previewed on X360
Back in November of 2006, it seemed like the only thing on most people’s minds for future software was “When is Halo 3 ever going to come out?” The Xbox 360 had reached about a year of it’s lifespan and finally a game was released that could downright rival the success of the Halo series – that game was Gears of War. Brought to gamers by Epic Games, Gears of War introduced a pretty different way of looking at shooters with its intuitive control system, blood and gore set all the way to the max, and, of course, who could forget the introduction of the infamous chainsaw bayonet? Gears of War turned out to be a blockbuster hit and it has impressively reached a legacy of selling over 4.7 million copies. Therefore, it was pretty obvious that the announcement of Gears of War 2 would get the fans itching for more information.
Having been shown at events such as E3 and the Germany Games Convention, Gears of War 2 has already received a whole bunch of media attention and Epic Games has unveiled much anticipated information on this sequel. In a fall season already filled with some hugely anticipated releases, Gears of War 2 makes the season that much more satisfying.
More of a Story
In the original Gears of War, the game’s campaign was purely set on the action, gunplay, and how much blood could really spew out of a Locust body... with a story to tie it all up. Honestly, though, it seemed that more focus was put into the actual gameplay elements rather than the story. While this wasn’t a bad thing in anyway at all to the whole experience, I think gamers would have enjoyed more of an in-depth story into the key characters and insight into story progression. This year, Epic Games has notified this as one of their concerns for the sequel and actually have Josh Ortega, who is already well known for his previous work on comic books and graphic novels, as one of the writers for the story. Basically, the Locust are back to wreak havoc on mankind and have brought bigger, scarier forces than any of the human soldiers could have imagined. Apparently, the Lightmass Bomb launched at the Locust hive at the end of the first game was not successful in wiping out the Locust and is now affecting mankind with a disease called rust lung. Six years later, entire cities are being sunken with the countless Locust tunnels springing up around the planet and Jacinto seems to be the only place impervious to these sinkholes. It is here where Marcus Fenix, the rest of Delta Squad, and humanity must make their last stand against the oncoming force of terror.
Like the story, the characters are also getting a more in-depth treatment. For example, Dominic Santiago, one of Marcus' closest friends, was looking for his wife in the first Gears, but the story really didn’t go deeper than that. Gears of War 2 seeks to fill in some of the holes and possibly establish a deeper connection with the characters and the players. Delta Squad’s members, Marcus Fenix, Dominic Santiago, Damon Baird and Augustus Cole are all returning, and some new key characters are being introduced. At least Benjamin Carmine, Anthony Carmine’s brother (who had been brutally shot in the head by Locust sniper fire in the original), makes an appearance in Gears 2, as well as another Delta Squad member, Dizzy, a stranded truck driver.
The addition of new human characters as well as some terrifying additions to the Locust horde that will all hopefully make the single player campaign an even better experience. New Locust enemies such as the Ticker and new Boomer classes all have gone through some excellent designs and, as always, will prove a challenge to Marcus Fenix and his team.
A Bloodier Mess
Gears of War was and is one of the best third-person shooters out there for the Xbox 360 and that is all thanks to the gameplay elements that Epic Games had envisioned. Weapons in Gears 1 were all pretty awesome in their own rights, such as the chainsaw bayonet, the destructive Hammer of Dawn, and the entertaining Torquebow. Gears 2 gives gamers the chances to play with every original weapon again and some have even gone through some slight redesigns, like the Hammerburst which now looks more like an assault rifle and features more accurate fire and more of a punch. Grenades will also be more of a danger this time around as they now feature a concussive blast that will leave those in proximity stunned and unable to see. Combine that with the fact that any type of grenade can be stuck on walls and you have yourself a proximity grenade that’s sure to make good work of any unsuspecting passer-by.