This Is Not You Older Brother's Gears of War, It's Better
Gears of War was THE reason to buy an Xbox 360 in 2006 and kept that title until 2007 when games like Call of Duty 4, Bioshock, and Halo 3 released and pushed Gears out of the limelight. Well the boys at Epic weren't gonna take that and announced Gears of War 2 featuring an upgraded Unreal Engine 3, more stunning visuals, a more engaging story, and more color.
Gears of War 2 picks up six months after the end of the first where Delta Squad (Marcus Fenix, Dominic Santiago, Damon Baird, and Augustus Cole "Train") deployed a lightmass bomb into the Locust hollow. The lightmass bomb destroyed a lot of locust but the majority survived. Now the human's last safe haven is the city of Jacinto which is under seige by invading locust forces. That's where you start out. The game begins and ends at Jacinto. I would gladly go into detail of more of the environments but doing so would spoil a lot of the fun. One level in praticular reminds me of a certain dungeon in The Legend of Zelda Ocarina of Time. Those who have beaten the game should know well what I'm talking about. Near the end of the story you aid your best friend Dom in his search in finding his long lost wife Maria. Without spoiling anything this is one of the more shocking moments in a video game I've ever come across and stands out as a shining moment for proving that games are art forms.
The graphics and color schemes are both improved from the first game. The characters and worlds look more alive than ever, and the blood is upgraded from it's dark orange desaturated color of the first to red and juicy liquid that in one case cover the entire bodies of Delta Squad. The enviornments are greatly improved from the first. There is all sorts of little things that just make this world seem real and alive.
The multiplayer is improved over the first. All the weapons now have a place in it instead of just that damn shotgun. The experience has been more balanced but that doesn't stop people from complaining. Some of the new modes are Guardian, a remix of Assassination from Gears 1, and Submission, formerly Meatflag, a CTF game where the flag is a Stranded that will shoot you, your teammates, and your enemies. Also from the last game is King of the Hill, Annex, Warzone, and Execution. Wingman is a 2 vs 2 vs 2 vs 2 vs 2 game where the best duo wins. The big new mode in this game is Horde. You and 4 other teammates vs wave after wave of increasingly difficult locust. The enemies of each wave are tied to the last number in the wave number. For example the enemies in Wave 1 are the same in 11, 21, 31, etc. The ones in wave 10 are the same in waves 20, 30, 40, and 50 and so on. There are only 50 waves and if you don't have 5 good players in your team good luck. Even on Casual difficulty it is insanely difficult.
Despite a few annoying framerate problems and the slow loading textures during multiplayer this game is perfect. Only once did I ever find a problem that I had to restart from a checkpoint and the checkpoint was two steps behind me anyways. This game is the best the Xbox 360 has to offer and I look forward to witnessing its rise to the top of the Xbox LIVE's most played list.