Gears of War 2 Review: Well Whaddaya Know?
It’s that time of year again. Gamers are among a slew of high quality games as the holiday season approaches. We’re infected with sequelitis around this time of the year; which is no different than last year, and the game at the top of most 360 owners must play list is the sequel to 2006’s epic release, “Gears of War 2.” The first “Gears” game really put the Xbox 360 on the map, and cemented its reputation as the console of choice for action/shooter games, but can the sequel follow it up with the same intensity?
“Gears of War 2″ brings us right back into the thick of things with Marcus Fenix and his trusted partner Dom. We quickly find out that the events from the first game hadn’t turned out quite like the humans had hoped, and they are now forced into a corner by the ever ferocious locusts. Humanity must now go on the offensive, if they don’t want to end up extinct.
First off, I must say that this game will feel ultimately familiar to anyone that played, and mastered, the original; feel free to jump right in, and skip the tutorial. But the folks at Epic realize that not everyone is a master of the “Curb Stomp,” and have lightened up a bit on the normal level of play. Seasoned players should go straight to the “Hardcore” difficulty setting for a challenge.
Right from the start of the game, the set pieces let you know that this isn’t the same old Gears. You’ll see hulking beasts way off in the distance, headed towards you and Delta squad.
The enemies in this game are far more varied than the first. All the great ghouls you saw in the first game, but didn’t get to fight, are ready to tear you a new one in “Gears 2.” The firefights are fast and hectic, and you really need to watch your partner’s back, or else you’ll get over-run by baddies that eat your bullets for lunch.
The one thing I don’t appreciate about the “Gears” series is the amount of ammunition you have to let off into a single enemy; I mean come on now, I’m packing a B.F.G.! I shouldn’t have to empty the whole clip to take down my foes; head-shots non-withstanding. Even though this mechanic does make you feel like you have to work for your progress. it’s still rather frustrating to have to deal with for every Locust that rears its’ ugly head. The stop-and-pop cover system of “Gears” functions really well, but I still gotta give it to “Rainbow Six: Vegas” for having mastered that mechanic back in ‘06.
You may have noticed I haven’t spoken about the online modes yet… true to form I will only stick to commenting on the single player experience. I believe that a game should be judged on how well it plays, in conjunction with the presentation, more than making note of X number of ways you can frag someone online. (Unless that’s the entire game, i.e. “Warhawk,” “Team Fortress”)
One of the biggest things that was missing in the first “Gears of War” was the emphasis on the game’s story. Well, I can’t honestly say that “Gears 2″ will win any Oscars, but it doesn’t really need to; you’re one of the last bastions of hope for your race, facing off against an unrelenting alien horde. What else needs to be said? Dom is having a nervous breakdown about his missing wife, and Marcus just wants to shoot shit. Like any action movie worth its’ salt, most of the dialogue is interrupted with an explosion, and some serious firepower. Keep it coming Cliffy!
Without giving too much away, know that this is a must own title for your Xbox 360 collection.
Back to the fight.