Michael Bay, eat your heart out. This is the game you wish you had made.
Gears of War 2 does everything the first one did, only bigger, louder and better.
DO: Shoot, run, drive, fly and chainsaw your way through hundreds of the Locust Horde across a variety of awesome set piece battles.
TYPE: 3rd Person Cover-Based Shooter
PLATFORM: Xbox 360
MEAT: Gears of War 2 is the leaner, sleeker version of Gears of War. The cover system that defined the original game has been tweaked so that Marcus will stick to things he should stick to and jump/run/dive when the situation calls for it. The story has also been beefed up significantly in this installment. It won’t win any awards but it has enough meat to give a somewhat plausible justification as to why Marcus and his crew of thick-necked soldiers keep getting into the crazy situations they find themselves in. Gears 2 is the epitome of a summer action movie distilled into a game. Explosions abound, the stakes are high and only the hero and his giant chainsaw/gun can save the day. It works great as a way to relax your brain if you’re playing headier fare like Valkyria Chronicles or Fallout 3. Just point and shoot and wait for something to go BOOM.
PERKS: Chainsaw duels; riding a variety of ‘vehicles’; giant boss fights; a variety of multiplayer modes, including the awesome 5-man Horde co-op mode.
SCREAMS: For more chainsaw duels in the story campaign; a few less underground segments.
Verdict: Buy (esp. if you want the 5 classic Gears maps). As someone who got bored of Gears 1 about 2/3rds of the way through the singleplayer campaign, I went into Gears 2 with some trepidation. Suffice it to say, Gears 2 had me hooked from start to finish and wishing it wouldn’t end. The fantastic Horde mode helps to extend the life of the game significantly and the classic multiplayer modes are all fairly fun, at least for this gamer who doesn’t play a tonne of multiplayer things. Now hurry up and get Gears 3 out so we can see where the story goes from here!