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Sunday, 9 November 2008

Gears of War 2 - Mini Review



WARNING: MINOR SPOILERS

So, after what seemed like a lifetime of waiting Gears of War 2 finally arrived on my doorstep on Thursday (gotta love Play.com for delivering a day early every time!). I didn't actually get to play it until Friday night when my mate came over to play the co-op campaign mode but I wouldn't have had it any other way, Gears is one of those games that works great when in co-op. I've now completed the game, finishing the later levels in single player, and completed the whole thing in roughly 8-9 hours of game play.

I was a huge fan of the first installment and completed the original campaign in one sitting, albeit one hell of a sitting as anyone who played the first game can attest to. Gears, like Halo, is a continuing franchise that people want to see more of. The characters are engaging (John Di Maggio's "Marcus Fenix" voice over in particular is great, the man who plays Bender in Futurama does it again!), the levels are beautiful and well planned and some missions just completely blow you away (I loved the Lord of the Rings-like Brumak riding level near the end of the new game, I wish levels like that were longer!). Gears of War 2 really does have some inspiring levels coupled with the new "upped ante" storyline that was engrossing and in some places hilarious (Cole shouting to the Hive Queen over the Hive speaker system) and highly emotional (Dom finding his wife Maria). Sometimes you want to skip cut scenes to get back to the action but I've found that recent games (GTA 4, Saints Row 2 and Gears) simply don't fit into that category which is an great accomplishment for the game creators.

This games does feel much longer than the first and the scale of some levels seem to be double the previous outing with enhanced graphics and more fluid game play. Weapons are more enjoyable and more accurate to use, blowing the heads off your enemies is joyful and the "crapping yourself when a Reaver sets down in front of you when you're all out of ammo" moments make for adrenaline fuelled fun.

This game is a must-have for any shoot-em-up gamer and although it's replayabilty isn't up there with the likes of sandbox games like Saints Row 2 and it's not a a lot different from Gears 1 it's still always gonna be worth the purchase.

Setting the standard
8.5/10

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