Preview: Gears of War 2

Gears of War 2 is set to explode onto shelves. We give you a sneak peek!

One of the best games in 2006 would easily be Gears of War, a tactical third-person action game taking place on the planet Sera, a world much like Earth with a human population. With the fight taking place between the Locust Horde and the human armies, you take on the role of Marcus Fenix to bring the fight back.

Just barely two years after the release of the original Gears of War, we took the chance to sit down with a copy of Gears of War 2 and can now give you our impressions.

From what we played, Gears 2 is more of the same but still loads of fun. You’ll still play as Marcus and work on decimating the population of aliens hell bent on your destruction, but while the original game seemed more intent on making you work for the kill count, Gears 2 seems to be more concerned with making you a part of the show as if it was one giant attraction that you were riding on at Disneyland.

I won’t give you any spoilers as Microsoft didn’t really let us play past anything that tells you more about the story than the Wiki has to offer, suffice to say that the war against the Locust is still going on with the Horde now coming at you more aggresively. Your side of militant powers – the COG – decide to take it to the Locust themselves and after defending against an initial fight in the beginning, the story quickly heads to an onslaught underground.

In case you don’t remember how to play Gears of War, the game lets you learn the ropes if you want to straight off the bat. If you already know how to fire a weapon and lob a grenade, then head straight into the line of fire where you’ll defend a hospital as the Locust attacks and make your way to their own world.

Alongside this more developed story are graphics that look better than before as well as some AI that might be seen as a little too good. From where I was playing, it almost felt like you didn’t have to do anything at points and that the artificial intelligence held inside the Non-Playable Characters (NPC) was good enough to let you skate by with just enjoying yourself rather than really killing anything. You still had to make sure you didn’t die, but it wasn’t looking to be the tactical minefield that was the original.

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That said, the violence was there in full view. From landmines that crawl to using the half dead corpse of a bad guy as a shield while you fire a pistol all the way to the classic means of slicing and dicing with your main weapons’ chainsaw attachment, the goopy syrupy blood effects are all there. Spray and spatter is common and your red stained camera will be sitting heavy in the droplets while you’re enjoying yourself.

We’ve heard the rumours that the colours will be stronger as the Gears development team refines just how the Unreal Engine 3 works. Gears of War 2 now feels warmer with more reds and yellows and a lot more cinematic. I’m not sure if everyone will love it, but it certainly feels a lot more vibrant and less cold than it once did.

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Fans of the old game will love what we played and based on how some of the graphics were looking, they’ll adore seeing how the story plays itself out. I didn’t get time to go through the multiplayer but it looks like at least one new mode might make its way into the game giving all you multiplayer Gears nuts something else to turn those cogs before Gears 3 – if there is to be a Gears 3 – makes its way out.

Gears of War 2 is certainly shaping up to be a fun, explosive, and brilliant ride. Yes, it’s more of the same… but that’s not a bad thing. In fact it’s a freakin’ chainsaw-tastic thing.

Written by Leigh D. Stark



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