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Gears of War 2 review




  • Recommended by TR

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Gears of War 2
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  • Gears of War 2
  • Gears of War 2
  • Gears of War 2
  • Gears of War 2
  • Gears of War 2


Our Score:


The original Gears of War is two years old, but even today it stands up to pretty much any Xbox 360 game available. So visually stunning, and genuinely adrenaline fuelled was Gears, that it simply took console gaming to another level, while also confirming that Epic's Unreal Engine 3 didn't so much live up to the hype, but actually rose above it. With all this in mind, I have to say that I was a little nervous about the prospect of a sequel; after all, it's a rare thing for a truly great movie to spawn a good, let alone great sequel. However, I needn't have worried, because Epic has worked that kind of Irvin Kershner magic that every sequel strives for.

In fact Gears of War 2 plays out very much like Kershner's masterpiece, creating a world that's more real, more intense and far more dark than it was the first time around. The characters have been given more depth too, while the storyline is driven on significantly, and just as with Kershner's near perfect Star Wars sequel, important questions are explored and answered, but ultimately, you're left with new, far more compelling questions at the end of it. Yes, Epic has got that "difficult second album/movie/game" problem well and truly nailed. So, if you're wondering whether to buy Gears of War 2, I can wholeheartedly recommend that you do.

Of course many of you will want to know why I'm recommending this game so early on in the review, and the answer to that is easy. Much as I want you to read the next few pages, if you do so, that's time that could have been spent playing Gears 2, and that's a very real consideration, and one that shouldn't be taken lightly. But if you want reasons, I'll give them to you - in spades!

Visually, Gears 2 sets new standards, on the Xbox 360 or any other console for that matter. Believe me when I say that the screen shots don't do this game justice, and that it is simply breathtaking to look at - which, in itself is no mean feat, considering how great the first game looked. This time around though, Epic has been far more adventurous with the environment, with many scenes played out in external locations, complete with impressively long draw distances. In fact, even though much of the campaign takes place underground, the sheer scale of the caverns that you explore allows for the action to stretch far into the distance.


November 10, 2008, 7:22 am

"I'm not sure who thought that driving a tank over a frozen lake while the enemy fires missiles at the ice would be fun, but I can assure them that it's not."

First of all, I laughed out loud when I read this part! I could imagine your eyes rolling Riyad! And you shaking your head!

"It may not have the depth of >Fallout 3<, the emotional involvement of >Bioshock<, or the epic grandeur of >Fable II<, but if you're looking for a pure adrenaline rush on a truly massive scale, there's nothing better."

Second, are you trying to get me to buy a Xbox 360? :) Listing off some killer titles may just persuade me. That and the recent price cut make it so much more attractive than the PS3.

P.S. Yes I am aware of Little Big Planet, but I'm not paying $400 for a system! So don't bother mentioning it!

Matthew Bunton

November 10, 2008, 12:24 pm

The Horde mode on multiplayer alone makes this game first rate for me, factor in the other modes and the decent single player game and you have one of the best action games I have ever played.


November 10, 2008, 1:18 pm

Another vote for Horde. Was up till 2 last night and got to wave 27! Should be at work right now but I just woke up.


November 10, 2008, 2:37 pm

The original Gears of War had very limited gameplay mechanics: hide behind a wall, shoot, advance in a lumbering fashion, hide again, shoot. Yawn. Halo 3's a masterpiece in comparison, and that's being charitable. You were just wowed by the visuals of GoW, that's all, but there's no denying their baroque beauty, both in the original and its sequel. However, the textures in the game are "streamed" most of the time, I believe, so the developers have cheated a bit.


November 10, 2008, 5:16 pm

I have played and finished Gears of Wars 2, and believe you me, I have not played a game that immersive since Bioshock! And, in my personal opinion, I did not think the vehicle sections broke that immersion, oh no, I thought it got us much more involved. The only regret I have is that the game finished so quickly.

I would have to say that this game was, by far, the best game of 2008, I thought. Should have deserved a perfect 10 (since Little Big Planet had one despite the really dodgy controls that really affect the gameplay, I have to say that I bought LBP based on Trusted Reviews opinion although I was waiting for a demo to come out, wish I never had...)

Gavin Hamer

November 10, 2008, 5:27 pm

Oh, we're back to 'guess the format'. :-(

Geoff Richards

November 10, 2008, 5:30 pm

Gavin - it's an Xbox 360 exclusive but it's still probably worth saying so at the top as per usual. Point taken.


November 10, 2008, 7:22 pm

Played and finished gears, single player is great with the exception of most of the vehicle areas!

Multiplayer is even better than the original GOW with horde being the cherry on top, alot of people reporting matchmaking difficulties (me included) but a patch should be along soon.

All in all a top game and the single player is a real roller coaster ride.


November 10, 2008, 10:45 pm

Bah. I'd love to get a 360, the games catalogue is really rock solid... but I know I'd feel the 'need' to get an HDTV at the same time. Total cost of ownership... more than I can afford before Christmas!

Great review Riyad, many thanks.


November 10, 2008, 11:23 pm

Well i have had my XBOX since launch and only got a HDTV last month (Sony Bravia!) and it makes such a huge difference I wish I had taken the plunge a while ago.


November 10, 2008, 11:25 pm

Having the same problem matchmaking for horde. Agree with Riyaad though, you really need people you can count on to work as a team. Otherwise you've got no chance.


November 12, 2008, 3:35 pm

Probably about time there was some gamer tag swapping and some TR Horde action :)


November 12, 2008, 5:44 pm

Lol. I've had to start adding randoms so that I can invite people into the game instead of relying on the search. Only played the campaign on Gears and thought I'd do the same with this but the campaign has been forgotten for now until I complete wave 50.

Gamertag is also ravmania if anyone fancies a game!


November 17, 2008, 8:23 pm

Add Moi im Gande05


Matthew Bunton

November 23, 2008, 8:24 pm

You can add me too my tag is Righteous Angel I hit level 50 the other night did it with just the 2 of us it was very frantic.

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