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Gears of War 2 - Gears of War 2

By Riyad Emeran



  • Recommended by TR
Gears of War 2


Our Score:


But it's not just how far into the distance that the world is rendered, it's also the level of detail that Epic has created in that world. The textures and lighting are both of the highest quality, and I found myself questioning how Epic managed to squeeze so much out of the Xbox 360 on several occasions. It's the amount of action going on that really shows how accomplished Epic has become on Microsoft's hardware though. I've never seen so many enemies, so many bullets flying, so many missiles launching and so many explosions going on at once in a console game. The highlight comes towards the end of the campaign where you're riding a massive locust beast (a Brumak), and blasting anything in your path. At any one time during this section there are literally scores of enemy troops firing at you, as well as Reavers flying around, launching missiles at you. Not only does this section of the game look amazing, but it also plays superbly, without a hint of slowdown or pop up.

And to make things even harder on the poor Xbox 360, Epic has thrown environmental damage into Gears 2 as well. So as well as all those troops, missiles, bullets, Reavers and other creatures to worry about, the physics engine is also having to calculate how all this carnage is damaging the environment, then that damage has to be rendered. To say that Gears 2 is a technical accomplishment is a serious understatement!

That environmental damage really adds to the gameplay too. As in the original game, working with cover is the key to survival - running headlong into enemy troops will result in short, sharp death. But whereas in the first game, you knew that you were safe as long as you stayed behind cover, this time around, that cover can literally be blown to pieces. Thankfully you can do the same to your enemies, so if you know there's a locust hiding behind a concrete block, you can literally shoot the corner off it and get a clear headshot. The more powerful the weapon, the more damage it can do to the environment, and the more likely it is to be able to shoot your enemies even when they're behind cover.

You get new weapons to play with too, with my personal favourite being the flame thrower - when you've got wretches coming at you from all angles, there's nothing like a bit fire to thin the herd. Obviously the flame thrower is a close range weapon, but there are a couple of great long range affairs thrown in too, like the wall mountable minigun and the mortar. The latter is particularly useful when you've got a host of locusts hiding behind cover - get your range right and you'll be raining down pain on all your foes. The new weapons just enhance the need to get your weapon tactics right, with only two slots at your disposal, along with your pistol and grenades. Making sure that you have the right tool for the job takes a lot of forethought.


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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