Friday, November 7, 2008

Xbox 360 - Gears of War 2

Gears of War 2

This sequel to Gears of War and third person shooter has a reasonable amount of gore and violence along with some language. It is recommended for 17 year olds and above. If you are a parent, you may want to view the gameplay in the store prior to purchasing for your child. The gore can be turned off from the Options menu, but is turned on by default.


Gears of War and Gear's of War 2 are both about an army named the 'Gears' who work for 'COG' as the infantry against the enemy known as the Locusts (your typical humanoid enemy about the same size and shape as a human). Effectively, the game has a similar story feel as Halo. This time, the Gears must save Jacinto (and other cities) from being ravaged by the Locusts.


The primary game voiceover is done very well. That said, that's primarily thanks to John Di Maggio (who sounds just like Keifer Sutherland) doing the voiceover for the player character, Marcus. Thanks to the deep gruff voice, it works quite well to carry this character in this game. I think that's why I quickly liked the Marcus character.


The gameplay is pretty much the same as Gears of War with a few new things thrown in. However, that said, Gears of War 2 is a straightforward linear third person shooter. Don't expect much in the way of side quests or additional roaming options. But, that's the same as it was in the first Gears game.

The gameplay could use work in places. Some missions are exceedingly easy to get through with no enemies. Other levels are chock full of them and/or quite difficult (see complaints below). The sniper rifle works great when it works. The problem I have with this rifle is that the game specifically moves the enemy out of the way right before the shot hits. This doesn't happen all of the time, but it does happen often enough that it's not a coincidence. The game knows what you're aiming at and intentionally moves them out of the way milliseconds before the shot would hit properly. This makes working with the sniper rifle very frustrating. It's not as if ammo is scarce, but it is a problem because of the time it takes to reload the rifle.


The graphics, as expected, are quite well done. Not looking quite as nice as some recent PS3 games, but still very good. The graphics do get slow in places (so you can tell they're pushing the processor limits of the 360). The game, however, doesn't falter even with the slow downs.


The Xbox 360 achievements seem reasonably easy to obtain throughout the game. You simply have to get through the missions to get them. There are also other in-game achievements that you can obtain (like Half-Life used) that may not count toward Xbox 360 gamer score.


My major complaints with this game entail the levels themselves. On some levels, the Gears help you defeat the enemies. On other levels, you're the only one actually killing anything (even though other Gears are there). For example, you are tasked to defend the communication arrays against the flying Reavers. You're told to use the turret gun. That's fine.. except there are two guns and another gear there. Yet, you're the only one shooting down Reavers. Worse, by the time you even see the Reaver in the air, they've already shot off missles. So, it's next to impossible to complete this level.

And right there's my second complaint. Some levels are childlike easy, other levels are near impossible... and these levels can easily be side-by-side. Did anyone actually play test this game at all? This makes the gameplay frustrating, time consuming and problematic... and it also reduces this game's overall score.


It's a straightforward third person shooter. It's very similar to the original game, but with a different story behind it. The Gears are as tough as ever and the weapons are strewn throughout the level in such a way as to never run out of weapons or ammo. This is not realistic, but it works in this game context.

There are some very very frustrating levels that are not challenging in the gaming sense, but are very frustrating. You end up having to game the game (if you know what I mean) just to get through the level. The levels are haphazard and randomly laid out (for the most part). I prefer the walking gun levels over the puzzle-ish levels using vehicles or special weapons.

  • Sound: 9/10 (excellent voiceovers)
  • Graphics: 8.5/10 (great, but not perfect)
  • Bugginess: ?/10 (not rated yet)
  • Controls: 9.5/10 (no issues and responds well)
  • Bang-To-Buck: 1/10 (Once through, won't play 1 player again, maybe multiplayer)
  • Overall: 7.5/10 (Resonably well done, but typical for a shooter)
Note, games without side quests automatically get knocked off points simply because it forces the game to be linear. Too bad they didn't add a theater mode for taking in-game photos. Second Note, I don't rate multiplayer aspects because nearly all multiplayer games end up the same (running around on a multilevel course shooting each other for points).

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