Review By: Josh Miller-Watt
|Publisher:||Microsoft Game Studios|
|# Of Players:||1-10 (2-10 online)|
|Accessories:||Xbox Live (online play, DLC, leaderboards), System Link, HDTV 1080p, In-game Dolby Digital|
Epic’s second installment in the Gears of war series has been hotly anticipated for a long time - in fact, since the first came out, since the ending of the first game left the door wide open for a sequel. The brand new combat system brought forth by the first game was a breath of fresh air into the shooter genre. New concepts like Active Reload and absolute necessity of cover were found to be new and exciting at the time. More importantly, however, the concepts still held up well even after extensive play of the game. Any player of the first Gears can tell you that one of the best features about the game was the robust multiplayer mode it offered. Constant online action with occasional influxes of maps had players begging for more, and eagerly awaiting the sequel.
Finally, though - after what seemed like ages - the sequel has been released. But does it remain true to the formula of the original?
The short answer is an emphatic Yes. Every gameplay mechanic from the previous game is still alive and well. Not only are the elements that made the previous game so special there, they have been tweaked in places. For those not familiar with the Gears franchise, here’s a quick rundown of some of the key elements of the game:
Taking Cover: This is first and foremost of all your maneuvers (excepting of course pulling the trigger on your gun). As Marcus puts it in the game: “Gears have one Golden Rule: Take cover, or die.” With a quick press of the A button, you move behind an obstacle, obscuring you from the enemy’s sight, and thus, their bullets. By holding on the joystick while in cover, you can perform a variety of maneuvers - from jumping over cover, to quickly moving to nearby alternate cover, to simply stepping out of cover. This is all done more or less with a single button press, and a tilt of the joystick. You can also ‘Blindfire’ over cover. This equates to your character pointing the gun in the general direction of enemies, keeping behind cover, and firing. It’s not very accurate, but it eliminates risk when laying down suppressing fire. Not only is this portion of the game incredibly tight and intuitive, it also lends some credibility to the combat system. After all, taking cover is an essential part of warfare in the real world. This cuts down on run-and-gun tactics within the game considerably, and provides a very unique feel. In Gears 2, the experience has even been tightened somewhat. In the first game, after mounting over some cover, there would be a moment where your character would stand still in the neutral position before you could really have them move. In Gears 2, now they immediately move into a run, so long as you hold on the run button.
Active Reload: This one is pretty simple. When your gun runs out of ammo, you will see a small horizontal bar underneath the gun icon in the top-right corner, with a grey area, and a small white area. A small vertical bar will pass across the two areas. If you hit the reload button when the bar is over the gray area, you will reload much quicker. If you do it over the white, the reload will be even quicker, and you’ll receive a damage bonus for that clip. It’s a simple, but effective way to keep you on your toes during combat. It carries a risk, however - if you miss the gray and white areas, and still pull the trigger, your gun will jam, costing you valuable seconds of firing time.
Posted: 2009-03-10 12:40:05 PST