Review by Matty_G33

"If you're not fully stuck in the multiplayer of games, this may be for you!"

The first Gears of War game was successful, and Epic Games has decided to make a sequel of said game. This is it, and it's probably a title to hate or like, depending on your tastes.

Story: 7 out of 10

The game's story takes on after the first. The Locust Horde has survived and are back with bigger numbers, and now are attempting to sink the cities of the planet Sera. As usual, Marcus and Dom of Delta Squad are assigned to take them out as well as the entire COG Army, which gets sent down underground to do battle. The story is pretty typical and simple, but there's a bit of the usual twists and turns to compensate. Not hard to understand when you play the game's campaign, but of course, some bits can make you say "WTF?". Not much to say, but if I said more it will pretty much spoil it. Familiar faces from the last game also come back.

Gameplay: 9 out of 10

If you were thinking that this a FPS with you jumping around guns blazing with a lot of health to tank damage with and doing stuff like flipping jeeps and ripping off turrets, you're wrong. If you played a game of paintball, you would understand how this game works. Players are forced to take cover and do evasive maneuvers when needed. Otherwise, you will not last very long. As with other shooters however, you have regenerating health to make you last, but still no excuse to not take cover. When someone takes too much lead, they can be revived by a squad mate while crawling around for help, but depending on the weapon it could be a one-hit kill. Very interesting, fun, and a nice change of style if you're new to the series.

The weapons that can be gotten are diverse. For starters, you've got a selection of different pistols to pick from, and two machine guns. One has a chainsaw at the end that can result in very gory, instant kills, the other only does what it should do. There's a typical sniper rifle and rocket/grenade launcher, but has some interesting weapons like a crossbow that fires explosive bolts. A small selection of grenades as well, but this time around they can be stuck on to walls for traps, very convenient. I would like to mention more but that's just spoiling.

Gears of War 2 added in few other things, like Chainsaw Duels, and a few new multiplayer modes I will get around to later. Apart from those, they didn't add too much new content in. Now however, you can pick up a downed enemy as a meat shield while you use your pistol for combat. The new "Horde" feature pits you against 50 waves of enemies, with a friend split-screen or done with four others online, which progressively gets dramatically harder.

Controls: 9 out of 10

The controls for the game are neat, and if you played Gears 1, it's the same so it's no problem. A uses the cover and evasive actions, B melees and can activate the chainsaw, X is the action button, and Y views out points of interest in the campaign. Triggers are in charge of aiming and firing, bumpers check your squad status and reload. Joysticks do the usual task of movement, and finally, the D-Pad swaps weapons.

It's not hard to get used to, and it's got a good feel to it. If you don't like it, there is always some configurations you can make.

Graphics: 8 out of 10

The graphics are all pretty much eye-candy, from some of the more complex buildings to the gruesome chainsaw death animation. The thing is, some buildings may look, erm, bland, and that some stuff up close doesn't look that good unless it's a weapon, and most of the colours you see in game are grey and anything related to that, but I guess the later can be gotten away with because this is a war game anyway.

It should be noted that this game is very violent if it shouldn't have been more obvious. Heads burst when you get a headshot, enemies pour blood when they get shot, and you will be cutting Locust in half with your chainsaw and two piecing them with your shotgun.

Sounds: 8 out of 10

The music of the game is neatly done, suiting the right moments when something happens in the game. It's not something I'll go back to a place just to listen to it again, but it's pretty good. Sound effects are realistic, you can hear the bullets whizzing past your head and bouncing off when you're in cover, and can hear the "engrish" and angry breathing of the Locust occasionally, for some examples.

The other thing is that the voice acting is well done, suiting the character's looks and personality, most notably Marcus. The Drones have their own battle cries, and the bigger ones have one word to share before they use a heavy weapon to decimate you. Only reason why I gave this an eight is because of the shortage of hearing the environment in non-water based bits.

Multiplayer: 6 out of 10

Gears of War 2 comes with a number of game modes now, with the original's Warzone (kill off the enemy team in round segments) and Execution (same thing with limited killing rules), as well as the new ones. Guardian works similar to that of Assassination from Gears 1, but instead, the leader causes respawning for his team if he is alive. King of the Hill is obvious, Submission is Capture The Flag with an armed neutral bot to capture, Annex is when you secure a node to get points from it (and changes position at times), and Wingman is when it's teams of two face each other.

The good thing about multiplayer is playing offline with Bots when you don't have Xbox Live, unlike games such as Halo. The ugly is that multiplayer can be annoying online, the ranking system will make you drop your morale, and various other things make the original Gears of War preferable to most. Split-Screen action is also difficult.

Replayability: 8 out of 10

The campaign which takes a few hours, has an unlockable, difficult mode to score for another hard to get but neat achievement, and speaking of them, there's a lot of achievements to get to keep you busy. And also, there's always Horde Mode to play with people online. There are some collectibles to pick up too!

Rent or Buy?

If you liked the original Gears of War, or like a change of shooting game, then you'll probably like it. If you're obsessed with online multiplayer, then it's probably not your cup of tea and rent it to be safe to see if you like it at first.

Final Rating

The reason why I rated this a 7 out of 10 is because the multiplayer has it problems. However, the campaign is actually fun (in my opinion) to play, unlike some like Halo 3, and a lot of creativity was put into the game as well. Epic Failure or Epic Win, you decide, and really it's based on opinion.

Reviewer's Rating:   3.5 - Good

Originally Posted: 02/03/09

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

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