Microsoft Game Studios Gears of War 2
The must-own title of this holiday season for Xbox 360 gamers.
- Massive battles, superior graphics and sound, smooth controls, addictive multiplayer game types (especially Horde)
- Loose plot threads, more unanswered questions, some scenarios don't quite pay off
The good news is that Gears of War 2 significantly improves upon the original game in every possible way, addressing several key shortcomings that kept its predecessor from being a bona-fide classic. Gears of War 2 is a terrific action game that deservedly resides in the upper echelon of console shooters, and is the best shooter to hit the Xbox 360 so far this year. Action gamers, you've found your next obsession.
Price$ 99.95 (AUD)
As a devoted fan of the shooter genre, I really enjoyed the original Gears of War — its in-the-trenches intensity was a shot of adrenaline for the entire action genre. Unfortunately, I was left somewhat disappointed by its too-short campaign and groan-worthy character dialogue, as well as its fickle online multiplayer. Despite my complaints, I knew that Gears of War was something special, with its ultra-violent presentation and intense cover-hopping action. Since its release, I've been proven right: literally dozens of other games have mimicked the style, if not the substance, of the original Gears of War.
Fall of Man
The comparisons between Metal Gear Solid 4 and Gears of War 2 are inescapable. Both games are third-person shooters that take place in teeming warzones, but they follow entirely different paths with equally pleasing results. Metal Gear Solid 4 is long-winded but emotionally complex: its combat and gameplay were riveting, but those aspects almost took a back seat to the ambitious storytelling. Gears of War 2 is the polar opposite: it's a balls-to-the-wall rollercoaster ride where massive action set pieces take center stage. If MGS4 was an art-house film, Gears of War 2 is a fast-paced graphic novel. Both approaches have their charms, and Gears of War 2 leverages its bold, colorful style to maximum effect.
The story picks up some six months after the original game, and mankind is facing some seriously grim odds. As in the original Gears of War, the storytelling here runs at a brisk pace — there are no 15-minute, Metal Gear Solid 4-style monologues to interrupt the action. But this time, you actually know what you're fighting for. Your overarching goal is to protect the last standing human outpost from The Locust, a race of subterranean monsters who can devour entire cities from below. The increased sense of desperation and horror gives Gears of War 2 an emotional charge that was noticeably AWOL from the original game. When I played the original Gears, I was left confused and bewildered by plot developments that seemed to come from nowhere. Not so in Gears of War 2: I always knew who to shoot, why to shoot, and where I needed to go next.
Though the storytelling and dialogue are enormously improved over the original game, they're not perfect. Oddly, we still learn frustratingly little about the origins of the sinister Locust, several important new foes are left virtually unexplained, and one likeable character seemingly vanishes halfway into the game. As a whole, though, Gears of War 2 succeeds in crafting a nail-biting tale of desperation, vengeance, and the atrocities of war. As the stakes ratcheted ever higher, I found myself compulsively playing on to see whether Marcus Fenix and his band of elite warriors could score a much-needed victory against their seemingly unstoppable opponents.
Gameplay wise, Gears of War 2 is very much like its predecessor, so finding cover and staying concealed is still a key aspect of combat. However, this isn't just a simple rehash of the original: a host of subtle tweaks and refinements give Gears of War 2 a sleeker, more polished feel. Dodging, hopping from cover to cover, and mounting obstacles feels smoother and more natural, and I never once felt like I was battling the controls. Gears of War 2 is clearly the leader in its unique breed of tactical action, and now more than ever it's destined to leave a lasting mark on the genre. What Gears of War 2 does, it does right.
I especially liked the arsenal of powerful new weapons, which include a satisfying flamethrower, a monstrous mini-gun, and a devastating mortar launcher that rains down death from above. Marcus and the other COG forces have learned some new tricks, too, including a new "meat shield" maneuver where they grab a downed opponent to deflect incoming shots. I found these new mechanics to be effective, particularly in certain multiplayer modes, though they don't drastically alter the basics of combat. Given that Gears of War 2's gameplay already feels so tight and responsive, this is definitely a smart move.
Join the Good Gear Guide newsletter!
Microsoft L5V-00027 Sculpt Ergonomic Keyboard Desktop
Smart LED Bulb LB130
Epson EcoTank Expression ET-2500
UE Boom 2 Bluetooth speaker
Linksys AC5400 MU-MIMO Gigabit router
Lexar® JumpDrive® S57 USB 3.0 flash drive
Samsung portable 1TB T3 drive
Huawei Mate 9
3SIXT Ultra HD Sports Action Camera
Belkin MIXIT Metallic Lightning to USB Cable
Logitech G403 Prodigy mouse
Lexar® JumpDrive® S45 USB 3.0 flash drive
Acer Swift 7
Lexar® Portable SSD
Google Daydream VR headset
Audio-Technica ATH-ANC70 Noise Cancelling Headphones
HD Pan/Tilt Wi-Fi Camera with Night Vision NC450
Lexar® Professional 1800x microSDHC™/microSDXC™ UHS-II cards
Dell Inspiron 5000 series 2-in-1
HP Pavilion x360 13”
Surface Pro 4
Blade 28 backpack by Arc’teryx
Garmin Fenix Chronos smartwatch
Dell XPS 13 laptop
Lexar® JumpDrive® C20c USB Type-C flash drive
Most Popular Reviews
- 1 Star Wars Death Star Bluetooth levitating rotating speaker review
- 2 Finally! LG OLED TV 2016 range review
- 3 Fetch TV Mighty review: Better than Foxtel
- 4 Fetch TV Mini review: Make your TV a smart TV
- 5 Panasonic Viera DX900U UHD 4K smart TV review
Latest News Articles
- You can download Nintendo's Fire Emblem Heroes for iOS and Android today
- Nintendo's Fire Emblem Heroes looks sharp, but will it survive the freemium transition?
- Nintendo's bringing Super Mario Run to Android in March, but Fire Emblem's coming first
- The Switch is a mix of Nintendo's past consoles
- Dead Rising 4 impressions: 'Tis the season to BBQ zombies with your flaming sword
PCW Evaluation Team
I’d happily recommend this touchscreen laptop and Windows 10 as a great way to get serious work done at a desk or on the road.
Ultimately, I think the Windows 10 environment is excellent for me as it caters for so many different uses. The inclusion of the Xbox app is also great for when you need some downtime too!
For me, the Xbox Play Anywhere is a great new feature as it allows you to play your current Xbox games with higher resolutions and better graphics without forking out extra cash for another copy. Although available titles are still scarce, but I’m sure it will grow in time.
First impression on unpacking the Q702 test unit was the solid feel and clean, minimalist styling.
For work use, Microsoft Word and Excel programs pre-installed on the device are adequate for preparing short documents.
- Horizon Zero Dawn review
- How to quit Pokemon Go (or to start enjoying it again)
- Japan's pop culture, anime-friendly, J-Pop shrine, Kanda Myojin
- Which flagship TV is best? Sony 4K HDR Bravia 2016 versus LG 4K HDR OLED 2016
- 10 Blu-ray movies / Best looking Blu-ray movies
- FTDynamics AX Functional Consultant (Sales & Marketing Modules)WA
- FTLevel 3 Support AnalystVIC
- FTSenior Java DeveloperNSW
- TPIT Project ManagerNSW
- CCData Migration Consultant - LeadNSW
- CCSenior .NET DeveloperNSW
- TPProject ManagerOther
- CCSystem EngineerSA
- TPInfrastructure Project ManagerNSW
- TPTechnical ConsultantNSW
- CCNetIQ Development & SupportNSW
- FTLife/400 Resource - PermanentNSW
- FTSAP BOBJ ConsultantACT
- TPAEM DeveloperNSW
- CCCommercial Contract AdministratorACT
- FTApplication Support SpecialistNSW
- TPSAP Helpdesk SupportACT
- TPTechnical WriterQLD
- FTDynamics AX Functional Consultant (Supply Chain Modules)QLD
- CCTechnical Consultant - ITSM/HP Service ManagerACT
- FTDynamics AX Functional ConsultantQLD
- CCBusiness AnalystQLD
- CCInfrastructure Solution Designer - Azure/AWSVIC
- FTSalesforce AdministratorQLD
- CCFront-End DeveloperQLD