Review: Gears of War 2 (2008) Games | My Reviews 01 APR 2013

gears of war 2 box artCliff Bleszinski and the team over at Epic Games came back to hit gamers hard with the follow-up to their first successful Gears of War outing, launching Gears of War 2 in 2008, basically a bigger and badder version of the original, with an even greater choice of weapons than before, and not forgetting to mention their tried and tested cover system!

Gears of War 2 takes place six months after the detonation of the Lightmass Bomb at the end of the first game and though most of the underground army of the Locust Horde was destroyed in the resulting explosion, the fall-out from this would be devastating to the human population. Vaporised liquid Imulsion seeped out of the ground and went on to cause the debilitating Rustlung sickness to quickly spread among the diminished human population.

After months of peace, the cities of Tollen and Montevado suddenly and mysteriously disappear underground, leading the Coalition of Ordered Governments (COG) to suspect the resurgence of the Locust. Soon after, the once impenetrable Jacinto, one of the last remaining safe havens for humans, begins to show signs that the same fate awaits it. Needless to say, in order to stop the fall of Jacinto, COG responds with a large-scale counter-offensive against the Locust, which basically boils down to Marcus and Dom being once again knee deep in Locust shit!

Gears of War 2 is a third person shooter with an emphasis on the tactical use of cover, and retains much of the same gameplay from the first game. The player, playing as either Marcus or Dominic in the campaign mode, or as any of the human or Locust characters in multiplayer mode, and can only carry a pistol, one type of grenade, and two other weapons at any time, though they may swap these for weapons found in strategic locations or left by downed foes or fallen allies. Each weapon can be used for normal fire as well as for melee attacks; the game’s signature Lancer, an assault rifle mounted with a chainsaw bayonet for its melee, can be used to instantly kill foes.

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What follows is a tightly woven storyline with fantastic cut sequences and relentless action as you face down rush after rush of locust attacks, not to mention the occasional ambushes they set up for you given the chance!

I played through the campaign in an online co-op with my brother, and I have to say that for the first two thirds of the game I was thoroughly enthralled, enjoying the intense shooter action, taking in the fantastic soundtrack and just enjoying the game in general.

However, one of the things that did eventually get to me was the predictability of the cover system. Once you’re two thirds into the game you know exactly how it is going to play out – you walk into an area, spot the cover ledges, tables, etc, and then scramble over into cover and await for the Locusts to come running out at you.

Rinse and repeat.

This spoiled the last bit of the game a little for me, but it isn’t enough to rate this game poorly. It looks fantastic, has a wonderful array of well designed levels, has solid AI and is genuinely an enjoyable shooter to play.

Definitely recommendable and even more so if you can find a friend to join you for the well set out campaign storyline.

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About Craig Lotter

South African software architect and developer at Touchwork. Husband to a cupcake baker and father to two little girls. I don't have time for myself any more.