colonelpopcorn's Gears of War 2 (Limited Collector's Edition) (Xbox 360) review

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Connection issues aside, this game must be played.

When I played through the first Gears of War, I was blown away by the awesome gameplay and the memorable characters. However, the story was definitely lacking in coherency and pacing, with the latter being especially like a train wreck. And while Gears 2 has somewhat better pacing and a better plot in general, it still goes a little too fast to be coherent. One level that stood out to me in particular as poorly thought out was the level in the secret COG facility. it seemed more like a meaningless detour to try and prove that Gears of War can be scary, rather than a meaningful story addition. The campaign is awesome, regardless of my dislike for whiz-bang action-move-esque plots. Its quite intense, and moves at a breakneck - not train wreck - pace. Moments like defending a mobile battle-platform from waves of attackers and living mobile battle-platforms helps to break up the stop-go shooting - that makes up almost the entire game - very well. Likeable characters (made likeable, only because of their situation) abound, with Dom's desperate search for his wife Maria being the highlight for character development. All this good story stuff wrapped up in awesome shooting along with set-piece moments that break it up into nice sizeable chunks make this a 5-8 hour thrill ride you won't want to miss. That's not even touching on the multiplayer, which I have not played much of yet. What I have played can be a mixed bag. Really it all depends on if you play with network manipulating cheaters, or just dudes. If you can get into a game with just dudes (or dudette) it is a really fun, quick, round based multiplayer component. Seriously, multiplayer is awesome in this game, however connection issues abound. Getting into a match can be a chore sometimes, and once you have been matched with players of your skill level and played the game, you're booted back to the lobby so that the system can matchmake you another match. It really would've clinched the five stars if you could stay in a party of players that were matched to your skill level, instead of having to rematch players every time.

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