Gears of War 2
Here comes the grand daddy of them all for the Xbox 360 – the highly anticipated sequel to the 360 launch title, Gears of War. Ladies and gentlemen, I present Gears of War 2. As you probably already know, this game is a exclusive title to the Xbox 360. GoW2 has been hyped up for over 2 years, but does it make the cut to be a top shooter? Let’s find out.
Before saying anything else, the story is a huge step up from the original title. With a longer campaign, and a more interactive story line, there is no doubt in my mind that this game delivered in the offline-department. We all know though why Gears of War was a hit for the Xbox 360 originally, and that, is because of its unique, yet addicting multiplayer. In the original Gears of War, the matches were small with 4v4 games on various maps that felt quite different from one another. The thing that made Gears of War so special was that the main weapon in the game, the shotgun. Surprisingly, that was not what the developers at EPIC Games had intended, so they made a few changes for Gears of War 2.
Here comes some of the bad news for the hardcore Gears of War 1 players. The multiplayer has changed significantly from the first one. In GoW2, EPIC included a system which essentially stops power, which slows down the opponent if they are rushing at you if you are shooting at them. They planned for the original game focus on tactics, by communicating with your team mates and controlling the power weapons on the maps, which is like the gameplay of Halo 3. The developers also included a new starting weapon called the Hammerburst, which is the Locust-version of the COG Lancer. It is an automatic with a very slow rate of fire if you hold down the trigger, or you can tap the trigger as fast as you can so you can shoot faster, but there is the flipside of greater more recoil. The Hammerburst however sports a zoom-feature.
Now the new thing with Gears of War 2 is ‘Horde’. This is a 5-player co-operative mode where you and 4 other buddies try to survive multiple waves of increasingly harder Locusts. After every 10 waves, the Locust become stronger, harder to kill and their accuracy gets improves. You can get up to Wave 50 on 4 different difficulty levels so a challenge is always to be had. An added bonus is the ability to play this game mode on each of the numerous multiplayer maps.
Overall, this game did very well in sales, but EPIC needs to fix up the multiplayer if they want to keep up the popularity and following behind this game. It’s not just that the multiplayer is different than the first one’s however, it’s also the fact that this game was shipped out with many glitches and the matchmaking is very slow at some times. There are times where people have to wait over 30 minutes just to find a game. Luckily there are private matches with bots, but that does not make up for the experience you get facing real players. Title Update 2 was recently released to fix the majority of the bugs, but there are still ways to do some of the glitches that they patched up. Luckily, a TU3 is on its way and hopefully it will fix the remainder of the bugs/glitches and look at issue of slow matchmaking.
Gears of War 2 used TruSkill for its matchmaking and ranking systems. This is the same system used for Halo3’s multiplayer, but for some reason the matchmaking in Gears of War 2 is very slow compared to other games.
Call of Duty: World at War
One of the last big shooters than came out in the year 2008 was Call of Duty: World at War. This is the sequel to the amazing Call of Duty 4, which had an extraordinary multiplayer that revolutionized the shooter genre. CoD: WaW was made by Treyarch this time around, the same developers behind Call of Duty 3. You see, the franchise is split between two developers – Infinity Ward who were responsible for CoD4 and Treyarch responsible for CoD:WaW so, the next installment to the series will (and is) be developed by Infinity Ward.
This is the first time also in any Call of Duty that a cooperative campaign mode has been included. You and 3 of your friends can go through almost every mission in the single player campaign together. To boot, there is also a competitive scoring in the co-op mode, which can unlock a few achievements/trophies.
Another thing Treyarch added is Nazi Zombies. I personally think this is the best part about this game. Nazi Zombies is similar to Horde, where you fight of never ending waves of Nazi Zombies, trying to get to the highest wave you can. This little bonus is amazing, and very addicting.
Now we get into the core aspect of the Call of Duty series, the multiplayer. In my opinion, Call of Duty 4 changed the way people play shooters in many respects. Treyarch used the Call of Duty 4 engine in CoD: WaW for both the single player and multiplayer modes. This is identifiable as the multiplayer in CoD: WaW is almost identical to CoD4′s. It still has perks, custom classes, ranks, and prestiges but now, in WaW, there are usable vehicles for both campaign and multiplayer. I don’t really think this is really a negative thing, but I think the tanks need to be tuned down a bit because they are quite overpowered in my opinion.
Unfortunately, there are still some bad things about the multiplayer in this game. There still is no host migration, which should have been in CoD4, and also this game suffers from horrible hit-detection. I think the SMG’s need to be nerfed a bit because they feel quite overpowered and that lowers the usage of other weapons such as the machine guns and the bolt-action rifles. There are also a few things about the bolt-actions as well. With the bad hit detection, the bolt actions have a slight change of not registering so that means the enemy they are shooting at can just turn around and spray them to death, and also they need to kill dogs in 1 hit.
Other than a few other problems, this game is great. If they fix up some of the glitches to get under maps and such, and the problems like those I have listed above, this game is a keeper. DLC is on the horizon with new maps for WaW so that’s good news that Treyarch are not showing any signs of slowing down with the community when they ask for more content.