Review by knukkles
Like B.I.G. said, "Take it back to the factory"
Gears of War was among one of the greatest games to ever grace the 360, so it was pretty much expected that a sequel would be in the works. Unfortunately, sequels have a strong tendency of bombing horrifically when done incorrectly. It really saddens me that Cliffy B has allowed this game to be the sequel to Gears of War. There are so many problems with the multiplayer alone that it makes me want to return to my Playstation 2 and Gamecube games. The game does shine in certain parts though such as the campaign and its graphics, however the multiplayer is unbelievably frustrating and makes you want to snap the disc after a couple of matches.
The campaign is one of the game's few strong points and it really gives you more knowledge about the characters. You learn what happens to Dom's wife, what happens to Jacinto, the Locust's own internal civil warfare and the existence of the Locust Queen. The game definitely gives the player knowledge about what is really happening on the Planet Sera. But, it feels as though the campaign gameplay is lacking. There are definitely a few epic boss battles (no pun intended), such as the *SPOILER ALERT* Leviathan fight underground and the endgame Brumak fight *END SPOILERS*. What was really dissappointing was how the game made you fight Skorge. In the fight, you basically hide behind cover until you go into a chainsaw duel. I don't know about you guys, but I thought I bought a shooter, not a chainsawer (if that's even a genre). The same goes for the Leviathan fight and when you kill the Riftworm, you basically chainsaw its limbs and toss grenades in its mouth. This dependency on the chainsaw branches off into multiplayer unfortunately. Aside from the fact that the campaign gameplay feels a little lacking, the campaign is great so a 7/10 it is.
The graphics in this game are really amazing. But graphics do not make a game now do they? The environments are incredibly well detailed and the multiplayer maps look amazing. Playing on maps like Gridlock and Flood make you feel like you are really exploring a war-torn world. The characters look great in the cutscenes and in actual play. I have yet to see one graphical issue as of yet, aside from the normal loading of the textures when the characters have no textures at the beginning of a round. I only wish that Epic put as much emphasis into the gameplay as they did the graphics.
Oh lord, here is where the game comes to an utter halt and completely turns into the devil incarnate. The multiplayer is so incredibly flawed, that I only play for achievements that I can barely get because of the constant quitting. Let's start with the ranking system. First of all it is way too small. I noticed not a long time ago that I was playing with this level 3 rank and I'm a level 3 rank. This guy ran around the whole time chainsawing and getting killed every round (we were playing Guardian). Now I was actually getting kills with weapons such as the shotgun, pistol and scorcher. At the end I had around 10 kills and he had 3...would you really say that we are of equal rank? I think not. Another thing about the rank system is how you can lose your rank in the stupidest ways. I was playing a private mach with my friend and I beat him, the game then preceded to demote him. Does that really make any sense? Does playing a private match really test your skill? So if I'm correct, you could possibly boost your rank up in private with 5-9 other friends. Ok...next up is the connection BS that goes on during game. When I'm playing public matches, 80% of the time (no exaggeration), people are either disconnected before they get into the lobby or they quit out some time between the voting processes and midgame. The connection is basically randomly selected by one host being randomly selected. So basically if your connection is crap and you host...the game will lag. And as for quitters, the penalty for quitting is not nearly enough because people quit ALL THE TIME. Seriously, people should lose their rank if they quit because there is NO excuse for leaving mid game. What you didn't like the map or game mode? That's too bad, you won't always get your way. The lag is also insanely bad some times because people standby so often. Epic should really just set up servers so that no one is host and has complete control over the outcome of the game. When you do actually get a full game with a decent connection, the game isn't so bad...but that rarely happens. Look at this wall of text I have and I have even't begun with the gameplay...which happens to be next.
The gameplay from Gears of War to Gears of War 2 has taken a U-turn for the worse. I honestly didn't see anything wrong with Gears 1 gameplay except for the host shotgun, which is still evident in this game. So now you have a bunch of features that appeal to noobs and make veterans want to snap their disc. First let's start with how much emphasis they put on the lancer/hammerburst. The stopping power in this game from those weapons are ridiculous. I understand the concept...but seriously it slows down gameplay WAY too much. Next is the chainsaw/melee. In Gears 1, when you shot someone who tried to chainsaw you or melee you, they would flinch (as I like to call it). However, neither the chainsaw nor the melee can be stopped. You can literally put one pointblank shotgun shell into a chainswer's chest and guess who dies? Well unless you oneshotted that noob, your headed for the butcher block. Another thing they did was weaken the shotgun? Why? That obviously didn't stop people from using it because I still see experienced players running around two piecing and killing people. Ugh...this game is just one big disappointment.
Final Grade: 6/10
This game definitely has a few things going for it such as it's graphics and it's campaign. But the gameplay and multiplayer is so frustrating and the concepts are so backwards that the game becomes a test of patience rather than a test of skill. How much quitting can you take? How much chainsawing can you take? How much lagging can you take before you break your TV and snap your Gears 2?
Rating: 3.0 - Fair
Product Release: Gears of War 2 (US, 11/07/08)
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