Gears of War 2 Review for Xbox 360

On: Xbox 360
The visuals are constantly jaw dropping
The visuals are constantly jaw dropping

The visuals are constantly jaw dropping

Two of the new weapons, the Mulcher and Mortar, will probably be like Marmite to a lot of Gears fans, seeing as they're incredibly powerful, but leave Marcus quite exposed. The Mulcher is planted on top of cover and unleashes a torrent of bullets that rip straight through the Locust, whereas the Mortar is placed in the open and fires a deadly wave of devastating attacks onto a wide area of the battlefield. The Mortar isn't the easiest weapon to use, requiring some careful thought to set the required distance, but its effects are worth the effort, especially when faced with enemies like Reavers and Brumaks.

Epic has certainly tried to make the story in Gears 2 more emotional and engaging, and it is, but it's still more Armageddon than The Matrix in terms of depth. Marcus and the accompanying COGs from the first game are more rounded this time and at least one of the unresolved story threads from the original is tied up here - which, for Gears, is quite a moving and well directed moment. There are surprises aplenty and more loose ends to tie up, but that's what the third game is for, right? You do thankfully get a conclusion of sorts, giving some form of closure to the conflict on Sera, but we wouldn't say it's over.

When Gears of War 2 was announced there was a feeling that Epic would struggle to better the already impressive visuals seen in the first game - in fact, some even claimed that the original was about the best the Xbox 360 was capable of. Well, they were wrong, in a big way. Gears 2 is without doubt the most impressive-looking console game we've ever seen. Every scene is packed with detail, the environments look like they've been lovingly crafted (no blocky indentikit objects here) and the general art design is incredible. There are standard enemies in Gears 2 that would be climactic bosses in your average shooter and more detail in each area than you're able to take in - we spent a lot of time wandering about in awe, making sure we took it all in before moving on to a new section.

It's a real assault on the senses from the word go, with a pitch perfect musical score to accompany the visceral on-screen action. The chainsaw might not be new, but it's still one of the best melee weapons of all time - so much so that you'll probably get carried away and go on a chainsaw massacre without a care for your survival, although we reckon one section in the game was designed for exactly this purpose. You just want to carve things up and listen to the sweet sound of Locust dying. It really is hard to knock the production values here. Epic has even included plenty of replay value by dotting war journals around each area, giving you background info on the conflict. You even get updates on how you're progressing towards Achievements. We're struggling to think of what else we'd want to see.

5v5 multiplayer and five-player co-op Horde will keep you playing for months

5v5 multiplayer and five-player co-op Horde will keep you playing for months

Multiplayer came as quite a nice surprise in the original Gears, and Epic has really improved all areas for the sequel. The Player count has risen to five per team over four in the original, there are new game modes (the five teams of two Wingman mode and human capture the flag Submission mode being particular favourites), a five-player co-op mode called Horde, bot support and a brand new party system that makes playing with friends even easier. We know Gears of War multiplayer isn't as universally appealing as something like Halo 3 or CoD4 (although a multiplayer training mode should help novices get to grips with the basics), but for fans of the original this is a big improvement.

By far the best multiplayer mode is Horde, a five-player co-op mode in which you need to survive against wave after wave of Locust nasties on the multiplayer maps. It's intense stuff and requires you to work well as a team if you're going to reach the higher levels. Thankfully the game saves your progress too, so there's no need to start from level one each time you play with your friends. If two-player campaign co-op was the original game's key feature, Horde is Gears 2's surprise selling point - chances are you'll be playing for months to come.

Some people will no doubt criticise Gears of War 2 for what it's not. It's not as emotionally deep as other games on the market, it's not a 30 hour + epic and it's not art in video game form, but is arguably the greatest action game ever created. In a year full of incredible games, Gears of War 2 sits triumphantly at the very top.

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edandrea

While Gears of War 2 is a great single player game and deserves a 10, on-line is where it suffers miserably I give it a 7 only because of horde. I actually purchased the Xbox 360 for the Gears series but sadly on-line made it so frustrating that i sold the xbox 360 and games. Even more salt was added to the wound when epic and MS constantly fail to go public on a botched muti-play game. As for me good enough is no longer good. I hope Killzone 2 will be the game everyone claims it will be... GREAT!!!
Posted 00:16 on 15 February 2009
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LOL

WOW this game gets a 10 while KZ2 gets a 9???? The FIX IS IN LADIES AND GENTLEMEN haha cmon guys honestly stuff like this is just blatant. You even had the nerve to say in the Killzone 2 review that gears 2 was BETTER than kz2 and that halo 3 multiplayer is BETTER. LOL this is pretty pathetic takes alot of your credibility away. I actually had you guys bookmarked but it got deleted.
Posted 05:30 on 03 February 2009
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rico_rico

best games i ever played
Posted 18:21 on 20 January 2009
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dasboot19

how do i play 2player hord offline?
Posted 02:20 on 14 January 2009
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TURBO_RAD

BEST GAME EVA
Posted 12:13 on 03 January 2009
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adie

ive got this game and it is the best game on 360.
Posted 22:16 on 29 December 2008
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Leckz

Game is AMAZIN!! Iwas overly impressed with GOW1 but this i is taking da P*ss!! Its the greatest game ever!! I luvd the opening to the game... NICE WORK!!!
Posted 12:14 on 01 December 2008
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Leckz

I had to sell my PS3 so i could get an exbox to pget this game!! Was it worth it....? DEFINITELY!!!!!
Posted 12:13 on 01 December 2008
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TRBO RAD

this is to SHiny_Dragon don't worry had the same problems with my system 2 what a pain every game would make my 360 overheat and quit wrkn then i called microsoft got it fixed for free and no problems since and its been 2 months strongly recommend you do this too
Posted 05:29 on 28 November 2008
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TRBO RAD

This game is BEYOND AMAZING to say the least i bout it as soon as it hit shelves an don't regret the money i spent everything about this game rox my sox and i will cherish it forever....the campaign is great more enemies and more depth which was much needed, the first was great but just a tad repetitive but this corrects all the problems the first had (which wasn't many) the best thing is the multiplayers use of computer players which is great...but the new more u get shot the slower u r really puts u at a disadvantage when ur playing against stron opponents but makes the game more realistic.
Posted 05:26 on 28 November 2008
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Shiny_Dragon

I shall get it soon..assuming my 360 doesnt RROD on me again. In their defence at least PS3 owners have a console that doesnt melt in a warm breeze (devils advocacy)!
Posted 12:41 on 26 November 2008
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CAPS LOCK

PS3 is for PUNKS!!!

GEARS OF WAR 2 IS HARD 2 THE CORE BABY!!!
Posted 21:20 on 22 November 2008
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boom

gears 2 shoves a shot gun up LBP'S a$$
Posted 19:02 on 20 November 2008
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Fred

Hmm the online has problems, yet it still got a 10 for review? Doesn't make sense at all.
I think Tom needs to be re-trained :P lol

But atleest Epic are finally fixing it.
Posted 15:12 on 19 November 2008
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Danish Khan

What a review.
Posted 22:33 on 14 November 2008

Game Stats

Technical Specs
Gears of War 2
10
Out of 10
Gears of War 2
  • Hugely improved multiplayer
  • The most intense combat we've ever played
  • Jaw dropping visuals
  • Hardly a dull moment
Agree? Disagree? Get Involved!
Release Date: 07/11/2008
Platform: Xbox 360
Developer: Epic Games
Publisher: Microsoft
Genre: Action
No. Players: 1-10
Rating: BBFC 18
Site Rank: 1,007 123
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