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Exactly two years after its predecessor's release, Gears of War 2 was unleashed upon the gaming world. Amongst Halo-esque hype, Epic Games promised their sequel to one of Xbox 360's most successful titles would be "bigger, better and more badass". Did they deliver? The answer is a resounding yes.
Gears of War 2 takes place six months after the events of the original Gears. The Lightmass bomb that Marcus Fenix and Delta Squad detonated was not the successful strike against the Locust they had hoped for. The war between COG soldiers and the Locust Horde is quite literally tearing the planet Sera apart. The Locust is sinking entire cities and has set their sites on the last human stronghold, Jacintha. Humankind and their civilization are on the verge of extinction. The war cannot continue, and so, with one last united push, the humans decide the only option left is to go on the offensive and strike at the Locust heart underground. Marcus Fenix, Dominic Santiago and thousands of others begin this last desperate act for hope and life. This truly is war.
One of the weaker elements plaguing the first Gears of War along with countless other action shooters is the story. The narrative of Delta Squad and the Locust War definitely has some unique facets, but nothing is really fleshed out and fully developed. Given its jaw dropping action and graphics, few seemed to care at the time of its release.
For the sequel, gamers wanted a deeper story with more character development. Who, and why were these COG soldiers on the forefront of this fight, and who or what was the catalyst that caused Emergence Day. In scope and scale, the story in Gears of War 2 is bigger in every way from the original. That does not necessarily mean that there is "more" story per se. I found few questions from Gears of War answered, and even more questions were posed during the new campaign.
The increased depth of story and character development comes through the tones and atmosphere portrayed throughout each Act. No longer is Delta Squad fighting alone in abandoned courtyards and backstreets. They are fighting alongside hundreds of fellow soldiers in a common cause. Desperation hangs thick over their heads as this is their one last shot at ending this war. You're surrounded by battles claiming the lives of friends and allies. You're rescuing comrades, or being rescued. Gears of War 2 truly feels as if the world around you is at war, and Marcus and his squad are part of something bigger.
One significant story that runs parallel to Marcus's role in this war is that of Dom's search for his missing wife Maria. For the life of me, I can't remember any mention of her in Gears of War, but this added storyline for Dom puts a compelling human touch on the characters and the war. We realize Marcus, Dom and Delta are not merely mindless brutes, but humans fighting for something. The outcome for this side story is actually one of the more emotionally poignant scenes in recent video game memory, all highlighted by an amazing score piece.
At first glance, it is easy to dismiss Gears of War 2's graphics as more of the same considering it is using the identical Unreal 3 engine now over two-years old. After ten minutes or less, there is little doubt Gears of War 2's visual aesthetics are not only vastly superior to the original game, but set a new bar for high definition gaming graphics on consoles as well.
The first notable difference is in the color palette. The Gears palette is no lo
It takes a talented developer to make a truly outstanding game. It takes a more talented one to make an even better sequel. So when websites began to state that “Gears of War 2” would simply be “more of the same”, some people may have felt disappointed, and yes “Gears of War 2” is more of the same. Now add in the fact that the original “Gears of War” is one of the five best games I've ever played, and “more of the same” suddenly doesn't seem like such a bad thing. So now let's also add that “Gears of War 2” demolishes the original in every single aspect, and what are you left with? I don't think there's a word yet to describe it.
“Gears of War 2” begins several months after the events of the first. The Delta squad lead by Marcus Fenix struck a crucial blow to the Locust horde by detonating the light-mass bomb in their underground networks. Yet now the Locust are back and they've brought something with them that is capable of sinking entire cities into the planet. With their backs against the wall humanity launches a last ditch effort to end the war by burrowing into the planet's surface and taking the fight directly to the Locust. “Gears of War 2” puts a much heavier emphasis on story telling than the original did. The result pays off in grand fashion mixing in equal parts of grandiose and personal themes. There's plenty of compelling secrets revealed about the mysterious Locust horde and their origins, which only compelled me to play more.
As mentioned the core gameplay is more of the same, but everything has been enhanced. The weapons are more effective, the enemy and partner A.I. is more aggressive and the cover system is more responsive. Just as in the original you will again need to be taking cover, peeking out to take your shots before ducking back down again. The cover system feels tighter this time around and you won't find yourself sticking behind objects you weren't intending to utilize. The biggest and best new addition is the ability to grab wounded enemies and use them as a “meat shield”. This might not seem like a noteworthy addition but I cannot even begin to count how many times I have used this to escape a tight spot. Epic Games has also included “stopping power” to its firearms. No longer can players effortlessly run through a hail of bullets towards cover; now, every bullet that hits not only slows your character down but also staggers him. This helps make the game far more strategic and forces players to take things slowly instead of rushing every opposition. The grenades have also been given a hefty facelift. A new “ink” grenade has been added that explodes into a ball of poisonous gas. The previously useless smoke grenades now not only emit smoke but knock any nearby enemies off their feet. Grenades can also be stuck to walls and used as proximity mines for approaching enemies, an invaluable tool in keeping foes from sneaking up behind you in large rooms.
This game still plays like the first Gears, except with a wider array of weapons and features (ie, chainsaw battles, different modes of executing a downed enemy). This is a third person shooter, for those who have not played the first one. And also, expect a lot of blood and violence, so if you are parents considering this game for your children, this serves as fair warning.
The campaign takes longer to beat this time around (10-20h I think). The graphics are very beautiful and realistic, and a lot more 'vibrant'. The first Gears was in general a very dark and gloomy game. You see a lot more color in this one. Co-op campaign gameplay continues to be addictive and I think a strength in this game. It is still as immersive an experience for all players involved as the first Gears was.
Further, the creators definitely outdid themselves in design of the levels. You should expect to be pleasantly surprised with every single level that comes up. While you can clearly expect to see yourself running around in the streets battling waves after waves of Locust, you will also see another order of magnitude of fighting, with sometimes even as many as 80-100 Locust rushing through your field of view. To emphasize the creativity of the creators, there was also, at various points later in the game (spoiler warning), a section where you had to traverse a pitch-black tunnel to safely escort a vehicle across, and even a level where your squad somehow ends up inside one of the Locust beasts and had to fight your way out...
Overall, this game has been quite an experience. It deserves an A+ and Game of the Year awards.
Given that this game promised to have more leads on the storyline of the series than the first one, it does a better job. A lot of the early story is centered around Dom and him trying to find his wife, amidst all the fighting. The voice acting is compelling for the most part, and you can tell a lot more easily that it's a dark time for humanity on this fictional planet. In the first Gears, playing through the story was mostly humorous because of the way all the guys were joking around in between fight scenes and the light talk that went on. In this Gears, there's a lot more of a sense of urgency. And cutscenes are well made.
Finally, instead of COG tags for collection, we have bits and pieces of 'collectibles' like newspaper clippings, ads, so on and so forth that in some cases contribute to the backstory a little bit, kind of like the way those terminals worked in Halo 3. All of these, when found, are put in some scrapbook that's accessible from the Main Menu, and arranged in a more or less logical order.
The reason the story only gets a B+: if you think about games like BioShock and Mass Effect and the Halo series with their very immersive storylines, GoW 2 is still not quite there. But it is closer to that state now than it was previously.
I won't reveal any more in this part, but definitely expect a lot more of a plot that serves as a backdrop to all the fighting that's going on. Epic Games did a good job of piquing your interest and making you want to learn more.
Overall a very good game. A+
Gears 2 is a bit different from Gears 1, and it features a lot of gameplay changes and nifty new tricks to make it an all-around excellent game for anyone who like its prequel.
I'll put the important stuff at the beginning for those who don't feel like reading a lot. In order of decreasing importance, here's what's new.
-Gears 2 has a longer campaign and an actual plot. Gears 1 had a respectable campaign and a tiny plot. I nearly cried at a couple of parts in Gears 2.
-Now when you get knocked down, you can crawl around. Believe me, this is a huge deal!
-Multiplayer isn't all about snipers and shotguns anymore. Mid-ranged combat is a viable and important part of the game now for all skill levels.
-The campaign involves more allies, more enemies, more enemy types, gigantic bosses, and more over-the-top ridiculous action sequences. Now it feels like there's an actual war going on.
-Large support weapons like miniguns and mortars have been added.
-Grenades can be planted like proximity mines. Smoke grenades now stun, also. A gas grenade has been added.
-Players can play with bots or with the awesome new "Horde" game mode where players must survive waves of attacking locust NPCs.
-Old weapons have been changed and rebalanced while a few new ones have been added. The biggest difference is that the locust hammerburst assault rifle has been revamped and made into a powerful mid-long range weapon.
-Players can protect themselves by picking up shields or downed enemies.
-Environments are now more destroyable. Cover becomes a little less useful as it gets chewed up by bullets and explosions.
-Chainsaw "ties" become dramatic-looking duels. Whoever can spam a button fastest wins.
-Players in co-op mode can each select their own difficulty level.
-The campaign involves driving some vehicles that are a bit more useful than the stupid buggy from Gears 1. These parts are actually fun.
So, just like you may have suspected, Gears 2 is just like Gears 1 but with a few changes. Campaign battles are bigger, crazier, and feel more like an actual "war."
If you really loved the first Gears, you can stop reading here and go get Gears 2.
There are no boss fights quite like the one from Gears 1 where you face an enemy who just won't die. There are several more like the Corpser and Berzerker battles where the player must do some sequence events. I personally don't care for these, but they are so over the top and entertaining that I can still enjoy them even if the gameplay aspect is weak.
The "normal" battles between boss fights are the highlight of this game. In Gears 1, firefights typically restricted motion that wasn't simply forwards or backwards and it often felt like you had to work your way down a hallway. Gears 2 involves much more wide-open battles. The enemy AI shines in these situations because the locust work together. They'll distract you while their buddies sneak around the back, or they'll lay down cover fire while they try to surround you and overwhelm you with superior numbers. They bail out friends in trouble, and they charge your hurt or isolated allies when they have superior numbers. Lone locusts play conservative, hide a lot, and either try to escape or wait till you pass to take you out from behind.
The game also has situations where splitting up with your squad is now optional.
Anyway, Gears 2 isn't revolutionary, but it takes the strengths from its prequel, builds on them, and adds a little extra.
Gears 2 does a wonderful job of differentiating its levels and keeping things as fresh as possible without ever deviating from what we all love about Gears. There are vehicular levels, each with its own mode of transport; there are also ice levels, water levels and even one that goes out of its way to show off the new meat physics. Despite all that, seeing the lair of the Locust is the level that takes the cake. The color palette changes throughout, the gameplay stays varied and it's made all the better by the fact that the campaign is a good two or three hours longer than the original's.
I've always been a DIEHARD COD fan, but WAW just doesnt do it for me like COD 4 did ( which i'd still be playing if the servers didnt suck so bad)... Which is why I, as well as my friends have switched over to Gears 2, the game play is great, the graphics & Fluid controls have made this game an excellent improvement over the original. I have noticed the controls and movements are now much more refined in comparison to gears 1.
HORDE VS. N-Zombies.... Horde is more fun by an unfathomable ammount... WAW's NZ game is so single faceted it gets boring quickly, Horde has so many different options, 50 levels ontop of maps, different enemies and varying difficulty.. I would buy this game just for HORDE. If your stuck between gears and WAW... Definitely buy Gears... Don't expect me to put W.A.W. down anytime soon though. (even if it is another darn WWII shooter).
Gears of War 2 builds upon the gameplay of the first title in every way. First, the scope of the action is bigger: new characters, more weapons, nastier enemies, bigger vehicles, and grander locales offer more action, more emotion, and more thrills. Next, every major aspect of the game has been refined to create heightened, more immersive experiences. Finally, the overall tone of Gears of War 2 is more badass: replete with new weapon-specific executions, chainsaw duels, and shocking boss fights. Gears of War 2 raises the graphics bar for next-generation games through its breathtaking visual effects, which are made possible through advances in Unreal Engine 3. New visual effects include ambient occlusion, dynamic shadows, improved character lighting, the ability to render hundreds of on-screen characters simultaneously, improved water physics, additional blood and bullet decals, advanced destructible environments, new weather effects, and the introduction of fluid objects. When combined with the sweeping vistas and evocative locales in the world of Sera where the Gears of War 2 story unfolds, these additions help make this the most gorgeous game available this generation. Gears of War 2 continues to push deep, immersive storytelling in video games to greater heights. Humanity's epic battle for survival is felt on both the personal and epic levels as you explore multiple story arcs that introduce new characters and flesh out the histories of familiar ones. A new in-game conversational camera system also helps bring the compelling story to life in a cinematic fashion. [Microsoft]
Portions of this review are by Metacritic.com
Gears of War 2 is different. I mean some will tell you the game is essentially Gears 1.5, but that honestly does not do it justice.
The Gears 2 story/campaign mode is epic. Every battle is on a much larger scale, and you just don't feel like a small elite squad involved in an isolated conflict anymore. Enough of the story though, because I would imagine most would want to hear about the gameplay.
As one of the reviews just stated above the gameplay seems a bit more streamlined, since one of my friends who had never played before could pick it up and do better than he could have done in Gears 1. The entire system, such as finding cover and running, all feels much more polished than the original. The weaponry has been expanded and new functions have been added to various weapons. These additions included the grenade, of which now there are 3 types, be setup as a mine that only goes off when enemies come near it. The shotgun has not been changed as the review above stated, and what has changed is the lancer and the new hammerburst. These two guns have had their effectiveness and power increased, and along with the new "stopping power" mechanic, make the game much less of a run and gun affair. The new highlight is the overall tactical and intelligent gameplay, rather than the run and gun affair that the host with the shotgun does.
One game type that I have to say is an amazing edition is HORDE. Get four of your friends together, get on the new map Pavilion, and see how long you last. Horde involves waves and waves of locusts coming at you, and becoming progressively more difficult. It's an affair that involves a lot of shooting, screaming, cursing, and reminsicing.
Anyway, Gears 2 is amazing. In an age of $60 video games, Gears deserves your money and a decent amount of your halo 3 matchmaking time.
I bought this game because one of my friends let me barrow his for two days... yes two days!!!!! I got hooked within one hour. I played part one and was impressed but not "WOWED" like with part two. This game has it all and dare I say, it's better than the first one. Ok I will, it's way better than the first one. The story is more expanded and the loses the characters go through and the end is an ending but it leaves two or three unanswered questions. You will need more skill than in the original and you will be taking the ride of the year in this game. so buy it rent it or barrow it. You have to play it now.
This is my second copy of this magnificent work of art. GOW2 leaves all other shooter games behind, including all of the HALO series.It's Horde mode is the finest non live combat sim I have ever seen. The only problem the game has is that it chooses to make opponents health multiply as the level gets harder, and the shooter's health decreases conversily. I would rather they just add more opponents than having to shoot the same guy with more bullets to stop him. Otherwise, if you want action, not for little kids, this is the adult game for you!