By Thomas McKinnon 27 November 2008


The Gears of War series is set to become a veritable action gaming institution with the first in the series firmly entrenched in the hearts of gamers as a classic. Gears of War 2 will undoubtedly follow suit. This is not a game that grows on you, it doesn’t have hidden features that covert you once discovered, but rather you will love it from the moment you first pick up the controls.

The amazing graphics, cinematic presentation, and solid cover system that made the original a classic are still there. But GOW2 introduces fresh weapons, adversaries, and environments; creating a challenging, yet genially familiar experience. Flamethrowers, mortar, and portable Mulcher turrets add to the assortment of weapons you can use, 17 in total, but new enemies such as machete-wielding Butchers, Mulcher carrying Grinders and suicide bombers known as Tickers offer new challenges while environmental factors such as razor hail create a more authentic campaign experience.

Better still, throughout the engrossing 10 hour campaign mode, which you can do solo or co-op, you are thrown into a far more complex plot than that experienced in the original. Marcus Fenix and his squad take the fight to the Locust Horde, survival being central to the game. Interwoven into the grand plot there is a wider range of character emotions with family, love and loss sub-themes permeating what could become droning stop-and-pop gun battles.

The game’s defining feature however is its multiplayer modes. As many as ten players can participate simultaneously in seven different modes. The old favourites are still there with Warzone, Execution, Annex, King of the Hill and Assassination. There is also Wingman, Submission and Horde on offer. Execution is awesome as you make use of a range of new melee attacks, chainsaw duels being the more exciting, to defeat your enemies.

It is the Horde mode however that will cause you to lose count of hours on the clock. Up to five players can cooperate to survive 50 waves of Locust attacks. With every ten waves survived you are confronted with more enemies that double their accuracy, damage and health in what is the most enjoyable and challenging game mode we have come across this year.

There can never be enough said about GOW2, our only advice is that you revise you Christmas wish list if it is not already on it.

The graphics are outstanding and exciting new multiplayer modes and weapons keep it fresh.
The vehicle control system is a bit tough to master and the plot tries to get too deep.

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