Review by whiskers27
"Bigger and Better?"
In November 2006 Epic games released Gears of War, a revolutionary third person shooter. It was considered the Xbox 360's flagship game upon release and some credit Gears of War as the game which gave Xbox the fast start it had in sales. The game featured an original and interesting campaign with very memorable characters and an outstanding online mode which was the first game to knock Halo 2 off the number 1 spot as the most played Xbox Live game. Now it's two years later and it's sequel time. The game has been constantly budded "Bigger and Better" by the games developers and expectations were high, boasting a longer, deeper campaign and an online mode that featured matchmaking and seven different modes, a big improvement on the four last time out. But has the two years helped Gears of War?
This section is hard to rate because the game performs brilliantly in some areas but is a let down in others, for example the new snap to cover system is a great idea and is well implemented to make sure you don't throw yourself behind a pillar when you're fleeing, another good idea is the way that once you have been "downed" (Sustained enough damage to fall to the floor) you can crawl towards a comrade who can then revive you, this works well in multiplayer but is also implemented suprisingly well in campaign with the A.I normally coming over fast to help you up. There was a lot of talk about a system where if you were "downed" and you were holding grenades you could detonate them in a COD4 style explosion but being downed when you have grenades in you hand is normally rare and in reality it's just another missed opportunity.
The game sees lot's of new weapons added, keeping to the "Bigger and Better" mantra, these include a mortar, a flamethrower, a poison grenade and a new pistol. The classic weapons have had an upheaval too, with the shotgun generally being slower and weaker than the original Gears of War, the Lancer is now more powerful and you have the ability to enter into a "Duel" with an enemy who is also wielding the chainsaw attachment, this is where both members furiously mash B to overpower their opponent and cut them in half. Whilst some of these changes are welcome many have complained about the weakening of the shotgun which is largely considered the purist's weapon and for those who have more skill, this has lead too many gamers saying Gears of War has become a game that no longer takes skill to win. There are also many glitches which are regularly used online, this is the main factor which brings down this sections mark, because no-one wants to get killed by someone hitting you through a wall.
Story/Campaign Mode: 9/10
Fans were promised a deeper story for Gears 2 and they got one, whilst the story itself isn't exactly worthy of a book it is old excellently, either by beautiful cinematic cutscenes or collectables which are scattered throughout the games various levels. The campaign itself is now alot longer and there is another difficulty level added which has been dubbed "Girlfriend Friendly" for the very fact that it is exceptionally easy. The levels vary from driving through huge forests on a rig and exploring abandoned warehouses in the rain.
Graphics/ Sound: 10/10
The original Gears was particually famous for it's superior graphics and this game is no exception the game consistantly looks beautiful whether you're outside or in and most of the sounds are new making the game sound meatier, louder and chunkier. This is the reason I gave this section a 10
The original Gears was an experiance like no other on Xbox Live and fans were hoping for more of the same in the sequel, unfortunately fans will most probably be dissapointed for the reasons I mentioned in Gameplay. But if you are new to this game you'll probably find the Live play very enjoyable. Unfortunately the matchmaking is extremely slow at finding games so you might want to take a book and hope there is a patch to help this out.
I think this game is a good buy if you are a fan of third person shooters and with that you get an immense game with breathtaking graphics and a cinematic campaign to die for.
Reviewer's Rating: 4.5 - Outstanding
Originally Posted: 03/02/09
Game Release: Gears of War 2 (Limited Edition) (EU, 11/07/08)
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