The best $10 you'll ever spend on your Xbox 360.
The largest addition to the sequel is the five new game modes: Deadline, King, Pacifism, Waves and Sequence, along with Evolved making a return, although it has some new additions as well. Each game type is very different from the next, with only one type unlocked at the beginning; Deadline.
Deadline is essentially Evolved with a time-limit and no penalty for death. Players have three minutes to get as many points as possible. If the player is killed, they simple respawn, however, the number of bombs is limited.
King is a king-of-the-hill game type where players can only shoot inside designated circles, but over time these circles begin to deteriorate and you must move onto a different circle. There can only be three circles on screen at any given time, and one circle pops up immediately after another goes away.
Pacifism takes the shooting mechanic away from Geometry Wars and this time you must simply fly around avoiding enemies, killing them from the explosions coming off of gates you must pass through. Of the new modes Pacifism is easily the most fun to play since it drastically changes the way you play Geometry Wars, and if you practice enough, your scores can get really high.
Waves is definitely one of the more difficult of the new modes. New enemies that move back and forth in a straight pattern fly across the screen, and it's your objective to avoid them by killing them or simply dodging out of the why, all the white trying to accumulate points. Definitely a challenge.
The last unlockable mode in Retro Evolved 2 is Sequence, which consists of 20 different stage. Each stage must be completed in 30 seconds before it moves on, and if the player dies on a stage it will end as well. As the player gets further into the mode, the stages get tougher and tougher and include more and more enemies. By the last few stages, the game starts throwing large waves of enemies at you that will challenge even the best Geometry Wars players.
Evolved also makes a return this time around, but with the new enemy types, it's a much different animal. The new enemies will simply flop around the board, glide back and forth across the screen, have to be killed by flying through them and a few others. The addition of these enemies change the gameplay up quite a bit, so much so that the new Geometry Wars requires a lot more luck than the original. This is the most annoying part about Retro Evolved 2, as the death isn't always your fault and the amount of things going on screen at once can almost be too much to handle, more so than the first Retro Evolved, occasionally throwing so much color and effects that it's easy to lost your ship in the madness.
Another large change to Retro Evolved is the multiplier system. Instead of the multiplier being based off of the number of enemies you kill and have it reset every time you die, your multiplier increases as you collect small green orbs called geoms. As a result, scores can reach greater heights, but players must take the risk of going into the zone of enemies that they've killed to collect these geoms.
Last but not least, multiplayer has been introduced to the Geometry Wars franchise, but only locally, due to the possibilities of lag found online. Up to four players can either play cooperatively or against each other on any of the six game modes. There are also the addition of power-ups in the versus game types which can either give you the advantage or punish your opponent temporarily. If you have some Geometry War fans around you, multiplayer is a no brainer, as it opens up an entirely new way to play the game and is tons of fun to boot.
The original Geometry Wars was praised with having one of the coolest achievements for it's time, Pacifism, which challenged players to play the game in a way it wasn't intended to be played. The achievements this time around are focused on challenging players in this way, like riding all the way around the edge of the Pacifism stage for an achievement entitled “Wax On” and all the way around again for another achievement entitled “Wax Off”. After you've unlocked all the game modes (which is also an achievement), these achievements are sure to keep you coming back again and again, as some of them are actually quite difficult.
Aesthetically, Geometry Wars remains much the same. However, this time around colors seem brighter and crisper, and it's a crime not to play this game on an HD television. The enemies have also been redone, each with slightly more detail and character. There are also five new tracks, each to correspond with the new game modes, that fit in nicely with the original “Evolved” music, which has also seen a small upgrade.
In the end, if you own an Xbox 360, Geometry Wars: Retro Evolved 2 is a must-own. It took the formula of one of the best games already on the arcade and somehow made it even better. The overall feel remains the same, but at the same time, so much has changed, and for $10, you really couldn't ask for more.