Review by khyuma_04

"Some marked improvements to the campaign....."

This game is the second outing for the Gears of War franchise. It does not offer any drastic changes from the previous installment but is still a great game. If you did not like the first game there is nothing in here that will change your mind about the franchise.

Gameplay: 8/10

If you have already played Gears of War 1 you will know what to expect in terms of game play. In Gears of War it is all about taking cover to avoid enemy fire, the animations have been brushed up a bit and now you have more objects to take cover behind. The essence of the game play has been largely unchanged with a few minor additions such as chainsaw duels. These occur when two players rev the chainsaw and approach each other, this triggers the chainsaw duel to commence. Whoever manages to press the B button the most in the allotted time, wins the duel. Chainsaw duels are a lot more prevalent in multi-player since the majority of enemies in the campaign are taken out from a distance.

Now onto the multi-player portion of the game, the teams have been increased by one payer on each side making it now five on five. The multi-player has been re-hauled, no longer is the shotgun overpowered like in the Gears of War 1 which was an annoyance when you were killed with one shot. A one shot kill is still possible with the shotgun but requires you to be close to the enemy and to fire in the right place, so one shot kills are less common. The lancer has been improved and is now the dominant weapon used by most players on-line. Stopping power which is a new game play element has been added to stop roadie runners in their tracks. With this you can shoot some one to stop them advancing which helps battle against shotgun users.

However one problem with the lancer is that the chainsaw is broken, when someone has their chainsaw revved it is much harder to prevent them from getting close to you and killing you. In the previous game shooting someone who their chainsaw revved nearly always staggered them, but this is not apparent in this game. In Gears 2 when you are downed you are able to slowly crawl around, this is useful when you are downed by someone from a distance because you are able to get to cover until on of your team-mates revive you.

There have been some new multiplayer modes but the most significant addition is horde. This places you amongst four other players over Xbox Live to face off against A.I. controlled Locusts. In total there are 50 hordes, you start off at level one and work your way up with each one getting harder as you progress. Surviving all 50 hordes isn't an easy feat especially at higher difficulties. This mode is very entertaining since it encourages teamwork.

There campaign mode can be played cooperatively over Xbox Live with a friend which helps when trying to tackle the more difficult modes. The campaign is brilliant and is possibly the best aspect if the game. The length of the campaign will vary in accordance to the difficult you are playing on but will usually last around 8-12 hours.

Story: 6/10

The first game was never praised for its story, and the same can be said of Gears of War 2. Gears of War 2 takes place six years after the events of Gears of War 1. You meet a cast of new interesting characters but some just seem stereotypical. It is obvious a lot more effort has gone into the story and is an improvement over the original Gears. The story largely revolves around Dom whom is in search for his wife Maria, this storyline as well as some of the dialogue can bee seen as tacked on at times.

Graphics: 9/10

The graphics are near identical to Gears of War 1 but that is not a necessarily bad thing as they are still very good looking. The graphics look stunning as the game moves from each scene to the next. A noticeable difference in the graphics is the backdrop in certain scenes and the increase in the amount enemies on screen. It may look impressive when there are 50 Locust on screen but they are always seen from a far distance and have low textures. It seems like EPIC have pushed the Xbox to its limit in terms of graphics, this game really does showcase what the 360 is capable of.

Sound: 8/10

The sounds are on point and give each gun a different feel. Head shots or chain sawing through Locust is gruesomely satisfying due to the nature of the sound. The music in the game is appropriate and does not really affect the whole experience.

Overall score: 8/10

If you are buying this just for the campaign mode I would recommend against it and suggest you save yourself some money and rent it. If you like the multi-player on Gears, it will keep you occupied for a long time.

Reviewer's Rating:   4.0 - Great

Originally Posted: 12/04/08, Updated 01/04/10

Game Release: Gears of War 2 (EU, 11/07/08)

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