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.
I was pretty impressed by the original Gears of War, it was totally cliche in every way but the gameplay was fun and it was decently challenging on the higher difficulties, plus it had online cooperative play. When Gears of War 2 first came out in late 2008, I played the first few levels of it with my brother-in-law, I would have first houred it right then and there if I had been playing alone, but it’s no fun for the other guy to take notes while playing (see Zombies Ate My Neighbors for a real life example of that).
But the opportunity has come again for me to formally play it, I don’t remember much so hopefully it will be a fresh experience all over again. For those unfamiliar, the Gears of War series is a third person, cover based shooter starring a bunch of football linebackers with giant guns and chainsaws. It’s bloody and nasty, but can be downright fun and a little frightening at times.
So here we go, the first hour of Gears of War 2, let’s see if it stacks up to the first hour of the original.