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Gears of War 2 - Gears of War 2

By Riyad Emeran

Reviewed:

Summary

Our Score:

9

I met Cliff Bleszinski last month, and he was keen to point out that the campaign mode of Gears 2 is longer than the first game, and having stayed up until 5am to finish the game I can testify to that. The storyline is arguably even more compelling than the original game though, driving you on from one adrenaline fuelled fire fight to the next. Dom is still looking for his lost wife, Marcus still has father issues and the true nature of the locusts, and their need to conquer the surface of the planet comes to light. Like all great second chapters, Gears 2 sets the scene for the third release perfectly, but unlike the woefully short Halo 2 campaign, you don't feel short changed at the end.

Bleszinski also assured me the Dom wouldn't be quite so useless this time around, and again, he wasn't lying. Not only does Dom not just wander around getting killed, and thus making you fail your mission, he has now become a genuinely useful NPC. There were many points throughout the campaign that Dom came to my rescue and revived me when I was down, thus saving me the frustration of having to reload my last checkpoint and play through a chunk of the level again. Dom's new found intelligence is coupled with a far greater role in the story too, with Marcus agreeing to go off mission, in order to help Dom find Maria.

Of course if you really want Dom to show some intelligence, you can get one of your friends to play his part. In Gears 2, you can play through the entire campaign in co-op mode, either using split screen, over a LAN or via Xbox Live. And because co-op mode allows a drop in/drop out model, you can fire up a game and then have someone join you over Live at any point. Playing co-op makes the already fantastic campaign even better, and Epic has made sure that there's plenty of opportunity to employ some proper team work. There are several points in the game where Marcus and Dom split up, but rather than taking separate, unrelated paths, these instances usually involve one player having to cover/backup/clear the way for the other.

Since I've touched on the multiplayer side of Gears 2 I'll carry on by saying that once again this sequel has bettered its predecessor. And considering how much fun the multiplayer side of Gears was, that's another impressive achievement. Once again, Epic has strived to improve and innovate and now the multiplayer matches can have up to ten players, instead of eight. Of course there's the usual team deathmatch and capture the flag type scenarios, but Wingman is probably the most original - players team up in pairs and strive to wipe out the other pairs, while ensuring that they look after their partner or "wingman".

But for me, the real highlight of the multiplayer line up is Horde. I really can see myself rounding up a few mates online (yes I do mean you, Hugo and Andy) and playing this until the early hours of the morning. In Horde five Human players are pitted against wave after wave of locusts, with each wave getting progressively harder. There are 50 waves to get through, and once you make it into double figures, things start to get pretty tough. Although five total strangers can have a lot of fun playing Horde, you really do need to work like a team to survive the later waves, which means a group of players who know each other will definitely have the edge.

Wackywavinginflateablearmflail

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.

rav

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.

eyepopper

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.

Wilfried

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.

Keldon

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.

GherkingTR

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.

Keldon

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.

rav

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.

Riyad

November 12, 2008, 3:35 pm

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

rav

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!

Gande

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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