I’ve just finished playing Gears Of War 2 on the XBox 360.
I usually avoid FPS games on the console because I am a Keyboard/Mouse player and cannot get used to the controller but someone who recently got a 360 wanted to lend it to me, so I thought I’d give it a go.
Like similar games I’ve seen on consoles and some PC games recently, Gears 2 uses a recovery system for injuries, so if you are injured (indicated by a blood red cog symbol fading in on your screen) you duck back into cover and the cog gradually fades out to indicate that you are recovering. If you don’t take cover eventually you are incapacitated and can only crawl slowly in an attempt to reach a comrade who can revive you. If you fail to do that in a brief period you will die, game over, reload from last checkpoint. So, I had a chance at survival with my poor controller skills 🙂
The visual style is great; from gritty, city streets under siege, to deep underground tunnels, and hidden complexes, as well as outside scenes in mountains and forests.
Audio is exceptional; well voiced characters, well placed atmospheric sound effects, and some booming weapon sounds, help to get you in the mood.
The AI is good; whilst most grunt enemies use cover, and pop out to fire at you, they occasionally ‘displace’ so you can’t wait for them to pop up again at the same point and fire. Some heavier enemies just walk straight at you, but this fits the style of the semi-mindless ‘tanks’.
Gameplay is pretty good; the variety of action really helps to change this game from what could have been a ‘shooter on rails’ to a fun challenge. You operate on foot on your own, with a partner, or with a small group, at different points. There are several vehicle sections, with some quite unique ‘vehicles’ later on 🙂 The choice of weapons allows for a range of tactical choices, from up close and personal to sniper range, with the ability to pick up dropped weapons so you can chop and change as required.
All in all, I had about 20 hours of fun running through this on normal mode. I’m strongly considering buying this and the first game to go back through it at a harder level.
Overall: Gears 2 gets an 8 out of 10 from me.