- Host Advantage. For some reason, Epic couldn't allow dedicated servers to take on Gears of War. I'd definitely rather be on server ping than have to deal with a douchebag with Host Advantage who thinks he just shit gold, being able to outshoot me. I've seen Host Advantage humble even the best Gears players. All I'm asking for is dedicated servers so we don't all bitch and moan about HA. And when everyone
bitches about HA, it's a problem, and not a game quirk.
(For those of you who do not know what Host Advantage is, let me explain. Because playing a ranked or Player match in Gears causes players to connect to a single other user, the game makes that player the "host" and other players with better connections to the host have split second advantages, such as shotgun kills, and what I can only call "advantage bullets" that seem to do more damage. You see, if you fire a weapon, but the host has advantage he can kill you before your bullets hit him, which causes your final shot to dissapear. This is sometimes called the "magic bullets" online. "Magically" they do no damage.)Reason #4
- Quitters and Idiots. I'm sick of quitters. Everyone hates them, but they permeate Gears of War ranked matches. Here's a scenario for you: I get in a match with 8 people in Escalation, but the last person decides to quit when the game starts, putting us down a man. Sometimes we can pull a victory from the jaws of defeat, but usually we just get eaten. It's really troublesome in longer (10 rounds or more) matches.
Idiots. They're everywhere. Again, I'm no prodigy of shotgunnery, but at least I can hold my own, talk strategies, and react. For some people, whether they're just incompetent or are playing with one hand, there's no "act." Some just run headlong into a quick death, but some (when I'm in a player match) like to team kill or act like asshats. There are plenty of asshats online, almost as many as there are idiots.Reason #5
- More guns. Halo 3 just has more guns. Better guns, bigger guns. I like the whole rock/paper/sissors thing with Lancer, Shotgun, Pistol, and I love the torque bow, the lancer-chainsaw-bayonet and hammer of dawn. I love the guns in Gears of War. The weaponry is the best reason to keep going back -- they're not only satsifying, they're iconic
. There just aren't enough of them. They nerfed the Hammerburst in favor of the Lancer, but the shotgun is still the #1 way to go.
I can't wait for Halo equipment, such as the bubble shield, and I have witnessed the awe that is the flare grenade. I've seen the flame thrower in action and it looks good. And then there's the gravity hammer, which I dream about weilding and unleashing on some unsuspecting dual-wielder.
Of course, Halo 3 also has four player co-op over live, which trumps Gears's otherwise amazing split-screen and jump-in co-op. There are other reasons I want Halo 3, but this is not about those reasons, this is a rant-list about the reasons I don't want Gears
anymore. I've heard a gamer online state "When Halo 3 comes out I'm going to break this goddamn disc. I can't wait." That's a direct quote. Aparently I'm not the only one who feels this way. I don't know if I'd go that far, maybe just sell it back to GameStop...
Perhaps Gears will regain some love after I've had my Halo 3 fill, but from the forecast, and the previews, I just can't see that happening.