Review by crs420
"The next level???"
When I first played Gears of War 1, my mind was blown. I was amazed by the graphics and the unique gameplay. Sure it borrowed elements from other games, but the way it combined everything was defiinitely unlike any other game before it. I consider the first game to be one of my all time favorite games (which says alot because I've been gaming for a while). When Gears 2 was set to come out, the hype machine was in full effect. Not since GTA IV had I been so excited about a new game. Did it live up to the hype? read on....
The graphics are even more gorgeous than the first game. Somehow EPIC managed to add even more details to the characters and their environments. Occasionally textures may take a few extra seconds to load, which can be distracting. Once they do load, you automatically forget about the distraction because the game looks so damn good.
The gameplay is similar to the first game, with a few new additions that make the gameplay even deeper. New execution moves have been added, giving gameplay a new dimension. It is hard to resist running up to a downed enemy to execute them, even with tons of gunfire directed at you. The executions are that much fun that it almost makes it worth the risk of dying. Also new is the ability to plant grenades like proximity mines. This in itself adds another dimension to play as you need to be more cautious in pursuit of your prey. You can't just run in guns blazing anymore. Add to that a ton of new enemies requiring new strategies to defeat them, and the depth of gameplay is increased exponentially.
The sound is still top notch. The sound effects of someone's head popping off is still one of the most enjoyable sounds in all of gaming. The chainsaws rev fiercely, grenades have their distinct rattle as they hit the ground next to you, and the boom of the shotgun is almost enough to make you feel the recoil. The only gripe I had is that the sound doesn't seem to be quite as loud as it was in the previous game. I know this is a minor difference, but I hate having to crank my tv up even more just to be able to have the same volume as the previous game had.
The multiplayer in Gears2 has been improved in almost every single way. The weapons are more balanced. The new gameplay changes manifest themselves in the multiplayer modes and also serve to balance the gameplay out. As far as the actual game itself, it is damn near perfect. the problem arise in the multiplayer system itself. Gears 2 adopted the Halo style true skill matchmaking, which, while intended to be a good thing, actually hurts the game. For some reason, especially if searching alone, it can take upwards of 20-30 minutes to find a multiplayer match. This is enough to turn off all but the most hardcore Gears fans, and admittedly, it is even pushing it with them. The other major gripe is the playlist set up. Rather than just choosing what you want to play, you are given options to vote on, for example what gametype and map type to play. The majority of the time these votes result in a tie, which then results in the computer randomly picking an unknown choice that everyone is stuck with whether they like it or not. Its hard enough to get into a game, then once you find one having an undesired game mode or map shoved down your throat. While the actual gameplay is solid, the multiplayer system itself is extremely flawed to the point it could be a possible deal breaker. Not being able to find games is extremely frustrating. Like sitting in a ferrari with no gas.
This is one of those rare games in which the campaign is just as fun to play as the multiplayer (when it works). After the first time I beat the campaign, my immediate thought was to play through it again immediately....it's that good. The story elements leave far too many questions unresolved. They actually raise more questions than they answer. However, the fun of the experience is so great, like playing a huge summer blockbuster, that it looks to keep gamers busy for the long haul. The multiplayer is also an addicting trap and one can easily kill a day just playing it. Also the addition of horde mode, which is a multilayer co-op gears against the world mode, is insanely fun and should keep people glued to this for quite a while.
This game definitely deserves all the hype surrounding it. The gameplay is addicting and fun with tons of replayability. While Gears may not appeal to everyone since the style of gaming is so unique to the franchise and has a relatively high learning curve compared to other games, everyone owes it to themselves to try it out at least once. This game probably would have gotten a perfect review had it not been for the numerous hiccups with the multiplayer system. Hopefully EPIC comes up with a solution for these problems, but until then it is still an excellent game that I highly recommend.
Reviewer's Score: 9/10 | Originally Posted: 11/21/08
Game Release: Gears of War 2 (Limited Edition) (US, 11/07/08)
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