Currently Playing: Gears of War 2 (X360)

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I’ve had my experience in Gears of War when I was borrowing an Xbox360. And what can I tell you about it? It’s a much more satisfying experience than playing Unreal Tournament 3. Maybe because I’m just more of a single player cooperative with a story type of a person, but that’s my point of view. With the new one, what can I expect? Will Epic make a good game much better? Lets see.

Gears of War 2 is a third person shooter set in a futuristic world town down in war from the Locusts. The gameplay for most tradition first person shooters is still the same here, although the blocking aspect makes it feel different and more intense. The graphics used in the game is the proprietary Unreal Engine 3 which is made by Epic and being used by a lot of game developers right now.

The first thing I noticed is that the graphics really looks just the same as before. The detail is not much different, the models almost look identical. What stands out in this game? The massive levels look amazing. The first game usually offered something in close quarters, in towns with small corridors or maybe a building which you have to get into or caves which you need to explore. This one offers so much more, you venture through cities, you drive through forests, fly racing and fighting in the air and venture Locusts cities in vast areas. At some point it feels like an expansion because of how it looks the same, but at the same time, it looks so much magnificent compared to the previous game. If the first one feels like watching the first Transformers 2007 movie, Gears of War 2 feels like watching Lord of the Rings.

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The controls is pretty much the same as before, but it feels more refined because its easier to control you character now than the previous game. The previous game, I had problems with using the “cover” button because it did so many things which you can do accidentally. I hate it when suddenly I run towards an enemy when I was in a perfectly good cover when all I wanted to do was to to get to another good cover near me. Anyway, this time around, the changes are very subtle, but it seems more manageable. Doing a close combat kill is pretty much the same as before, but at least it’s more varied than before, they have more types of death blows to see in disgust or in absolute glory (which ever way you see it). I did enjoy close combat weapon battles though, its a simple game… press the button as fast as you can kind of thing, but it works fine. I enjoyed every moment of it.

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The music is amazing, so much better than the previous game. They actually employed Steve Jablonsky, who has done a lot of movie and video game soundtracks that sounds epic in scale. What do you expect from people who were under Hanz Zimmer at some point? Harry Gregson Williams came from him and Steve was also under Hanz and Harry Gregson. His music from Command & Conquer Tiberium Wars and Transformers 2007 movie were very good, and his tracks from Gears 2 is just the same. The music can be listened alone without watching the action, it’s that good. But when playing the game, the action is so intense that the music only supports the visual intensity. It works so well, but it doesn’t stand out. I compared the music to the previous GOW soundtrack, it was surprisingly different, but it did take some cues from the original game.

The story stand out more now, it has a personal connection now than before. The original Gears of War 2 just focused on war against the Locusts, this time around, even though it’s the same thing, the second story revolves on Dom (the second character in the game), who is here only to fight to find his lost wife. The game is more interesting, and told much better, it does feel like a real war because of it. Even though I played more as Marcus Fenix, I did feel the urge to see what will happen with Dom most of the time. The ending doesn’t stand out much, but the end credits does take a little from Metal Gear Solid series (someone talking, hinting that there will be a next one). But don’t expect a story level as deep as Metal Gear… I don’t think any other game is trying anyway.

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After all the bells and whistles of what I have said, I haven’t even mentioned multiplayer. You can still play this game in Cooperative Mode, but with only 2 players. No this is not Halo 3 where you can have 4 at a time. Most of the game modes are very traditional, but what stood out is the Horde mode. Basically, 6 players can get together and try survive waves and waves of enemies. The idea is simple, and has been done many times over, but not in multiplayer. It plays wonderfully especially when you can talk to everyone through XboxLive. Talking to players gives more intensity and helps more with the strategy and the waves or enemies gets a little harder and more challenging. I admit, I haven’t gotten very far doing horde mode, but I did play it up to the halfway point on hardcore and it was very satisfying. Even if it had no achievements, the game is still so much fun that you can forget the time that you’ve been playing for so many hours.

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The game feels refined, it looks like an epic game, the music sounds better, the story is also good and the multiplayer is addicting. What more can I ask for? Me actually owning a game, yes, now I’m considering buying one for myself even though I have finished the game. The online gaming aspect of it is wonderfully made. This is one for the collections and worth getting.

This game is now available at Gamehopper, you can TRY or BUY the game. Php599 for a monthly fee to receive 1 game at a time (play the game as long as you like and exchange it at any time for no additional fees), nationwide deliveries (Philippines only).

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