Playing Gears Of War 2 Is A Blast

Alison Young
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November 26, 2008
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I had a blast (literally) when the first Gears of War came out almost exactly two years ago. That game sold about 4.7 million copies since its release, making it one of the most popular games in Xbox 360 history. Developed by Epic Games and released earlier this month by Microsoft Game Studios, Gears of War 2 has been gracing my Xbox 360 and TV with lots of explosions and crisp graphics.

The gameplay picks up six months after the first Gears of War, and throws you into the battle for survival against the Locust Horde underground creatures.

You play as Marcus Fenix, fighting the powerful Locust as the humans are even more desperate because of rust lung disease.

One of the first things I noticed was the game’s awesome graphics. That is probably attributed to the Unreal Engine 3. In the first Gears, I remember much of the gameplay being in black and white. This version has brighter colors and attention to detail as you observe shadows, water flowing or features on the characters. The gameplay is fundamentally the same as the first Gears but more refined.

A nice addition is that your teammates can heal you if you’re injured. When you are injured, crawl toward them more quickly by tapping the “A” button on the controller to receive your healing. Your assault rifle is still the go-to weapon for most of the fighting, but there is a bunch of new weapons that keep it interesting, such as the mulcher. It’s a high-calibur chain gun that can cut through your worst enemy in a simple burst. And those grenades - definite improvement. You can place your grenades on surfaces so they turn into proximity mines. The ink grenade poisons an entire area and makes it hazardous for a short time, but prolonged exposure can kill you.

“As with the first Gears of War, once you get through the single player mode the multiplayer mode of doesn’t have the staying power that Call of Duty or Halo has ... it’s too imprecise for me,” says gamertag “Disastro Slick,” an avid gamer who asked to be identified only by his tag. “It’s the same for Gears 2: It’s too imprecise, too much chaos. If I can’t headshot people from halfway to Idaho, I aint happy. That’s just me. I have lots of friends who love it and the graphics are certainly beautiful!”

I did notice the same impreciseness Disastro Slick did, especial ly when going for those headshots in the heat of battle. The chaos, as well - there seems to be a ton of stuff going on at any given time with too much personal drama from the character and unresolved plot strands.

But I enjoyed the gameplay with the new weapons and upgraded multiplayer modes. You’ll have the most effective use of your new weapons in the multiplayer mode. It’ll take you about 10 to 12 hours to complete Gears of War 2 in campaign mode, and the multi-player mode allows up to 10 players (instead of eight previously). Ten new multiplayer maps are included along with a code to download five remastered maps from the original game - the “Flashback Map pack.”

Another nice addition to note is that while you’re playing coop you can choose your own difficulty level (independent from your co-player).

Gears of War 2 is rated M for Mature and is available for $59.99 (standard edition) or $69.99 (limited edition) at your nearest Toys N Joys (www.toysnjoys.com), Best Buy (www.bestbuy.com), GameStop (www.gamestop.com) or Amazon (www.amazon.com). The limited edition comes with Beneath the Surface: An Inside Look at Gears of War 2, a 48-page book filled with character profiles and exclusive concept art, along with a bonus DVD, a photo of Dominic and Maria Santiago, and an Xbox LIVE token to unlock a gold-plated Lancer Assault Rifle for online play.

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