Gears of War 2 Review for Xbox 360

On: Xbox 360

It's hard to describe the feeling you'll get after finishing Epic Games' highly anticipated Gears of War 2. For the best part of ten hours you'll have had barely a moment's peace as Marcus and co pummel the seemingly unstoppable Locust army with a ridiculous amount of lead. The more sedate moments would be the climax in lesser games, with the many show stopping set pieces and events setting a new bar for interactive entertainment. Following the most successful original Xbox 360 game of all time was going to be hard, and it seems Epic wanted to make sure no one was left disappointed.

Gears 2 is like every summer blockbuster of note rolled into one extraordinary package. We don't want to spoil anything for you (believe us - it's hard not to talk about some of the amazing moments in the game), but it's safe to say that you'll be playing through levels that could only have come from the minds of geniuses or the mentally deranged. Apart from one short sequence that didn't excite as much as we'd have liked, every chapter in the five-act campaign delivers the goods and makes putting down the controller incredibly hard.

As Marcus Fenix you'll be slamming into cover in Sera's cities and towns, underground caves, on board boats and more. There's a tonne of variety too, including some insanely cool on-rails sections and sweet rides. The final level is both a stunning sight to behold and what every Gears fan has wanted to do since the first game. If you thought you'd seen all the Gears series had to offer, think again - you ain't seen nothing yet. There are moments in Gears 2 that you'll want to replay immediately, make you grin from ear to ear and stare at your TV in disbelief.

In co-op the experience is even better (and you have someone to turn to with an 'OMG' expression on your face when all Hell breaks loose), with team-work being essential on the harder difficulty settings. It's still only two players, but we never felt that we wanted there to be more despite our initial disappointment that four player co-op wasn't supported. As before, there's local split-screen, system link and online support, so unless you really have no friends at all, you should be able to play through Gears 2 how it was intended. And, in a new addition, each player will be able to pick their own difficulty - adjusting weapon damage and hit points accordingly.

You'll face enemies both big and small

You'll face enemies both big and small

Of course, the core gameplay remains as it was, with Marcus being more or less a moving target with 'shoot me' stuck to his back unless he's in cover. Controls are as they were, but moving into and out of cover seems tighter than in the original and there are fewer occasions where he doesn't do what you expect. Your melee attacks (including the trusty chainsaw) are mapped to B, active reload (enabling you to reload quicker and gain slight weapon perks) is once again RB, and you can interact with various switches and revive fallen buddies with X. If you didn't like the gameplay in the first game you won't like it here, but existing fans will love the subtle tweaks to the cover system.

More significant are the new weapons you'll find in Gears 2, the introduction of portable cover and the assortment of new enemies. Our favourite new weapon is the flame thrower, able to turn Locust into glowing bags of meat, with longer range being awarded for a successful active reload. Enemies carrying the weapon are incredibly dangerous, but target their fuel tank and they explode with quite a bang. Something else that you don't want to be stood next to for too long is a Ticker. Unless you shoot them from a distance they'll run up and explode, more than likely taking you to near death - a position from which you can crawl to safety in the hope that a team mate will rescue you, or else you'll die.

Other new enemies include Locust riding on horse-sized mounts and a brutish flail-swinging monstrosity that carries a shield. You can actually pick up and use this guy's shield, giving you portable cover, although you're limited to your pistol weapon when doing so. Still, it adds a new element to the gameplay and makes you feel like even more of a bad ass. If there are no shields lying around, fear not, as you can grab a fallen enemy and use him as a meat shield - although it seems that the Locust don't care all that much about the safety of their own kind.

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edandrea's Avatar

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: 863 49
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