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 newsletter!
Most Popular Reviews
- 1 Hisense takes the fight to home entertainment heavyweights with flagship Series 8 and 9 ULED TVs
- 2 Sony's latest Ultra HD OLED debuts in Australia
- 3 Panasonic Ultra HD OLED TV Review
- 4 D-Link Omna 180 Cam HD DSH-C310 review
- 5 Oppo A77 smartphone: Full in-depth review
Latest News Articles
- Robot House announce vacuum-bot adventure game ahead of PAX Australia
- Wargaming launches ANZ servers for World of Tanks
- VR fairytale game Luna due for Oct 17 release
- Event schedule announced for PAX Aus 2017
- Hand of Fate 2 set for Nov. 7 launch, will support 4K HD on Xbox
PCW Evaluation Team
Brainstorming, innovation, problem solving, and negotiation have all become much more productive and valuable if people can easily collaborate in real time with minimal friction.
The print quality also does not disappoint, it’s clear, bold, doesn’t smudge and the text is perfectly sized.
The Huddle Board’s built in program; Sharp Touch Viewing software allows us to easily manipulate and edit our documents (jpegs and PDFs) all at the same time on the dashboard.
The biggest perks for me would be that it comes with easy to use and comprehensive programs that make the collaboration process a whole lot more intuitive and organic
I rate the printer as a 5 out of 5 stars as it has been able to fit seamlessly into my busy and mobile lifestyle.
It’s perfect for mobile workers. Just take it out — it’s small enough to sit anywhere — turn it on, load a sheet of paper, and start printing.
- Jabra Elite Sport (2017) review
- How to download the Windows 10 Fall Creators Update right now
- 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
- CCProject CoordinatorNSW
- FTCognos AdministratorOther
- FTSenior Project Manager - Agile / DigitalOther
- FT.Net DeveloperNSW
- FTProject ManagerSA
- FTSenior Business Analyst - PaymentsOther
- TPAPS 6 Business AnalystACT
- CCSalesforce ArchitectVIC
- CCProcess Improvement Manager (Black Belt)NSW
- FTService Desk Level 2 Support ConsultantACT
- FTInfrastructure Project ManagerOther
- FTProcess AdministratorOther
- CCSAP CRM Functional Consultants - Multiple rolesVIC
- FTSenior ArchitectACT
- FTSenior Analyst ProgrammerOther
- FTChange Lead- Strategic Implementation & Transformation ProjectsOther
- CCBusiness Analyst / DesignerNSW
- FTC ++ DeveloperNSW
- FTPresales Security Solutions ArchitectVIC
- FTSenior Digital Producer | 6 Month Contract roleNSW
- FTAgile Business Analyst, website or mobile apps expOther
- TPProject ManagerNSW
- TPBusiness Analyst - RoboticsNSW
- FTSOA/OSB Integration ConsultantOther
- FTService Desk Analyst/Telecommunications Service AnalystOther