Review by DrPepper23x

"Beware: side effects include boredom and high blood pressure."

Gears 2 is the highly-awaited sequel to one of the most popular multiplayer games for the Xbox 360. A game which won tons of awards and still has a large community 3 years later. This is Gears 1 I'm talking about. This is fun.

Gears 2, which has had 3 years to be made, and was hyped up to crazy proportions, honestly fails to deliver.
The game lacks...well, fun.

CAMPAIGN:
The campaign is long enough by today's standards, clocking in about 15 hours, give or take. You can play in coop with 1 other guy (which was supposed to be with 3 other friends) and is very....weird.

There is a story about the main character, Marcus Fenix, 's friend named Dom, who's trying to find his wife. This however, ends rather soon and turns into a trainwreck afterwards. There are mentions of the Marcus's dad being more involved than he ever thought, but ends up going nowhere. There are strange, God of War type boss battles with a giant fish, or a Locust who has a Chainsaw Staff (pulling the gimmick further...) but ultimately ends up not being fun.

The AI is still pretty garbage, both on the teammate and enemy's sides. The chainsaw is still being pushed by Epic to be their best selling point, and is used throughout for ridiculous reasons, like cutting pathways, cutting organs, (!!!) and other silly things.

Ultimately, it could be fun for a rental to beat with your brother or a friend over Live, but there's not any incentive to play through it again, besides Achievements.

SOUND:

Good, I guess. That is, if you like constant, pointless 1 liners. The characters still talk with vague answers and stupid jokes, instead of just answering questions. The guns sound fine though. The Lancer sounds more powerful and shotgun is still a monster. The music was fine, good for the situations, but not memorable enough to want to get a soundtrack. No problems here.

GRAPHICS:
As much as I don't like things about Gears 2, the graphics aren't really one of them. The caverns look amazing, the character designs are more detailed, and the textures are great, as well as gun designs.

However, a major flaw, in my opinion, is the use of more..."bubblegum pop Halo" type graphics, meaning more bright and colorful colors than ever were in Gears 1. This is an apocalytic type world which has been ravaged by war! Gears of War 1 got this right, with the main colors being blacks, greys, and some desert-oranges. Gears 2 is just a little too bright to get that feeling from, but oh well.

CONTROLS:
Fine, no problems here. The cover system hasn't been changed, and the ease-of-use for it is still the best on the market.

MULTIPLAYER:
This is why this game ultimately fails to deliver fun. Oh god, where to begin?

Let's start with the botched matchmaking. It can take up to 15 minutes to find a match if you're searching by yourself. That's stupid, plain and simple. Then you're thrown onto a team which, 9 times out of 10, has COMPLETELY unfair teams, with rank 50's and 70's on one team, and the 1's - 20's on the other, sometime not even having both sides filled, starting with 5 versus 3 or 4.

Then it's a lag-fest, with sometimes up to 5 seconds of bullet lag and your character vaulting invisible objects. It seems the game picks the guy with the worst connection living in Czechoslovakia to be the host. Said guy then runs around murdering everyone. Players will be quitting/dropping like flies, and before you know it, the game's over.

Most matches always start with everyone throwing their smokes at each other, and chainsawing them while they're stunned/cringing/down. The shotgun was supposed to be toned down from Gears 1, but still remains just as prominent, only completely random. Oftentimes, it seems the shotgun does more damage the further you are away. Point blank shots can mysteriously miss, and the cries of "That's ********!" ensue.

It literally feels (and this is coming from not only myself, but hundreds of fellow gamers) like a beta version of the game. It just doesn't feel completed. Something is just...off about it, and everything feels more sluggish and weighed down somehow.

All in all, it's a car crash that's been plowed into by a tractor trailer. There is more frustration than fun, and the players are still just as hateful as ever.

The only positive thing to say about the multiplayer is Horde mode, which in itself is only somewhat entertaining for a few minutes; just testament to how bad the multiplayer is if this is the only good thing, eh?
This mode lets you kill increasingly larger waves of AI opponents with 4 other guys. Nothing bad to say here, except this concept means that getting to wave 50 can take up to 2 or 3 hours. :O

CONCLUSION:
All in all, there's really no reason to play this, since there is barely any fun. The frustration you'll gather from the completely horrible online mode is not worth the time or stress, and the campaign is not good, but not bad, just gimmick-infested.

There are many better titles to play for shooting-action. There are other games which can deliver excitement, but also give you things other than a broken controller or high blood pressure.

Please, just keep in mind that this is the kind of game you'll want to rent. It's been sitting on my shelf for ages, collecting dust, until today when I popped it back in ( and downloaded the 4th update. FOURTH! What game needs 4 updates under 1 year!?! It's broken!) and still barely had any fun. It was only made worthwhile because I played with a friend, but it got boring about less than an hour in.

Just beware of this game. The hype may have promised this and that, but it only got...well, nothing. Confusing gameplay decisions and too many glitches to count, this is the kind of game that would have a low budget, but didn't. Just a failed attempt by EPIC which has made many not want to get the 3rd game.


Reviewer's Score: 6/10 | Originally Posted: 11/10/08, Updated 07/15/09

Game Release: Gears of War 2 (Limited Edition) (US, 11/07/08)


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