Gears of War 2 User Review
- Just Right
- Time Spent:
- 20 to 40 Hours
- The Bottom Line:
- "Worth the wait"
The story of Gears of War 2 continues a few months after Gears of War. The Locust have returned and they can sink cities now rather then just pop out of their little emergence holes. Meanwhile as the world continues to teeter on closer to it's end, Dom is still looking for his wife Maria. While all this is happening new questions emerge about the Locust's intentions and the whole game takes off from there. The plot to say it without spoilers is much better then the first game. Unlike the first, the plot is actually important to the game this time around and you feel a much closer relationship with the characters. There are some overdone moments but other then that the story stays on track and as promised can be a bit heavy at times. It's a welcome change and I really enjoyed it. The game does ask a lot of questions though but it doesn't do it in a frustrating manner. You know the answers will all come in Gears of War 3. It's not like Halo 2 at all where all you get is 'Sir...Finishing the fight". Gears of War 2 advances well, and ends well and it manages to set up a sequel without a cliffhanger.
As far as gameplay goes many of the core gameplay elements from the first remain. You still take cover and you still can blindfire and peek out. Now there are new strategies though. You can set up proximity mines or use one of the new heavy weapons to defeat the locust onslaught. In the first game these heavy weapons would be redundant since you never really went again big enemies but in Gears of War 2 you'll be seeing more reavers, brumaks, and bloodmounts then you can wave a stick at. The new heavy weapons are welcome additions and they are a blast to use; especially the mortar. There are also new other weapons such as the Gorgon Pistol which are welcome additions to.
Other new gameplay elements include the chainsaw duel, the meatshield, and the new execution system which all add to the brutal nature of the game. They are perfect fits into the universe and it's nice to see brand new executions. The Campaign as a whole is a lot more varied then in the first. Without spoiling anything you won't just be advancing from city to city like in the first game. You'll be going through many different locales all of which are a lot of fun and refreshing. There are also a few on the rails sequences which are a lot of fun and some great driving missions. The driving missions are far better then in the first and the vehicles control quite well but they can be a bit loose to control at first.
The Campaign is much better this time around as a whole. It feels far more epic and it has far more cinematic moments. It feels like you're in a huge war and the game advances like a thrilling action movie. The Campaign as a whole is easier this time around as well. On hardcore I found it pretty easy, much easier then I found hardcore in the first Gears of War. There are some parts though where difficulty can spike but luckily thanks to the drop in and drop out co-op you can bring a buddy in to help you out. Like the first game, the co-op is excellent and not much has changed. The game seems built for co-op and it's a lot more fun to play with a friend. Sadly you can't have four player co-op but that is fine. It wouldn't work anyway with the way the missions are structured.
Another new mode introduced is Horde which is excellent. Horde is a lot of fun with good friends and private horde matches can last forever...The fun is endless and it has become the most popular online mode in the game. It is possibly the best new addition. With strangers it is a lot of fun too but if they don't communicate it can hamper the experience. Luckily most of us have a few friends on Xbox Live who are willing to jump in to play some Horde, that is the way it was intended either way.
All Horde basically is is just a arcade mode where 50 waves of enemies come after you. The first 10 waves are unique and after that it just repeats the same 10 in a cycle but with different perks to that cycle of 10 every time. The game is very challenging even on casual and people will be coming back to it again and again to try to beat it on Veteran just to get a spot on that leaderboard.
The versus mode has also been revamped. A new matchmaking system has been put into place that matches people by their skill. This system is brand new at this time and at launch it was painfully slow. Today, playing it was pretty good and I got into matches quite fast. The times have been getting better and better and I expect this problem to disappear with time. Online is a lot of fun and the new modes are great. Old favorites make a return and so do the old maps but the new maps are solid and I enjoy some of the new game modes like Wingman and King of the Hill. Overall the online has been improved for the better though some might lament at the nerfing of the chainsaw.
Gears of War looks much better then the first one. The environments like I said are far more varied and colourful and the textures all appear sharper. The art style of the game is gorgeous and there are many night lighting effects. Lighting took a big leap in this game as there are many neat particle effects and shadow effects created in the game. They really made a huge leap in this game but to see it you gotta play it.
As far as sound goes the game is much better. The lancer now sounds appropriate. Whereas in the first one it sounded kind of weak, in this one it sounds more like an assault rifle. The chainsaw is also higher pitched which I enjoy. The screams and gore sounds are appropriately disturbing and the sound effects as a whole were improved. Voice work has also become much better but the actor playing Dominic Santiago tends to overact. The Cole-Train and Baird though are as funny as ever and Marcus Fenix is great. Those catchphrases never get out of my head...The score is also excellent and it is quite 'epic'. It was perfect and gave the game a much more cinematic feel.
Overall Gears of War 2 is a game anyone with an Xbox 360 should experience. It won't change anyones mind concerning the series but for fans of the original this game is well worth buying. It has an amazing value and the game features a far better single player campaign which is worth playing through again and again. The online modes will be populated for years to come as well. Gears of War 2 is a marked improvement over the original and I highly recommend it.
Pros: Visually far more appealing, Artistic Design is improved, Great voice acting, Far more epic campaign with a much improved storyline, Great characters, great sound effects, improved online mode, same awesome co-op, For the horde?
Cons: Matchmaking can be painfully slow during peak times, some visual bugs in the online mode, sometimes they pick the laggiest guy in the match to be host.
Overall: As Marcus would say, "Niiiiiiice"
January 11th 2009: The matchmaking times are still painfully slow, for this reason I have downed the score to an 8.5. The games incessant online glitches have also caused me to do so. Here's hoping they get fixed and Gears of War 2 can go back to it's AAA status.
More User Reviews
- Downloadable Game
- Player Reviews: 1,100
- Game Universe:
- Gears of War (X360, PC),
- Gears of War 3 (X360),
- Gears of War Triple Pack (X360),
- Gears of War 2: Game of the Year Edition (X360),
- Gears of War 2 (X360),
- Gears of War 3: Horde Command Pack (X360),
- Gears of War 2: All Fronts Collection (X360),
- Gears of War 3: Fenix Rising Map Pack (X360),
- Gears of War: Judgment (X360),
- Gears of War: Judgment - Call to Arms (X360)
- Offline Modes:
Competitive, Cooperative, Team Oriented
- Online Modes:
Competitive, Cooperative, Team Oriented
- Number of Players:
- Number of Online Players:
10 Players Online