Review by AceOfSpades22
"As someone who didn't LOVE the first one, I LOVE Gears 2 in nearly every way."
Let me start off by saying that I have played the original Gears of War extensively, and though I thought it was a decent game, it was decent at best. I had a strong, negative opinion on the multiplayer, which let a really sour taste in my mouth. Another thing it gave me was doubt. It gave me doubt about its sequel Gears of War 2. Well, after completing the singleplayer campaign and using up many well spent hours on the multiplayer, I've come to the easy conclusion that all those doubts have been put to rest. This game shines in nearly every fashion. On a visual level, on a dramatic level and also, purely on a strong gameplay.
I'll start out with a bold claim and say that Gears of War 2 may possibly just be the most beautiful game ever created, on any system. I'm not going to go on about the 'graphics vs. gameplay' argument, but in this case, GoW2 could not nearly be any bit the same without such amazing visual design. I was floored the minute I began my campaign. This feeling would stay with me for the duration as I would constantly stop and look around at the captivating environments. I appreciate so much, how much effort the developers put into the environments and characters. I will also note that you really haven't played this game until you've played it on a large, flat screen TV, preferably an HD (this is coming from someone who has played this game on a range of TVs).
I won't at all go into the gameplay other than the changes made from GoW1. It is a heated argument over the changes made in the multiplayer, but like I said before, I didn't 'love' GoW1 for some of the gameplay issues in multiplayer and I can say that I really like the changes. I like to say 'Gears 2, feels like brand new' when I refer to the multiplayer. The overpowered shotgun from the first, for example, has been nerfed in a big way. Though I think it may have been a tad too much, it really, really helps as you hardly see those 'random-shotgun-luck-fest' kills where two enemies are walking around in circles trying to blast each other with the shotgun. With this addition, the lancer has been improved in damage and now has stopping power to slow down opponents, there are now several new weapons in your arsenal, you can now grab downed enemies and use their bodies as meat-shields as well as using actual shields. There are several new maps which are decent for the most part, but some are unbalanced. This time around, you can also play with bots in multiplayer mode, which unfortunately, even on insane, let's just say not the brightest. With these, there are many other changes in the gameplay to make the experience better, and horde mode is a blast.
In terms of campaign, the gameplay just feels much more engaging. The story and visuals draw you in more than the its predecessor, and you'll feel immersed the entire time.
The campaign this time around is much longer, though you'll still probably beat it within the first few days of your purchase, if you so choose. The offline multiplayer now has bots and horde, both of which are great additions, though the bots won't keep you interested for a long time as they're often very unintelligible. Horde mode is competitive as well as difficult, and will last a long time. The much improved online will last, with any luck, for months and months, or possibly years (so long as they fix the match-making system). There are also more reasons to go back to the campaign again such as to find all the collectibles saved to your 'war journal'.
All in all, this is one of the best games on the Xbox 360, and one of the best games that I have ever played. It is leaps and bounds ahead of the original. All of its flaws are minor or opinion based. That is why I give this game a perfect 10/10 and on my 'must-have' list.
Reviewer's Score: 10/10 | Originally Posted: 11/13/08
Game Release: Gears of War 2 (US, 11/07/08)
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