Microsoft and Epic Studios had an amazing hit with their revolutionary duck and cover style game Gears of War, and now they try to follow up their success with the sequel Gears of War 2. Gears of War 2 has a lot to live up to and will always be compared to its predecessor, so did Epic do the game justice? Absolutely!
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Gears of War 2 picks up right where the first game leaves off. The Lightmass Bomb that was dropped into the Locust Stronghold did a lot of damage to your gray faced foes, but not enough, and now the last human stronghold Jacinto is at risk. You begin the game as Marcus Fenix, the Hero from Gears of War 1, in the city of Jacinto. The Locus are about to overrun you but of course Fenix is more then equipped to save the day. After the first into battle and cinematic beginning the real fun starts as Marcus and his team descend into the “Hollow” the Locust underground.
Gears of War 2 keeps all of the old tactics and play style from Gears of War 1, but adds a whole lot more. All the weapons from the original but adds a few new goodies to play with. In Gears of War 2 you’ll be able to pick up the Scorcher Flamethrower, Mulcher Mini Gun, and Mortars, as well as a new kind of Grenade.
The Flamethrower is a very neat weapon that can easily take out a multitude of smaller enemies quickly, while the Mulcher can mow down larger enemies, like Boomers, without any problem. The Mortars are an interesting weapon that take some getting used to. You’ll have to stay in one place for a few seconds in order to fire them off, and they can prove to be a challenge to aim, but when you get the hang of this powerful weapon you can bring down just about any enemy in Gears of War 2. The new Grenade is an “Ink” Grenade, that spreads a poison cloud over a targeted area, a very effective strategy both online and in the campaign. These Ink Grenades are awesome when used in conjunction with the smoke/stun grenades.
Gears of War 2 has an awesome story that will leave the player wanting more, which is a good thing. Gears of War 2 does something with the storyline that really sets it apart from the original, and that’s to add a psychological twist. Questions about the Locust come to light which may have some disturbing answers, and there is also some fog lifted about Marcus’s father which may test the loyalties of the COG and all the Gears. The story of Gears of War 2 has a lot of replay value, something that you might lose with other games in this genre, and with a ton of collectables to find you’ll be busy for a while.
Of course the Graphics, Sound and Controls of Gears of war 2 measure up perfectly with the original game, and in some respects surpass it, there’s even a new animation for the chainsaw if you get someone in the back! The online play is probably just as good as Gears of War 1, but will take some getting used to. The Matchmaking system can be a bit irritating. Epic has tried to increase the options of the players, allowing you to vote on a map to play on, and also give you the option of a Lancer, or Hammerburst as a starting weapon, but the game type you play is also left up to a vote. This means that you cannot play strictly Warzone, or Execution, you’ll have to vote on a game type and hope yours gets selected. It’s not that bad, but like I stated, it can get really irritating.
Online runs smoothly, and a lot of the bugs from Gears of War 1 have been worked out, not to say that its perfect. You’ll get stuck on walls less, and the host advantage has been stripped away, so those are a couple of really great pluses. The Ghost Camera becomes available after you die, so you can fly around the map and keep taps on where people are hiding, or where certain weapon spawns are, but this also poses a problem concerning cheating. Now the enemy team can see where your hiding on the map and replay this info back to their partners who are still alive. Overall the online play is great, and a lot of fun, but could still use a bit of work.
If you were a fan of Gears of War, then you’ll have to pick up a copy of Gears of War 2. Even if you never owned the original, Gears of War 2 will still be a lot of fun. There is so much to explore and so much to do you’ll be living in front of your Xbox 360 for a while. Hoard mode is a new game type that deserves some playtime, where you and a few friends will fight wave after wave of Locust. There are 50 levels and each wave is stronger then the last! So if you have the chance, grab a copy of Gears of War 2, and join the COG army, fight for humanity, save the world, become a GEAR And of course do it all with a huge Machine Gun, Flamethrower, and Chainsaw!