Bigger, better, and more badass. That is what Cliff Bleszinski promised the world with his sequel to the Xbox 360′s smash hit Gears of War. Does he deliver on his promises? Well in all three accounts, I would have to say a resounding YES!
Bigger is definitely a word I would use when describing Gears of War 2. The scale of the game has grown considerably since the sequel. No longer are you stuck navigating the small cramped scenery of Gears 1. Now you fight on everything from the top of a COG derrick as it drives through a mountain range, to the wide open caverns of the Locust hollow. The vistas are jawdropping with so many little textures and details to make the game really come out of your screen. From the Razor Hail to the Avalanche that sweeps through a particular multiplayer level the game never lets up on just how gorgeous it is. This game is an absolute treat for anyone with a HD TV. That being said there are a couple of things that make the graphics look not so great, mainly the horrible texture pop-in thanks to the Unreal Engine 3. This problem occurs almost every time you load a new environment for the first time, like when you first start up a multiplayer map, it only takes a few seconds to fix itself but it is still very noticeable.
Bigger is also a good descriptor for the game itself. Housing three different modes for players to spend time in. The single player campaign is a roller coaster ride of awesome, even if the story isn’t the greatest thing ever written. The multiplayer can provide days of entertainment for a group of friends looking to rip each other in half with their chainsaws. There is one big problem with multiplayer right now and that’s matchmaking. Sometimes you can find games instantly, other times it takes ten minutes and you still dont get in a game. This could be fixed with a patch and some network tweaking but as of right now it’s not very good, although bots do help alleviate the pain of not being able to play with other people. Finally Horde is one of the best additions to the game. The biggest comparison to this can be drawn to Terrorist Hunt in Rainbow Six Vegas. You start out on any one of the 10 new multiplayer maps (you get five more classic maps remade if you buy the game new so don’t go cheap and buy it used) and you fight wave after wave of increasingly difficult to kill locusts. There are 50 waves to battle through with 4 different difficulties to try them on.
The enemies you fight also received quite the size upgrade. Reavers are back and deadlier than ever now landing in the middle of massive firefights and wreaking havoc with missiles and machine guns. Boomers now have multiple types for Delta squad to contend with. From Maulers to Butchers to Grinders, these big baddies take multiple rounds to kill and can really do some damage if left unchecked. The new Kantus enemy can revive those “down but not out” enemies that are crawling on their knees. The only real problem I have with the enemies are the difficulties which can be a bit easy through the campaign for people who are good at shooters.
Better is a word applicable to almost every aspect of the game. To the tighter than ever control scheme, to the revamped multiplayer (no more shotgun rolling thank god!), even the graphics which looked unbeatable in the first game have seen enough of an improvement to be noticeably better , every little bit of Gears of War 2 has been paid a lot of attention and care to. This is a game you will be going back to months after it’s release just because of how well it plays.
Finally more badass. This game lives up to that moniker no question. The chainsaw is back and better than ever with the new chainsaw dueling mechanic. More weapons that all feel really well made and fit in the game are included. From the Mortar that rains death on enemies up to 150 meters away to the Scorcher that burns enemies close to you, all the weapons feel really responsive and, well…badass.
So all in all this game is a very good purchase this year. If your looking for a good triple A shooter to take up some of your time this holiday season there is none I can recommend higher than Gears of War 2. Although the story is a bit on the weak side and there can be some obvious graphical glitches this is still a game worth your time and money. So grease up your chainsaws and get ready to saw through some locust scum because it’s going to be a fun ride you never want to end.
This game has some of the best graphics ever with only one real graphical problem.
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The "stop and pop" gameplay has never felt so good.
The sound is very well done with very unique sound effects for some of the enemies.
Making your way through the campaign, horde, and the ever replayable multplayer will make sure this game stays in your disc drive for quite a while.
The issues with matchmaking and the weak story bring the game down a little bit but the game is still more than enough bang for your buck.