Review by TheStealthMan
A work of art turned to a lump of clay.
My biggest question after beating Gears of War 2 was, "What the heck happened to this game?". But that was a bit of a rhetorical question, as I know exactly what happened to it, and why it rather sucks compared to its predecessor.
Gameplay: I'm going to be honest here. The gameplay wasn't god awful, but it was really nothing worth mentioning, especially since it was the "sequel we were all waiting for". First let me touch on the mechanics: they are all pretty much the same. You run, shoot, dodge bullets, kill your opponents, etc, just like Gears 1. Though a couple of flaws really stick out in GoW2. The weapons seem to have all downgraded, namely the shotgun. After having its firing speed, accuracy and power reduced, it has become probably the worst weapon in the game. The other guns aren't much better. They fire slower, and have slightly altered graphics, which in my opinion suck and weren't needed. While we're on the subject of weapons, I was also probably most disappointed by one change: the lancer chainsaw. Chainsawwing in this game just seems less satisfying compared to Gears 1. Call me a gore-loving maniac, but I preferred when the enemies actually reacted shockingly to being cut in half. In this game they just kinda stand there and take it. We do have new weapons as well, but most of them aren't really notable.
Another thing to note about the gameplay is the online aspects. It still can be played over Live, but uhh... not as well as we remember. First of all it has a copied Halo 3 style of game matching. You sit in a lobby and wait endlessly for player slots to fill up before the game can even start. Then you get to choose which type of game and map you want through a series of voting. So you want to play an Execution game? Well let's hope the other players vote on it! And other reviewers may tell you that the game has lost it's "fast paced action". Well I will tell you, they are 100% correct. The guns are slower, as aforementioned. And as far as combat goes, it just seems less adrenaline-pumping than it used to be.
Story: If you played the first Gears of War, you'll probably remember what's going on. Locust are invading the human's planet, killing, plundering, etc. Yeah well the story continues like that in this game, but now the humans are on the offensive, rather than playing defense. When you first start up the campaign you'll probably enjoy it, because it'll be just like you remembered from Gears 1. You're defending a building from a Locust ambush and then ordered to take the fight to the Locust in their own home. Yeah well after all that the story just gets kinda boring. You meet the new characters, who include a wimpier version of Carmine, a drunken cowboy, and a tattooed mohawked indian, nobody really special. Through the whole story you have Dom endlessly searching and raging for his wife, and Marcus doing research on his father. I won't spoil anything, but the ending was very anti-climactic.
Graphics: They weren't bad, I'll give them that. I actually didn't mind the game being a bit brighter than it was in Gears 1, though the multiplayer maps seem a little out of the Gears theme.
Sound: Not bad either. Though I'm not too fond of the new gunshot sounds, and I preferred the voice acting in Gears 1 more. Some of the things your squad mates said when they were downed were kind of creative and funny, but now all you hear is "REVIVE ME!!".
Summary: I could go on and on about my complaints on this sequel. Though I still enjoy playing it somewhat, the game was just kind of a big disappointment. Gears of War I loved playing. I could sit there for hours playing it, but Gears 2 just... has lost its touch. Some things Epic should have just left alone, in my opinion. Is it the worst game in the world? No. Is it the sequel we have all been anticipating? Absolutely not. They should have put in some more thought and touched up the game some more before releasing it. My advice is to try before you buy, because you may be satisfied or you may just want to snap the disk in half. Happy Locust hunting... I guess.
Rating: 2.5 - Playable
Product Release: Gears of War 2 (US, 11/07/08)
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