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Gaming Evolution
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Gaming Evolution
Gaming Evolution
Published By: Microsoft Game Studios
Developed By: Epic Games
Genre: Third-Person Shooter
Players: 1-10
Rated: M (Mature)
Release Date: Nov 7, 2008
Screenshots: Link
Amazon: Buy Now!
Written By: Matthew Prunty

Itís no secret that Gears of War has become a phenomenon on the Xbox 360 console. Countless gamers around the world have taken to this over the top shooter, which has help to define the Xbox 360 console as the premier spot for shooters. Two years later and with the release of Gears of War 2, Epic Games looks to amplify the key characteristics of the first title, rather than taking the action to the next level, which results in yet another solid experience that Xbox 360 owners to clutch close to their chests. At the end of the day, itís all about providing a solid, yet immersive experience that gamers love, whether playing online or offline.

So where does Gears of War 2 takes place; approximately six months after the events of the first title. Only this time, the human race is becoming very desperate as the Locust now have the ability to six entire cities without surfacing, along with battling a deadly disease known as rust lung. Instead of laying back and just welcoming death, both Marcus Fenix and Dominic Santiago help lead an all out attack on the Locust by bringing the action to their doorstep. While intense action and violent mayhem is what you see throughout the game, paying close attention to the events as they unfold reveals themes such as family and love. These themes alone show that the main characters have grown during this intense fight for survival, but still know how to kick some ass if need be.

While the story and the action have fundamentally changed, the gameplay mechanics have remained the same. The cover system, revival system and weaponry have all been refined to make the experience a bit more balance, while creating even more intense moments as you race to try to keep each other alive. With the cover system, you now cling more realistically to surfaces. Though a serious issues as some make it seem, it was a welcome fix by Epic Games. In regards to the revival system, computer controlled teammates now have the ability to heal you in the event of near death. The ability to crawl to a teammate in the event of near death has also been added, which helps in keeping you head from being stomped in by the enemies, while also helping your teammates get to you sooner than ever before.

The inclusion of four executing methods via the face buttons is also a welcome addition. Of the four methods, the meat shield is by far the most effective use of a wounded enemy. Those gamers who like to attack more than they defend, utilizing the meat shield will come in handy. Once you are done within your assistant, you can simply perform a neck break and put him out of his misery once and for all. The other execution methods include the curb stomp, quick blow to the back of the head, and the ability to flip your enemy over and repeatedly punch them in the face.

Now on to the vast array of weaponry within Gears of War 2. The weaponry within the first Gears of War, for the most part, was rather solid. I will admit when battling online, there were instances here and there where I would be killed with one shot by a weapon not capable of such devastation. However, in Gears of War 2, several additional weapons have been refined or put into place to help level the playing field. There is the flamethrower, which provides devastating damage to any and all enemies that are a little bit too close for comfort. There is also the ability to turn a regular grenade into a proximity mine. This by far is one of the best improvements implemented within the weaponry arsenal, which I see countless people online taking full advantage of. While the assault rifle is my preference of choice, the broad arsenal of weapons, both new and refined, keeps the action pretty balance when engaging within an online experience.

Gears of War when it first released help to define that the console was capable of competing on a visual level within what fellow third-party companies were cranking out with the PA3 console, and Epic Games continues that with Gears of War 2. While not a huge visual upgrade, Gears of War 2 features several different environments that play home to esthetic improvements to help the overall look and atmosphere. With Gears of War 2 you get even more enemies on the screen at one time with little to no slowdown, and the inclusion of destructible walls, which upon receiving huge amounts of gunfire, can crumble. This addition can turn a once protective wall into a pile of rubble. Overall, I would of liked more detailed within the Gears of War 2, however what Epic Games has done with the sequel far outweigh the first installment.

While the single-player experience is very rewarding, itís all about the multiplayer experience. The multiplayer within Gears of War 2 has been improved and any and all areas of its gameplay. More maps are utilized this time around and there are more game modes to choose from. Upon picking up this title, you are given a whopping ten maps to battle within. For those who got the code to download five additional maps from the original game, reworked for its sequel, then you have a hefty 15 maps total, with more to come via future downloads. While the first installment had four multiplayer modes, Gears of War 2 now features a whopping nine modes. Warzone, Execution, Assassination and Annex make their return from the previous installment. Fans of the PC version will welcome the King of the Hill mode. New to Gears of War 2 are Submission, Guardian, Wingman and of course, Horde. While are these modes have the high points and low points, my time is spent playing Horde. What makes Horde so interesting is the fact that a team of COGs are working together to eliminate hordes upon hordes of Locust enemies. During these battles, if only one of your team members is still alive once the round ends, the entire team will respond for another go around.

A gear of War 2 is the definition of shooters for the Xbox 360. While many will try to argue that Gears of War 2 isnít deserving of your time and money, saying itís just a slight upgrade to the first title, obviously never played the game themselves. With immersive environments, over the top action and weapons, and underlying themes that strike the heart of gamers, Gears of War 2 is a must have for your gaming collection.


Other Review Scores
TestFreaks: 10/10
GameZone: 9.6/10
GamesRadar: 9/10

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