Gears Of War 2Gears of War 2 is a third-person shooter video game developed by Epic Games with lead design by Cliff Bleszinski, and published by Microsoft Game Studios for the Xbox 360. It is the second installment of the Gears of War series. The game was officially released in North America, Europe and Australia on November 7, 2008 and was released in Japan on July 30, 2009. The game expands technically on the previous game by using a heavily modified Unreal Engine 3 engine. The development team also brought in comic book writer Joshua Ortega to help write the plot for the game.
In Gears of War 2, the COG continues its fight against the Locust horde, who are attempting to sink all of the cities on the planet Sera. Sergeant Marcus Fenix leads Delta Squad into the depths of the planet to try to stop the Locust during the assault upon Locust territory. The player controls Fenix in the main mission campaign, with the ability to play cooperatively with a second player controlling Fenix's best friend and fellow Squad member Dominic "Dom" Santiago. The game includes several existing and new multiplayer modes including five-on-five battles between human and Locust forces, and a "Horde" mode that challenges up to five players against waves of Locust forces with ever-increasing strength. New weapons and gameplay mechanics such as "chainsaw duels" and the ability to use downed foes as "meatshields" were added to the game.
On its release weekend, Gears of War 2 sold over two million copies, and within two months of release, had sold four million copies. It was the seventh best selling video game of 2009 and received several accolades. The game received similar praise as its predecessor, with the new gameplay and multiplayer modes seen as outstanding additions.
Gears Of War 2 PlotAs Gears of War 2 begins, the COG army is mobilizing to send forces into the depths of Sera to assault the Locust directly. The COG deploy several units into the Locust Tunnels, known as 'The Hollow', despite sustaining heavy casualties. Delta squad, consisting of Marcus Fenix, Dom Santiago, Benjamin Carmine and later Augustus Cole, continues to search the Hollow and discovers that the Locust are using a giant Riftworm to sink the human occupied cities. The Locust plan to destroy the rock structures at the outskirts of Jacinto, the last major Human city, in hopes of sinking it into the ground.
Delta Squad kills the Riftworm before it can sink Jacinto and returns to the surface. They are ordered to investigate a nearby abandoned COG outpost where they encounter experimented creatures of unknown origin and learn of a back door entrance to the Hollow in the nearby Kadar Mountains. They find prisoner cages and Dom convinces Marcus that Maria (Dom's wife) must be inside one of them. They manage to find her, but the Locust imprisonment has left her severely disfigured and traumatized, unable to communicate. Faced with the nigh-vegetative state Maria is in, Dom reluctantly chooses to euthanize her. Marcus and Dom then charge into the Locust stronghold.
Inside, Delta Squad discovers the Locust Horde is locked in a civil war against the "Lambent," or a group of Locust who have been exposed to Imulsion. They decide to destroy both the Locust and Lambent forces by detonating a bomb under Jacinto, which will sink the city and flood the Locust tunnels. Marcus and Dom battle their way through the Locust tunnels, while Cole and Baird use a helicopter to transport a bomb into the cavern. A Lambent creature destroys the bomb before it can be detonated. Marcus improvises by using a satellite targeting solution to bombard the creature with an orbital laser, which causes it to violently explode. Jacinto begins to sink and sea-water to floods into the sinkhole and destroys the remaining Locust forces. As the COG forces and civilians evacuate, a voiceover of the Locust Queen talks about unintended legacies. After the credits, a last voice over of Adam Fenix is heard, a radio transmission of a call for help, and a cry of desperation, revealing he is still alive.
Gears Of War 2 GameplayGears of War 2 is a third person shooter with an emphasis on the tactical use of cover, and retains much of the same gameplay from the first game. The player, playing as either Marcus or Dominic in the campaign mode, or as any of the human or Locust characters in multiplayer mode, can only carry a pistol, one type of grenade, and two other weapons at any time, though they may swap these for weapons found in strategic locations or left by downed foes or fallen allies. Each weapon can be used for normal fire as well as for melee attacks; the game's signature Lancer, an assault rifle mounted with a chainsaw bayonet for its melee, can be used to instantly kill foes. The game introduces the ability to engage in chainsaw duels should the player attempt to chainsaw an opponent also using the Lancer; the player is presented with a controller button to press rapidly to try to win the duel and avoid death. Gears of War 2 rebalances the power of the existing weapons while introducing five new ones: a flamethrower, a chain gun, a mortar cannon, a "Gorgon" Pistol, and the Ink Grenade. The chain gun and the mortar are heavy weapons, forcing the player to move at walking speed while carrying it in both hands. The Gorgon Pistol is an SMG-like machine pistol that fires four four-shot bursts per magazine. The Ink Grenade doesn't damage with its detonation, but instead temporarily poisons the area it was thrown, making it very useful for driving enemies out of cover. Grenades can be planted on walls or floors as proximity traps that go off when an enemy nears, but only fragmentation grenades have the ability to kill foes when they go off.
The player's health is represented by a red "Crimson Omen" that fades onto the screen the more damage the player takes; staying out of the line of fire allows the player to recover their health. Depending on the game mode or difficulty, if the player takes too much damage, they enter a downed state where they can crawl around the map to get out of battle and seek help. During this time, a teammate can revive him, an enemy may brutally execute the downed player, or the player may bleed out if too much time has passed. The player can also grab a downed character and use them as a meatshield, allowing the body to absorb damage but forcing the player to use a one-handed pistol. Explosive weapons will simply destroy the character they strike. Like its predecessor, Gears of War 2 features an optional mature content filter, which, when active, makes blood appear as sparks and removes harsh language from the dialogue. Furthermore, progress towards most of the Xbox achievements for the game can be earned in either campaign or multiplayer modes.
ReceptionGears of War 2 received wide critical acclaim. It currently holds a 93.32% aggregate review score at Game Rankings, and a 93/100 from the aggregate review website Metacritic.
While the game has been praised for the addition of a deeper plot than the original Gears of War and being highly polished, reviewers noted that the multiplayer experience did not resemble the previous game especially in its quick pace and enjoyability. IGN noted that while the first four acts of the game were satisfying, in the final act "the last boss is a complete joke and the ending feels just a tad too abrupt," and that there were some bugs and lag in the online multiplayer. Overall, IGN stated that " has its flaws when it comes to the technical side of multiplayer and the last act of the campaign and the voice acting might turn some off. Still, none of that comes close to holding back Gears of War 2 from its destiny: being one of the best games available on the Xbox 360." Also, even though the new plot was praised, critics such as Official Xbox Magazine scrutinized the game's middle acts saying that most of the plot "falls flat."
Both IGN and Eurogamer, among others, positively mentioned the new "Horde Mode" feature, with Eurogamer saying that "Horde is a weighty slab of fun that can turn almost any of them into a time-sink, and the leaderboards are likely to be as compelling a reason to stick with Gears of War 2 as the leveling system has been for Call of Duty 4: Modern Warfare." X-Play praised the game for its "polished cover system" and cooperative campaign mode. X-Play also praised the new weapons and characters and its "brilliant" multiplayer experience. Game Informer called the single-player campaign "satisfying" and called the co-op campaign amazing and goes on to call online multiplayer "an outstanding contrast to team deathmatch or capture-the-flag scenarios."
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