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March 2, 2009 | by  | in Games |
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Gears of War 2

Welcome back fellow gamers. Yes, the team is back for 2009, with myself (Ryback) and the rest of the crew (and a few awesome new additions!) readying ourselves for another year of critical and deep analysis of the year’s upcoming games and related news.

Our first game this year is the highly anticipated Gears of War 2 (GOW2). Much hype surrounded this game with Xbox 360 fan bois proclaiming it to be the game to take down the PS3, and fair enough so. The first game was an instant classic. It was innovative and beautiful but most importantly it was fun and entertaining. So much so that my gaming homeboy and I, shinigami, decided to venture outside of our gaming dens and into the public gaming arena that is Old Boy Internet Cafe, to revisit that old aura of smelly teens basking in the fluorescent glow of computer monitors to test out this highly publicised game GOW2.

The challenge for Epic, the developers of GOW2, was to build on this foundation, and they have done it very well. They have improved on the first one enough so that gamers can feel that they are playing a new game, but kept all the personality of the first that made it so good. The most noticeable change is the weapons. They have kept the classics like the rifle with chainsaw but they have also included a variety of speciality weapons that you can equip, such as the “mulcher”. This gun brings the mo’fucken brutality to anything with flesh in its sight for maximum gore. Also featuring is the mortar, which lets you rain hellfire and brimstone down on your foes. Both weapons have their disadvantages of course, telling us that the developers had their thinking hats on, and making sure the game is balanced throughout.

The developers have also implemented a much darker storyline to the game while maintaining the hilarity of the dialogue and personalities of the characters from the first game. We watch and join in the emotional rollercoaster ride with Dom as he valiantly powers through locusts in the hope of finding his one love, Maria. We see a glimpse of love and concern for Anya’s safety from Marcus, a usually emotionless tough guy. We even see the tragic consequences of war on the sanity of ‘tough’ soldiers. The game portrays these characters not as the perfect war heroes as some may be led to believe, but very human characters sacrificing themselves for the human race.

Although some may consider it to be a tad corny, the great contrast of testosterone-fuelled bloodthirsty warriors and emotionally tortured guys is inspiring enough for me to want to kill more locusts until humanity is saved. We were both holding each other in our arms and weeping with sorrow and pure gaming emotion as Dom is finally reunited with his wife – with results we won’t spoil. We even needed to pause afterwards for a hug and a man chat.

There is also a good amount of variation in gameplay. An increase in destructible environments and the inclusion of the use of locust shields (and metal ones) is a nifty new feature. New vehicle missions have been included. Thankfully, Epic designed these well enough to ensure that they are challenging, and not just a bit of filler. A good bit of manoeuvring through hazards is required and the action gets absolutely ridiculous (in a good way) on some of the other ‘vehicle’ missions. There are so many explosions and chaos all around it’s hard to know what is even going on.

Actually, that sums it all up pretty well—there were times playing this game when it was hard to concentrate on what was going on, and we just had to hold on for dear life. Entire cities falling through the crust of the earth, awesome one-liners from two of the most bad ass characters in gaming, epic emotional intensity, sea monsters, massive worms, fighting inside massive worms… this game manages to cover a shitload. Ryback and shini advise that you grab a mate (this game should only be played co-op), go grab Gears of War 2, and play it till you can’t play it no more. It’s just that good.

Rating: 9/10

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