Gears of War 2: back to war

In this second installment of the acclaimed Gears of War game series, you are once more a member of the Cog army facing down the enemies of humanity known as the Locus. In this sequel to the original Gears of War, the Locus grew stronger since your attack on them in the first game. As a result, the Locus multiplied and different types began to appear.

This sequel features a much needed improvement to the storyline with characters who seem much more human, displaying a greater range of emotions than those found in the original game. Along with a greater amount of story and improved characters, a number of other additions made an already solid game all the better. With the improved storyline comes the game’s biggest flaw. Once the bullets stop flying and all calms down, you are still left with way too many loose ends. More than likely, the game’s designers left it that way for yet another Gears game.

There was considerable improvement to the cover and blind fire system, enabling better control. The improvements to the cover system in the game allow for players to hug much closer against walls and various other forms of cover. This prevents many of the stray hits and kills that occurred in the first game. The game flows more quickly and smoothly thanks to the improvements made to the blind fire system. It enables you not to waste as much time taking aim and instead fire wildly, pushing the Locus back when needed.

The original Gears of War was marked as one of the most violent and gory games to date. The addition of the execution system for downed enemies, initiating a different execution style for each lettered button on the Xbox controller makes it unlikely that the series will lose that reputation. Hitting A enables you to use a downed enemy as a shield to protect you from enemy fire. Pressing B initiates the quick kill; using the back of your gun, you crush your opponent’s head in. The X button causes you to curb-stomp the enemy, while Y triggers the extended execution style. The problem with the extended kill style is, once it starts, you can’t do anything to defend yourself. If you’re not careful, you may find yourself down and frantically crawling for help.

The weapons system, while not getting a complete overhaul, did get some minor tweaks that make gameplay easier. In other words: no fear, the chainsaw-equipped assault rifle remains a main staple in the game, so go forth and hack your enemies to pieces. On a more serious note, beyond the addition of a flame thrower and heavier weapons like a grinder and mortar, the only real difference is the balance of the guns. This minor (but needed) tweak enables quicker targeting and better all-around gun movement.

Another much more obvious change is the utter overhaul to the revival system. In the first game in the series, once downed you had to wait around and hope that one of your teammates would stop by and be nice enough to revive you. In this installment of the game, that is no longer an issue. By tapping A you can crawl toward your teammates in a desperate attempt to avoid becoming someone’s meat shield.

The online play for the game gained four additional play modes: horde, submission, wingman and guardian. Horde pits yourself and four other brave Gears of the Cog Army against wave after wave of attacking Locus. This mode of play is by far the most addicting, as players push themselves to improve upon their previous best survival. Submission is an interesting take on capture the flag. In this mode, the flag is a civilian that you have to capture and use as a meat shield. The only catch is that your flag is hostile and carries a gun, shooting at any opponents that get close. Wingman pits players in teams of two. The main point is that the teammates work together, reviving each other and working toward killing the enemy teams. Guardian pits two teams of five against each other, designating one member of each team as the team’s leader. The point of the game is to kill the other squad’s leader. Anyone but the squad leader can respawn after death an infinite number of times.

This is definitely a game that should be in everyone’s Xbox game library. Aside from its one flaw, this is a very solid game. The sheer amount of carnage you are capable of inflicting makes this one of the more fun recent releases for the Xbox.

Whim Score:
9.4/10

Check out the trailer!