Review by CMoon

"An excellent and underrated shooter"

Capcom has been good enough to bless us with three fantastic Dreamcast releases in the month of May, two of which met with immediate critical praise (Mars Matrix and Project justice), while the third has not been so quick to earn a positive reputation. This is unfortunate since it is as solid as the other two, and worthy of high rankings in several areas.

-Gameplay 10/10: In contrast to other reviews (notably EGM's), I found GW2 immensely playable. Complaints abound such as shots being unavoidable, too much chaos on the screen, blah blah blah. If you take time to get into this game you'll find (just like Mars Matrix) there are places you use your reflect shield and places you don't. A little practice will reveal that you don't even need to pull out your bombs until the fourth level.

The movement of the ships are incredibly smooth and the controls ultra responsive. It is true that there is lag in the game however this occurs mostly when you are in the process of blowing the crap out of EVERYTHING on the screen, not when you are in the midst of dodging bullets. This is fundamentally different than the lag in G Darius for the PSX that practically ground the game to a halt. The slowdown here works to the game's advantage, and does not at all hinder game play.

I disagree with other reviewers about the ships being too homogenous. The ships DO move at different speeds--Romi's for instance moves incredibly fast while Kart's is very slow but shots cover a good chunk of the screen so speed isn't an issue. Limi's ships which seems the worst also packs one helluva punch with her secondary weapon (watch how fast bosses go down in flames!)

-Story 7/10: I'm not sure how to rate this one, since shooters in general don't have great plots. I actually enjoy the one presented here, mostly involving the destruction of 'the ark', which seems suspiciously like The Ark of the Covenant, but is a different ark. Don't expect to be blown away, but do any of these games have good stories?

GW2 also features different story lines depending on which character you play, however this is not terribly significant as the story will be the same with similar endings. More important though is the ability to chose one of two endings--a happy ending and one where a good chunk of the Giga Wings die.

Incidentally, the cut scenes can be skipped by pressing 'B', a point missed by previous reviewers. It is true that you can eventually 'unlock' an ability to turn these off, but Capcom has foreseen your need to not read these by simply touching the B button.

-Visual Presentation 10/10: Giga Wing 2 is the best looking shooter to date--especially if you get a chance to play this through an S-video connection. I have not had any of the difficulty reported elsewhere of problems seeing incoming fire THROUGH my own shots, and while the backgrounds may at first be distracting, they are so gorgeous it is hard to say anything bad about them. The ship designs are novel and really couldn't have been done on the older systems.

-Audio 10/10: Again, I'm stuck saying this has one of the best soundtracks I've heard for a shooter. Mars Matrix has a great techno soundtrack, but it doesn't really evoke the same cinematic feel that GW2 does. This is one of those rare games I'd be happy to buy the soundtrack for.

-Replayability 8/10: One of the biggest problems that has faced a lot of Capcom games is their tendency to include infinite continues, and the subsequent bashing by players because they cheat their way through the game and say its too short. Capcom's beautiful Strider 2 got absolutely raked because lamers who might NEVER acquire the skill to truly master the game went ahead and cheated their way though. In GW2, this really shouldn't be an issue since even a marginally skilled player OUGHT to be able to beat it without continues set to the easiest level, however, being a short game anyway (around 25 minutes) has once again driven players to only play through once and discard it. Strangely, the MUCH harder Mars Matrix which uses even MORE random fire, MORE homogenous ships, an equally short game and inferior graphics to boot (though I love 'em!), gets critical praise because players have to spend hours and hours unlocking infinite continues so they can beat the game. So really you need to consider whether or not you are the kind of player who is going to limit yourself, continuously working on your game, or if you are instead an 'unlock oriented' player. If you are the latter, this game is not for you. For the former, you will find a lot of strategy to uncover, especially through the score attack mode where you can perfect your game, learning how to beat levels without bombs.

Secondly, GW2 is the first four-player shooter I know of, and while confusing at times, it is an absolute blast. I would probably have given GW2 a 7/10 in replayability due to the lack of things to unlock (a gallery), but the ability to turn GW2 into a party game makes it an absolute MUST OWN. Another interesting point is that the game does slow down any more than it does in one player mode which I found as a real surprise. So bring your whole family over and shoot up the ark!

-Buy or Rent: Again, this depends on if you are a shooter fan. If you are not, you probably wouldn't rent it anyway. If you are, there is no excuse at $20 to not own this. Yes, it is a short game, but so is cannon spike, power stone 2, mars matrix, project justice, the list goes on and on.

Final score 9/10

Reviewer's Rating:   4.5 - Outstanding

Originally Posted: 05/26/01, Updated 05/26/01

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