roborobb's Geometry Wars: Retro Evolved 2 (Xbox 360 Games Store) review

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Unprecedented level of awesomeness

Back in 2005, Geometry Wars was one of the leading Xbox Live Arcade titles, and it went a long way to justify that Digitally Distributed games could work in a console environment. Since then there have been numerous imitating Dual-Joystick shooters available on XBLA, so it speaks volumes to say that the release of Geometry Wars : Retro Evolved 2 completely surpasses all the other downloadable shooters that have come out previously.  

What makes Retro Evolved 2 so outstanding is its ability to deliver on the solid experience the original game achieved, whilst surpassing everything Retro Evolved was previously.

The biggest addition the game play is the inclusion of Geoms, These Green gems are key to high scores, continuously multiplying your points. Whilst the original game limited your multiplier to x10, the sequel fully allows players to collect as many multipliers infinitely possible.

The overriding feeling of playing Geometry Wars 2 is one of extreme satisfaction. The staggering amount of enemies thrown at you is intimidating at first, so when you destroying them with visually breathtaking style it really does make it worthwhile. The game’s difficulty feels really tweaked to perfection as it’s keeps it continuously challenging whilst a fun experience.

 everything wants to kill you.
 everything wants to kill you.

There are six gametypes available, including the original evolved mode, each one offering a varied style of play that keeps the game fresh and challenging throughout.

The first game mod is called Deadline, which gives you infinite lives, the challenge is that it only goes on for three minutes, which adds emphasis on quickly dealing with the various enemies thrown at you whilst collecting as many Geoms as possible, adding and multiplying your score. 

King mode places circular safe zones scattered around the map that are the only places from which you can fire. The catch is these havens slowly disappear overtime the moment you make contact, encouraging the player to continuously move.

The Evolved gamemode is effectively the same game mode as the previous Retro Evolved but it with the inclusion of Geoms. This makes the gametype more strategic in it’s inclusion of multipliers but is just as enjoyable.

The fourth game mode is Pacifism, and it’s probably the most divergent game type introduced in Retro Evolved 2. Players are Restricted to not being able to shoot enemies, whilst hoards of drone-like blue diamonds are thrown continuously at you. The only way of destroying these Diamonds is to fly through scattered, randomly placed orange gates that explode when you fly through them. Out of all the game types I found Pacifism be the most satisfying and enjoyable.

After Pacifism is the engaging Waves mode.   This gametype focuses on continuously hurtling lines of dart-shaped ships at you, which come at you from all sides, eventually filling the screen completely with incredible amounts of enemies.

Sequence is the final mode of Retro Evolved 2, which is a level-based progression that gives you 20 levels to play through. There is a time limit of 30 seconds for each stage to be cleared, and the mode punishes death with moving on to the next stage, sacrificing the potential points to be gained.

Multiplayer has been added to the Geometry Wars, which allows up to four players to play each of the game’s modes. There’s the option to play co-op, split teams or just compete against all other players. Multiplayer is limited to local play, which is slightly disappointing, and stands out as something that is missing and should be addressed in the sequel.

A beautiful glowing mess.
A beautiful glowing mess.

The same Vector Graphics style continues in Geometry Wars 2 but it has been noticeably improved. The amount of intricate detail is great, to the extent that when there are lots of enemies on screen it is a sensory overload. The emphasis on colour is noticeable this time around, and the enemies animate much more, flipping and moving on all axis to give the games look more depth. The vectors have a brighter glow that works well with the contrasting dark background.

The achievements I felt were noticeably easier than the original. The game does a good job of recognising and tracking the progress of an achievement when the player begins any of the 12.

The music and sound are also excellent, and has improved considerably from the original game. Every game mode has it’s own music track, giving each the unique vibe it needs to make it distinct. The explosions are noticeably sharp and punctuate the music, adding to the already intense adrenaline whilst playing.

It’s almost impossible not to fully recommend Retro Evolved 2 as for only 10$ is well worth its price. It was initially surprising how effectively engaging this game is even with the high standard set by the original, but this game surpasses Retro Evolved in every way. 

By Robb

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