Review by myles1890
"Epicness never looked so good."
When I first fired up my 360 and popped in Gears 2, I was anxious. Not because it was a game that won several awards, not because it had a massive online community, no...but because I was looking for the epicness it promised. And it delivered. Except one tiny...teensy weensy thing.
I'll review the game in sections, giving individual scores.
Obviously, Gears 2 delivers AMAZING graphics. When played even on a normal television, the textures literally pop out at you. The lighting is perfect in situations where it calls for it. The Locust look like underground dwelling loser bags, and the Gears look like steroid-using uber soldiers. The guns also have as much life as they ever could; the Lancer's barrel heats up when fired repeatedly, and my favorite, the Mortar...gawd, the Mortar!
Facial expressions during cutscenes are about as good as it gets. The mouths move realistically when the characters speak, muscles move in time, and the eyes have individual animations. I haven't seen facial work done like this since Half-Life 2!
The environments are amazingly beautiful. Lush forests, craggy mountains, and wet, drippy caverns are abound. Expect to be wowed when you start up this game.
When it comes to a game that has amazing graphics, one must think about how the gameplay suffers. Well...does it? No. Not in the least.
As in the first Gears, the cover system is in full effect. You NEED TO MASTER THIS TO SURVIVE. And that's why it's so cool. You press A to activate most of your actions, which might seem cumbersome, but Gears 2 streamlined it to a point where it's almost seamless. Individual actions like firing a weapon and zooming in are done with the trigger buttons, and it couldn't get any easier than that.
And the enemy AI in the campaign and multiplayer modes are astoundingly smart. When you reach on to the Hardcore difficulty, enemy AI acts almost human like when searching for cover and waiting for reload points.
And speaking of reloading, Gears 2 set up a great reload system: if you time it right when reloading any reloadable weapon, you get a damage boost for a few rounds of ammo. Neat!
Okay, I should just skip this. It's basic when it comes to customization in Gears 2: select a preferred human and Locust character, a preferred weapon, and start playing. Customizing the games isn't all that bad, but the lack of map variety when doing so is a tiny bit disappointing. Sorry to say, but I play Perfect Dark: Zero a little more because of it's sizable maps, and Halo 3 more because of it's character customization.
Get ready. Strap in your seat belts. Secure your fingers on the control sticks. It's movie time.
And I mean that literally. Gears' 2 has a campaign that will literally knock you out. From beginning to end, you'll be so enthralled in the story you'll wish you could skip the gameplay. I know I felt that way...
There is loss, gain, and emotion wrought throughout this story. Each character has a story, Marcus even more so, and each environment you go through has more than a side story to tell you. Even the collectibles offer a huge side mission with many tiny stories that tie in to the main one.
There's not much here but Xbox LIVE play. It's phenomenal, but they need to stop patching it. Geez, give the players some slack here! Horde mode is interesting and loads of fun, and the addition of bots for multiplayer sums up some empty spaces in our souls. The only other notable thing is the add-ons from Gears 1, like playable characters and different unlockables.
I will enjoy this game forever. I don't care what anyone says, though, but this is my opinion. Take it or leave it.
Oh, and good luck trying to get to Wave 50 on your own!
Reviewer's Rating: 4.5 - Outstanding
Originally Posted: 02/05/09
Game Release: Gears of War 2 (US, 11/07/08)
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