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Gears of War was always my personal favourite on the xbox 360 it bought a new level of tactics to a tired genre. When word of a sequel surfaced I was interested but had a reaction of "yep, another gears game that will be cool." A year later the game is finally here and it really is everything needed from a sequel.
Gears of War 2 picks up a while after the events of Gears with a intro cut scene filling the gaps. The first thing that struck me about the game is how much bigger the scale of the game is. Cut scenes feel a lot more cinematic and you dont just spend a lot of time fighting in corridors. You go to grassy hills, frozen mountains, dark caves and worn cities. A way the game also shows the change in scale is the enemies such as Brumacks which were bosses in the previous game are now back regularly and seem tiny compared to the scale of others.
The controls in Gears 2 are the same as in the first but the cover system has been tweaked to perfection there was I think one point where it became a problem but otherwise it only works to your advantage. The gameplay is very similar in general but with everything just that bit better the inclusion of heavy weapons similar to that of Halo 3 works well, although all take a bit of getting used to. Other new weapons such as the scorcher, which is essentially a flamethrower all help add to the gears arsenal and there are no unessesary inclusions
Gears of War 2 is visually outstanding setting a new standard for graphics on the 360 just as the first did. Blood effects are more artistic and the game all round is a lot more colourful than the greys and browns of the first. You will see colourful vista's and deep sinister caverns all helping to flesh out the universe. The biggest change in GOW2 is that there is a story and not just a go here kill dudes to save the world story, but a real story. So much that this story had me asking questions some of which are not answered which left me frustrated but not to the level of feeling ripped off but more craving for more. The campaign is diverse and never tiring with vehicle levels breaking up the action and a wide variety of enemies and locations making it one of the best of 360.
For many people however, Gears of War is known for its brilliant and unique multiplayer and GOW2 is no exception. The multiplayer returns with familiar modes such as warzone and annex but with the addition of Submission which is a capture the flag mode with the flag as a human controlled stranded. The winning side must down this stranded and drag him back to their point this is a breath of fresh air to a commonly found mode in multiplayer shooters. Gears of War 2 also adds another player to each side bringing the team count to 5 which is most useful in the new Horde mode. This new mode gives a team of COGS a multiplayer map in which to survive as wave after wave of locust come at you with each wave increasing in difficulty each time. This is a great addition to the game and a good alternative for people who are not fans of the competetive multiplayer.
Gears of War 2 is an already amazing game tweaked to perfection with a compelling story, large scale battles and fantastic multiplayer. This is an easy competitor for game of the year and possibly one of the greatest games on the 360 and any shooter fan should play this game. If you found yourself yearning for more after Gears of War you will not be dissapointed.