Gears of War 2 (Xbox 360) review
"If you played Gears of War 1, then you pretty much know what to expect from Gears of War 2, but more so. "
If you played Gears of War 1, then you pretty much know what to expect from Gears of War 2, but more so.
There are some game play mechanics that have changed from the 1st iteration. For instance, the Smoke Grenade now acts like a concussion grenade. All 3 grenades (the Smoke, Poison Ink, and Frag) can be utilized as a proximity mine where you attach it to a wall or floor, blowing up whenever an enemy gets too close. The Sniper Rifle no longer insta-downs someone with an Active Reload. The Chainsaw Bayonet now goes into a mini-game whenever you lock chainsaws with an opponent. The Shotgun has been tweaked to spread a little wider, and you're now better off aiming as compared to blind firing with it like GoW1. A welcome feature is being able to use your downed foe as a meatshield where they take damage (as long as their body holds up) while you are mostly protected.
That being said, you now have some new things added into the weapons like the Flamethrower, which pours liquid napalm on your opponents. The Shield is excellent to prevent from being overrun as it protects you from everything from a Boomshot to grenades. The Gorgon Pistol fires several shots at once, but has a higher reload time than other pistols. The Poison Ink Grenade releases poison gas that unless you get out of the area quickly will down and then kill you. A favorite tactic is to put a Smoke and Poison Ink grenade close together so that the person sets off both at the same time, stunning the person while the poison gas kills them. If done properly, you can kill several opponents with this tactic.
The storyline....leaves something to be desired, which is too bad because there was some real potential here with Dom's wife coming up missing. Instead that part of the story seems forced, or added on at the last minute. It wasn't added on at the last minute, which makes the shoddy job Epic did on it that much sadder. This had the makings of a real tear-jerker, but instead it feels awkward. Another thing that bothers me is the main storyline isn't much better. It's not bad, per se, but I'm really expected to suspend disbelief long enough for Dom and Marcus to make it all the way down to the Locust Queen's hidden lair deep below the surface where they just couldn't "find" it until now? I'm as willing to go along with a story as the next guy, but c'mon! Part of the problem is Epic cutting a section of the storyline out called Dark Corners, which details Dom and Marcus's trip down below. Dark Corners is soon-to-be released DLC that has Marcus and Dom disguising themselves as Locusts to sneak into the Locust stronghold, which would've made more sense than them shooting their way in. Luckily, you can drag a friend along for the ruckass during online Co-Op, which is a mode that more and more games are making available these days (and intelligently so).
Now that I've talked about the story, let's talk about the graphics. I really can't tell a difference between Gears 1 and Gears 2 graphics. This isn't necessarily a bad thing because Gears 1 had graphics that were to die for, and Gears 2 is just as good. You still see the blood and gore splatter convincingly all over the ground from a grenade blowing an enemy up or a chainsaw ripping them in two. Basically, if you liked the graphics in GoW1, you'll like them in GoW2.
The sound effects are top notch. When someone is running up behind you, you can HEAR them coming up behind you. If you're paying attention, this'll save your life! It may only give you a moment's notice, but that's all it takes. The music is okay, but you don't play a game like this for its orchestral masterpieces.
Now comes the real gem of this game.....the online multiplayer. A welcome addition to the online multiplayer component is that if someone drops, that person gets replaced by a Bot character. The Bot isn't as smart as you are, but they don't miss, and can be quite tenacious. In some instances, the Bot will have more Kills than some of the live players on your team! Another welcome addition is Ranks. The more you play public matches, the higher rank you get. You start out at 1 and can work your way up to 100 where instead of a rank you'll have a little symbol by your name to let everyone know what they're up against. If you drop a match, your experience gets penalized for it. You can actually level down if you drop enough times.
The large number of maps that you can play in GoW2 will keep you happy for a long time. So far they've released 3 map packs along with the maps that can with the game. There's the 10 maps that come with the game, there's the 5 Flashback maps, the 3 Combustible maps, and the Snowblind maps. Phew! That's a lot of maps.
The gametypes are as varied as Warzone (think Team Deathmatch), Execution (like Team Deathmatch, but you must execute the person by either performing an Execution or shooting them in the head), Submission (basically CTF, but the Flag is a person...that shoots at you! Formerly known as Meatflag, but was too controversial), Wingman (2 vs. 2), Guardian (think V.I.P. on Halo 3 where you must protect the Leader), King of the Hill (self-explanatory), and Annex (which is like a moving King of the Hill match), and finally Horde mode were you have wave after endless wave of Locust come after you until you all either die or reach Wave 50. Horde mode forces everyone to work together, and is more enjoyable to the less competitive player who just wants to enjoy themselves without worrying about stealing somene's kill or getting the highest body count. The enemies in Horde get tougher as the game progresses, so you either work as a team or you die as a Lone Wolf.
Replay value: 10 out of 10 for replay value. In a day and age where a game (even a crappy one) can cost you 60 bones, and an equally-as-crappy 2 hour movie for two will cost you at least $20, not including snacks which can run you up to $40 total for the whole shabang, you'll definitely get your money's worth out of this game. With the high number of maps, and good amount of different game types you'll be playing this one until Gears of War 3 comes out. Can you say you'd get this kind of replay out of that movie you bought at Wal-Mart? Didn't think so. BUY THIS GAME.
OVERALL SCORE: 9.5 OUT OF 10.
The game isn't perfect (see the comments about the story), but it's extremely fun, and the replay value is very high. Are you still reading? Go out and buy this game!
Community review by ManOWarr (June 22, 2009)
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