Gears of War 2

Gears of War 2
Gears of War 2 Cover
Platforms Xbox 360
Genre Same old shooter
Score 6  Clock score of 6
Buy from Amazon

There's a bit of a parallel with the games I've been playing lately. Super Mario Galaxy 2 and Gears of War 2 are both sequels to games released this generation, and at first glance, appear to be essentially re-releases of the first game with a new shine. Where the parallels end though is that while Super Mario Galaxy 2 has a ton of new features, Gears of War 2... does not.

I'm honestly surprised, a bit blown away actually, by how little Epic Games bothered to improve on the original Gears of War game. Gears of War 2 supposedly added five weapons, but only one really stands out. There might also be some new enemies, but as they're all so butt ugly and A.I.-dumb it doesn't really matter. There are a bunch of new locations, but everything is still all brown and gray with some city levels and underground levels.

Gears of War 2 is really just Gears of War 1.1.

That doesn't necessarily mean it's all bad, the original Gears of War was a very fun game with great gameplay. But I already played that game three years ago, I kept waiting and waiting for the game to finally throw something new at me, and while it finally did at the end, it was too little, too late.

Here's my review of Gears of War 2, I'll note that the first hour of the game was a successful beginning and convinced me to play on, but I saw the writing on the wall even that early that things weren't going to change too much.


Gameplay: 7
It's still good old Gears of War gameplay with some new guns and bad guys, but I was really expecting something more. I wanted the game to throw a wrench in part of the gameplay and really mix things up, but it never, ever did that. This is a game that takes no chances.

Things finally do get a little bit more exciting near the end and you're forced to try out some new techniques on vehicles, but you're still just shooting at bigger enemies. Yes, I know, this is a third-person shooter. You shoot things. You shoot a lot of things, for that matter, but I wanted something more. And no, more does not mean more switches to pull and buttons to step on. Epic, that does not make your shallow game more interesting.

Gears of War 2 Marcus Locust Chainsaw

Fun Factor: 6
At about 10 hours in length, Gears of War 2 really starts feeling repetitive after a while. The game is spread across five chapters and each chapter is a different environment, but there's really not a lot of variety in each area. Stuff starts to drag on, and since the designers thought it would be fun to throw in cutscenes of giant men spewing awful dialogue every few minutes, I just trudged on as quickly as possible.

But playing Gears of War 2 is kind of like controlling Marcus Fenix in the game. He's big, slow, and carries a big stick. The game plods along at a pretty slow pace as you move slowly from point A to point B, and then all of a sudden something huge happens and now you've moved on to the next chapter.

I don't mean to exaggerate too much, shooting stuff is fun, especially since the guns are pretty accurate and everything explodes into messy bits oh-so satisfyingly. The locust baddies get torn apart by my chainsaw or have their heads smashed into the curb, and it never gets old. Well, the ultra-violence never really gets old, but the long range battles and monotonous encounters do.

Graphics and Sound: 7
Still gorgeous, I guess, but I've grown a little old on the Unreal Engine 3. Yeah, it was amazing in Gears of War, but after seeing games using the engine that actually have the primary colors in their palette (besides red, that is), I can't help but want more.

Something about this game got me really annoyed at Marcus' voice, and I actually started growing a bit on Dom. Odd, I know it.

Gears of War 2 Marcus Tai Carmine

Story: 3
Essentially just a rehash of the first game where first you're in a city area, then you go underground, then you come back up and do stuff outside again. That's your story. In between Marcus and his gang of giants talks about how much they hate the locusts and how much they miss Dom's wife. The writing is atrocious but I was impressed that they actually tried to tell a bit of a story concerning Dom. One of my heartstrings was pulled for a minute, I will admit.

Anyways, Gears of War 2 is really just a set up for Gears of War 3, there's no real final boss, and everyone who's a bad guy and has a name runs off when the going gets tough. There are no twists in this game, unless you're surprised like me that Epic didn't seem to care about this game much.

The protagonist cast of characters is exactly the same as the first game too, exactly. Marcus, Dom, Baird, and Cole. There you go, you've met them all.

Overall: 6
Maybe I'm a bit more jaded than I was when I played the original back in 2007, but the same old game just doesn't do it for me anymore. While it's still an above average game, unless you really want to know where the series is going, you've probably already played Gears of War 2 in some other form.