Gears of War 2 Review

August 11, 2009 at 2:11 am | Posted in Reviews, Xbox 360 Reviews | Leave a comment
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Link to review

Are you there Marcus? Sera needs your help again…

Gears of War returns with its eagerly awaited sequel, quite possibly 2008’s most anticipated sequel. 6 months after past since the we last left the fight for survival and its time to take the battle closer to the Locust home, sacrifices will be made, new problems will be uncovered and is everything with the Locust underground as well as it seems?

Welcome back to the stage Marcus Fenix. From Act 1, Delta squad is thrown right back into the horde action, after the lightmass bomb had a lesser effect as planned, the Locust are pushing harder and faster, their attacks are less coordinated and predictable as before, but just as brutal and ruthless. Is something else going on deep in the Locust hollow? And will Dom finally find what he’s been fighting for?

Gears 2 takes us deeper into the fight for humanities survival, we’re also given a more Dom orientated sub plot following his search for Maria, his wife, with a moving, tear inducing twist, to really add character to Dom besides him being Marcus’ friend.

‘You take the big guy and Ill err…stand and watch…’

Sticking with tradition Gears 2 follows a story over 5 acts. These acts are a fair amount longer with more varied tasks. Much of the original gameplay is still there, just fine tweaked to ensure seamless movement throughout the maps.

Pretty much everything that wasn’t tweaked has been added to however. We see a series of more entertaining executions, weapons varying from new pistols, to heavy weapons like mortars and moves like being able to take a downed enemy as use their body as a shield.

All these extra abilities, whilst may have worried many from fear of it being too much is still as easy as ever. Most are assigned to the A button again, with the exception of the new executions which can be X, Y or B, depending on your preference.

All the weapons old and new have been revamped, new lights, sights and designs have been improved on making the weapons look that much better. The Hammerburst, a previously ignored 3 burst rifle has now been switched to a single shot assault rifle which fires only as slow as you can pull the trigger. The game also takes a page from Halo 3 introducing heavy weapons which your characters can lug around. Mortars and Mulchers will be your best friend in the fights with larger locust, but your worst enemy when your foes have them instead.

The game is as clear and crisp as Gears 1, but just a lot juicier, battlefields stretch out to the horizon, the characters look better and a lot more detailed, and the armor and body wear on everything has been greatly improved on so much so you wouldn’t believe until you compared shots.

Size is definitely everything in this comeback, whilst keeping tight areas for intense close combat, the game has a lot of wide open areas, not always areas that are accessible, but just to be able to look over and edge and see a whole background, alive with things happening really intensify the scale of the war going on.

One thing that’s definitely straight off the mark to notice is most of the weapons have been altered, some not as noticeable but some have distinct changes, having said that, they all still have that feeling of power behind them, making each shot even if it misses, count.

Also known from Gears 1 is the banter between Delta squad; this again appears here and adds to break off some occasional tension and to ease the mood with some of their comical phrases, great voice acting throughout.

‘One Chainsaws bad enough, but two? Man, you just greedy…’

Whilst the games 5 Acts are longer, it wont take a hardened veteran long to get through on the easier of the two difficulties. Hardcore and insane however will definitely have you pinned to a checkpoint for a long time, definitely time to call in the co-op buddies for those campaigns.

Multiplayer has plenty more to keep people entertained, with the new improved lobby system, allowing you to take your teams through different game modes easily. Not to mention the new modes including Meatflag and Wingman.

Playing with your friends has become a lot easier with Gears 2, with a simple click of the LB button on the menus you can bring up a menu showing your entire friends list online and currently playing Gears 2, telling you exactly what they’re doing. From here, you can invite or join their matches making jumping from lobbies with friends so much easier.

‘And in the left corner, Dellllllltaaaaaaaa…’

With all the new lobbies and being able to bring your friends online also brings a slight problem. Match making. Many of you remember matchmaking from games like Halo 3 and remember the wait you and your friends may have had when trying to find a team to play, 5-10 minutes, on a good day. Unfortunately this follows suit, however we can’t greatly dent the online shine for this as it’s possibly an easy fix for a later patch.

Also online people will immediately notice the guns have been tweaked in order to allow a more fair playing experience, whilst many may complain, the battlefield is a lot less shotgun orientated which is a great thing to see, this encourages more team work rather than a team of lone soldiers with a powerful weapon.

If the campaign co-op and endless lists of multiplayer game types aren’t enough, there’s still the Horde mode to work through. Take on 50 waves of grueling locust in a multiplayer map, teamwork is key to make it through the relentless attacks. This game mode is one of the most fun modes I’ve played in a long time, taking myself and 4 other friends into fights amongst the Locust can get very intense when ammos running low and your finding yourself pinned, you can have some great moments.

The achievements this time round are less focused around ranked matches, and more encourage exploring what the game has to offer online and offline, whether it be getting all 41 collectables or inching slowly to the killer ‘Seriously 2.0’ of getting 100,000 kills collective throughout all game modes! The game also has an achievement tracker which pops up when you’ve done something which adds onto your progress for a certain achievement. Something very useful for those high counters cheevs.

A sequel Epic definitely should be proud of, being this the main ‘arc’ in the story it definitely leaves a hell of a lot of questions, some raised in G2, and some remaining from Gears 1. A game not only for the Gears fans but those still to come. Gears of War 2, definitely the game to watch out for this Christmas season!


Published by: Microsoft
Developed by: Epic Games
Release Date: November 7, 2008 (UK)
Genre: Third-Person Shooter


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