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Gears of War 2 XBox 360 Review - -

Gameplay 9.3
Graphics 9.4
Sound 9.0
Value 9.3
Distributor: Microsoft
Review Date:
November 2008
John Spark


Gears of War 2

Marcus Fenix and the Delta Squad return in Gears of War 2 which goes beyond the original game and brings gamers a truly immersive gaming experience as they battle the nightmarish Locust Horde.

Although the original game was a truly epic experience, the sequel ups the ante with improved gameplay, graphics and story which will become a staple diet game for the 360.

An impressive feature of Gears of War 2 is that the best parts of the original game such as the hectic and fast gameplay still remains, however the developers have flushed out the characters in the game and included a variety of new characters which goes a long way in the story telling experience.

Match that with some impressive multiplayer options with four new modes, 10 new maps and up to ten players instead of 8 and Gears War 2 is worth every penny. Definitely cool!

For those who have never experienced the joys of Gears of War, the title in essence is a third person shooter with basic squad mechanics and is set in the distant future where mankind has finally colonised space.

Unfortunately for man, the inhabitants of this planet had other ideas and this colonised planet was decimated by the Locust Horde. Fortunately for those remaining inhabitants, a small group of soldiers in the Delta Squad team turned the tides of war but peace was short lived.

In Gears of War 2, the story takes place six months after the victorious win of the Delta Squad, however the human survivors are once again up against the Locust Horde and a deadly disease called Rust Lung.

What sets Gears of War 2 apart from its predecessor is the storyline which contains drama, romance and action which nicely sets the pace of this amazing game.

Although the gameplay is quite reminiscent of the previous game, the developers have added a few new twists to game which include new weapons, an improved cover system and best of all, the ability for your comrades to heal you and your fallen teammates.

In relation to healing, if one of your squad is down, you can now rush to their aid which allows for some adrenaline pumping gameplay. As you use the environment to assist you in completing the missions, the developers have thrown in a variety of new weapons which now include a flamethrower and nothing is more satisfying than burning your enemies to a crisp.

There are even some heavy duty weapons which I do not want to spoil here but as you play, the urgency does increase as do some of the weapons which become available.

The AI of the title has also been improved and even though the first was a truly war-like experience, the sequel is like being in the midst of a deadly battle. The violence of the original game still remains, however there are now new ways of defeating your foes through some special maneuvers such as punching your enemies to death or the meat shield which allows you to grab your foes as shields. Thankfully the chainsaw returns which of course gives you some deadly ways to slice and dice the Locust Horde.

The missions in the game are quite varied and entertainingly diverse which uses a variety of means to complete the level and of course vehicles. With that said, the game takes around 10 hours to successfully complete, however once you have finished the game, why not try to finish it with a friend or try again on a higher difficulty as the game is that entertaining that another time around will be equally enjoyable.

The campaign mode has been tweaked in Gears of War 2 which features new difficulty levels for two players as the first game was quite easy with two players, however now the game gives the players a real challenge.

Online play features all the original gameplay modes from the original game that include Warzone, Execution, Assassination, Annex and even the PC's version of King of the Hill. Match that with three new gameplay modes that include Submission, Guardian, Wingman and Horde.

Submission is a variant of the capture the flag, however gamers must carry the "civilian" who is also armed which makes for interesting gameplay. Guardian is a team-based death match that requires the players to keep their "leader" alive, however regular players can respawn and is quite faced past.

Lastly there is Wingman which is a team-based death match and allows you and a partner to work together as they attempt to eliminate their foes. Horde is my favourite multiplayer options which allows a team of players to fight an almost unending line of enemies, however if one player survives, they can all move onto the next level. As you progress, so do the enemies which makes this such an entertaining gameplay model.

Graphically, I was not sure how they could top the original, however the developers have added a variety of new special effects that makes the game world even more realistic.

The gaming environments are not as claustophic and feature larger levels. Match that with a kick ass soundtrack and some of the best voice acting on the XBox 360... and of course the guttural sounds of the Locust Horde and the futuristic weapons and this is probably one of the best looking and best sounding games on the console.

In conclusion, Gears of War 2 is truly an epic game that goes beyond its predecessor and offers gamers another truly outstanding gaming experience. Could we say Perfect? Well.. almost but if you enjoyed the original game, you will definitely enjoy the sequel and if you are a lover of science fiction games with a healthy dose of action than this may be the game for you.

At the end of the day, Gears of War 2 is one of the best games that I have played all year.



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