Platform: Xbox 360
Developer: Epic Games
If you played, or have even heard of, the first Gears of War, then you probably know what to expect from its sequel. More 300-pound marines who can’t emote their way out of a box, more gruesome chainsaw executions, and, of course, more a-holes on Xbox Live that play the game way too much.
The single player campaign picks up where the first game left off but this time around, you’ll be taking the fight to the Locust (the human nemesis) on their home turf. The whole experience is one action-packed ride from start to finish and rarely lets you take a breather. In an attempt to make the characters more three-dimensional, the game attempts to fit mushy, emotional tidbits in between the bloodshed, yet it feels completely out of place. It’s like casting Steven Seagal in Love Actually and expecting things to turn out well.
Gears 2 has a decent graphical upgrade over its predecessor, although you might not notice it until you see the two games side-by-side. The character models are incredibly detailed and the maps, whichever shade of post-apocalyptic brown they might be, are impressive in both depth and scale. The trademark Gears “stop ‘n’ pop” cover system that we all know and love makes its return. However, it still relies on the A button a bit too much.
As I mentioned before, the online multiplayer is full of obnoxious people, but what more could you expect? I’m glad the developers implemented a party system but the matchmaking process is borderline nonfunctional at times. It took my party fifteen minutes just to find a match. The new Horde mode, where you and four buddies try to survive several waves of enemies, is a great multiplayer addition that will surely give the game tons of mileage.
Verdict: Buy It.
If you own an Xbox 360, you can’t go wrong with Gears of War 2. You would be a fool to miss out.