Bigger, Better in Almost Every Way
Gears of War was a landmark title when it first debuted along with the Xbox360. Aside from looking gorgeous it had solid gameplay, unique twists multiplayer modes, and some badass characters. Its clear that the team at Epic aimed to make Gears of War 2 bigger, better, and more badass in every way. In terms of story the game takes place approximately 6 months after the first game, humanity is making its biggest effort to end the war against the Locust from they're last remaining city of Jacinto. In order to advance the story, Dom is looking for his wife whom hes lost contact with. It adds a little bit of humanity to the characters, but unfortunetly is on the backburner for the majority of the game. Overall the game's difficulty has been toned down (at least on the standard difficulty), I didn't die as often as I did in the first game. However there are a total of 4 difficulty levels (compared to 3 in the first game), with an easier level being added. While some of the boss and special enemy sequences are interesting, the ending boss isn't nearly as memorable as RAAM, while its nice that the ending boss is easier, theres no skill whatsoever required in taking him down. Gears of War 2 adds several new weapons, you get a couple new grenade types including ink and smoke grenades, you also get the ability to tag grenades to walls to create proximity mines. The other new weapons include mortars, and other large gatling guns which are much stronger but limit your movement. Theres also some new rifle and handgun types that the Locust use, these really don't add much as you'll be using the trusty Lancer. There is a few sections where you'll need to use other weapon types, I find that the sniper rifle was most useful as you can eliminate most enemies in one shot and you have the safety of distance. However there are a few levels that require more close quarters weapons, the new flamethrower and shotgun are effective in these situations. The game adds many new and various locations which adds flavor which I feel the first game lacked, there are several locals I didn't expect to be in, which is always a plus. In terms of multiplayer, Gears 2 took what the first did and redefined it. The most interesting new feature is the Horde mode, which allows 5 players to take on wave after wave of enemies. While most of the other modes are mainly the same you can get more players in each match. Overall Gears of War 2 is an almost perfect game, a few minor tweaks probably would have made it perfect. The multiplayer options are going to keep people playing this for a long, long time.