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Review: Gears of War 2

Soulskill posted more than 5 years ago | from the who-wants-toast!? dept.

Games 193

The original Gears of War was one of the most popular games of 2006, helping to solidify the Xbox 360's place in the console market. Since then, it's sold about 5 million copies. When word leaked out that a sequel was in the works, many wondered if Epic Games could reach the bar set by the first game. As it turns out, they could. Gears of War 2 will feel very familiar to those who have played its predecessor. Games often have a way of reinventing themselves as sequels come and go, but Epic stuck to the basics of what had already worked so well, and simply set about improving, polishing, and fleshing out the Gears world as much as they could. Read on for the rest of the review.

  • Title: Gears of War 2
  • Developer: Epic Games
  • Publisher: Microsoft Game Studios
  • System: Xbox 360
  • Reviewer: Soulskill
  • Score: 9/10

In the first game, humans on a planet called Sera were locked in a struggle against the Locust Horde — a group of misshapen humanoids and their monstrous pets and cohorts. The game's main character, Marcus Fenix, led a group of soldiers known as Delta Squad into the depths of the planet, where they left a very large bomb to try to demolish the source of the Locusts. As we learn in Gears of War 2, that didn't quite work out. The Locust Horde is back, literally digging humanity's last remaining cities out from underneath. Delta Squad's job is to head back into the caves and tunnels of the Locust stronghold and find a way to put a stop to it.

The game is played in third-person mode, usually looking over Fenix's shoulder as he moves throughout the world. Its focus for combat is on the cover system made popular by the first game. Get near a wall and tap a button, and you'll spin around and put your back to it. Using the aiming trigger, you'll peek past the corner, with a cross-hair showing where your bullets will go. You can take cover behind a large variety of objects; tables, half-walls, overturned cars, even mortally wounded enemies. It's very advantageous to take cover; the damage you sustain out in the open is often far too much for a "run-and-gun" style. Some types of cover are better than others; it's pretty funny to blast apart a rickety wooden table with your shotgun, leaving the enemy who was behind it scrambling to get away. You also get a selection of moves you can do from your covered position. You can hop over small barriers, dive from side to side, and shuffle quickly to another covered spot. The AI uses cover as well, and does so realistically for the most part. Enemies lose track of you if you're sneaky, and your teammates don't (typically) get themselves killed easily.

Weaponry in the game is varied and interesting. You have your standard shooter-game implements — handguns, machine guns, shotgun, sniper rifle — and then some flashier hardware as well — flamethrower, grenade launcher, mortar launcher, chain gun. You're also frequently given special weapons to use that are mounted to a platform or vehicle. Turrets, cannons, and volleys of rockets all make an appearance, and they're all quite fun to use. You also have your trusty chainsaw. In most games, a melee weapon is an afterthought; something to use when you've run out of ammo, but nothing more. Gears of War 2 gives you many opportunities to use your chainsaw, and occasionally for very impressive results. The selection of guns for typical room-to-room use is quite good. You can almost always use whichever gun feels best for the task at hand. Between that and the frequency with which special weapon missions are interspersed throughout the game, you really won't have a chance to get tired of a particular style of fighting.

Gears of War 2 maintains a strong focus on changing things up for the player. You'll very rarely find yourself fighting the same enemies for very long, or even fighting in the same way. It's clear that Epic consciously went about stitching together the levels in a way that wouldn't leave the player bored. You'll fight some grunts, then some more impressive enemies, then hop in a vehicle and defend it, or sometimes assault something that's in your way. You'll defend a base with a turret by shooting down incoming mortars, you'll split up the team and take turns covering each other as you move through separate areas, and one section of the game is almost like a platformer. Without spoiling too much, it isn't enemies within the level that are working to send you to your death, but rather the level itself. Even when you're digging out Locust forces room-by-room, you can count on seeing many variations of the "trying-to-kill-you" theme. As drones try to snipe you from cover, Tickers — dog-sized suicide bombers — and packs of scrambling Wretches will swarm toward you. Every so often you'll encounter shield-toting, mace-swinging Maulers, or the tough, ninja-like Kantus. You'll frequently get a chance to engage the large, impressive heavy-hitters of the Gears world — Brumak, Reavers, and Corpsers.

The game's story is more fleshed-out this time around, but not overly so. The cinematics and smaller cutscenes are to-the-point, and are often capped with a Keanu-Reaves-like "Whoa.." moment. In one section, you're driving through a dark, icy cave, trying to avoid notice. When you're faced with no option but to drive off a cliff, the screen goes dark as you land and the vehicle's power fails. As a member of your squad works frantically to get it started again, nasty things roar and rumble at you in the dark, setting up a rather tense situation when your lighting is restored. Other scenes are character-driven; the world is ending, and Epic doesn't beat around the bush when it comes to the atrocities of war. Torture, suicide, euthanasia — this is not a game for young kids. The cutscenes set up enough interest and emotional investment to make you want to grab a rifle and head toward the next objective without taking momentum from the actual fighting; it often seems like you're playing a story that ranges from cool to impressive to downright brutal.

Fighting often seems intense and hectic; Epic isn't above giving you a ton of things to shoot at, but your comrades are reasonably competent, and can be trusted to handle their share of the fight. Several times you'll rush to defend something and end up needing to man one of the aforementioned turrets to shoot down incoming bombs or flying enemies. The turrets are somewhat harder to succeed with, mainly because your targets are usually dodging and weaving through the air, and it can take some practice to keep up with them. You'll also get to fight battles at high speeds on various vehicles, and on... well, on things that aren't strictly vehicles. Things that don't necessarily want you riding them. The game does well at setting up situations where you think, "Man, I wish I could use that," and then actually letting you do it later on.

The levels themselves flow well; you naturally look and go where you're supposed to go, without being obviously herded along. As I mentioned earlier, there are several places where you split up the team, and get to choose one path over another. It's entertaining in the Solo campaign, but even more so in Co-op. You usually have some way to affect the other path, either via objects in the environment, throwing down cover fire, or perhaps lending a helping hand grenade to disperse some enemies who are focused on your partner. The levels look amazing; they use expansive backdrops to feel like really epic spaces, and the art really contributes to the atmosphere of the game. They look much bigger than they are, but you'll still be surprised at how far you can explore them sometimes. Particular events or "gimmicks" tend to be over quickly, like with the "platformer" level I mentioned earlier. You do something enough for it to be entertaining, but not enough to become tedious. This goes back to the game's theme of keeping things moving along, always changing. Gears of War 2 is also filled with a bunch of nice touches — at one point you're trapped in a building that's fallen on its side, and started burning. You head for the elevator, which just barely still works... sideways. As you slide past other burning floors, you get glimpses of various beasts trapped and struggling to get out.

Gears of War 2 does have its annoyances. When you deal a ton of damage to an enemy, he'll drop to the ground, mortally wounded, and start dragging himself away. If one of his teammates reaches him in time, they can heal him, and bring him back into the fight. Unfortunately, with the cover system in this game, it's quite common to make an enemy fall, but have no way to finish him off before he gets revived. It can be frustrating to have this happen several times in a row. The nature of the cover system also impedes movement at times, causing you to become briefly stuck in a place you don't want to be, or to leave cover in a manner other than what you intended. It can be bothersome at times, but I don't know how they could avoid it, especially in the more cramped spaces. There are also times in the game where you simply have too much to shoot at, or the things you need to kill are moving too quickly. I could swear one of the levels near the end took pity on me, after a few tries, by having the incoming Reavers land and stand still so I could mow them down with my turret.

The multi-player aspect of the game shines as well. Going through the campaign on Co-op is a lot of fun, since many of the levels were designed with a second player in mind. You can also have multiple saved campaigns now, which facilitates the occasional game with a friend, or a quick couple of levels at a party. There's also the "Horde" multi-player setting, which is even better for group play. Up to five players cooperate to fight wave after wave of enemies. Each wave gets stronger, and there are 50 in total. They get quite difficult after a while. Tougher enemies start joining the drones, and all enemies start gaining health and doing more damage. You'll have to start managing your ammo, and work with your teammates to keep from getting picked apart one-by-one. If you quit for a while, you can easily return to the wave at which you left off, which is nice for regular group play.

More familiar multi-player modes are available as well. In "Execution," you can only mortally wound enemies with your weapons. To kill them, you need to run up and administer a fairly gruesome killing blow by hand. In "Submission," a character is labeled the "meatflag." Your goal is to mortally wound him, then use him as a human shield while you drag him to a particular spot on the map. There's also "Wingman," where you fight in five teams of two, and of course, "King of the Hill." Other modes include your typical deathmatches. The updated UI and the camera functions are a big improvement over the first game. All of these modes have bot support, which is great for playing alone or in small groups.

Gears of War 2 retains its character as a testosterone-filled action hero game. It reminded me a bit of the movie 300; I get the feeling that the developers routinely went over a design and asked "How can we make this more over-the-top?" The dialogue contributes to that quite a bit. It's harsh, filled with swearing and macho one-liners. Augustus Cole a.k.a. Cole Train is back, and he's just as hilarious as ever. The cutscenes occasionally show members of Delta Squad doing some ridiculously cool stunt that would be right at home in a Mission: Impossible or James Bond movie. And, as I mentioned earlier, you get to interact with some huge, intimidating friends and foes, which lends to the game's epic feel. It's definitely a better, more polished version of the original game, which is really what we were hoping for.

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fist spot (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#25748725)

sptfst

No PC Support... (5, Interesting)

Someone Awful (1109763) | more than 5 years ago | (#25748837)

No mention of the fact that this game won't be ported to PC? A bit of a let down for PC gamers...

Re:No PC Support... (0, Troll)

Conor Turton (639827) | more than 5 years ago | (#25749297)

TBH, I for one am getting sick of the whole patch, upgrade hardware, upgrade drivers cycle of PC gaming just to play a game at a decent framerate without it crashing.
The minute they add mouse and keyboard support to 360 and PS3 games, PC gaming is stone dead.

Re:No PC Support... (4, Informative)

powerlord (28156) | more than 5 years ago | (#25749423)

The minute they add mouse and keyboard support to 360 and PS3 games, PC gaming is stone dead.

Thats entirely a decision in the hands of developers.

The PS3 supports standard USB Mouse/Keyboard and Unreal Tournament 3 on the PS3 took advantage of this to support the controls also.

http://utforums.epicgames.com/showthread.php?t=574996 [epicgames.com]

Unfortunately they are the only game developer to have bothered supporting the controller combination so far.

Re:No PC Support... (-1, Flamebait)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#25749831)

Unfortunately they are the only game developer to have bothered supporting the controller combination so far.

By "they" do you mean Epic Games, the company that made this game?

Apparently not enough people cared for them to bother supporting it again. Of course, that could be because they released on the PS3 first, and no one in their right mind owns a PS3. Especially gamers that care about online play, the Xbox 360 is where that is (for consoles), the PS3 has nothing that even remotely comes close to Live.

Re:No PC Support... (1)

hansamurai (907719) | more than 5 years ago | (#25750113)

Ignoring the obvious fanboyism, UT3 was a PC game released for the consoles, so the keyboard/mouse decision made sense. GoW2 is a console game that will probably eventually be released for the PC (though they say otherwise at the moment). Gears is made for the controller from the get go.

Re:No PC Support... (2, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#25749439)

The Dreamcast had a broadband adapter and Quake III Arena [wikipedia.org] with keyboard and mouse support [youtube.com] , all in Quake III's heyday, and that wasn't exactly the death knell for PC gaming.

Re:No PC Support... (3, Interesting)

mweather (1089505) | more than 5 years ago | (#25749909)

"TBH, I for one am getting sick of the whole patch, upgrade hardware, upgrade drivers cycle of PC gaming just to play a game at a decent framerate without it crashing." That's the price you pay for playing games that improve in appearance more frequently than every 5 years.

Re:No PC Support... (3, Insightful)

powerlord (28156) | more than 5 years ago | (#25750347)

That's the price you pay for playing games that improve in appearance more frequently than every 5 years.

I'd argue that the visual quality of games don't have to be fixed for the lifetime of a console (compare the titles released at the beginning of the PS2s life to somethign toward the end like God of War).

I also wonder what point is "enough"? From the perspective of game developers, it costs lots more to make a game like Fallout 3 versus Everyday Shooter or Geometry Wars. Nintendo has also shown there is a huge market for games without "top of the line, gritty graphics."

From the users perspective, we've already seen lots of people decide that their home computer is "good enough" to run their apps (Web browsing, email, word processing, spreadsheets). How long before there are enough resources in the average console that they don't HAVE to come out with something within 10 years just to keep up?

Re:No PC Support... (1)

KDR_11k (778916) | more than 5 years ago | (#25750495)

I also wonder what point is "enough"? From the perspective of game developers, it costs lots more to make a game like Fallout 3 versus Everyday Shooter or Geometry Wars. Nintendo has also shown there is a huge market for games without "top of the line, gritty graphics."

Nintendo decided the Wii was already at the "enough" point, that's why they cut costs by using lower powered hardware and instead spending the money where users appreciate it more. Motion controls were probably a lot cheaper to implement than trying to push the graphics enough that there's a notable difference compared to the previous gen (many "next gen" games I've played failed to create much of a gap, making the whole increase in costs everywhere pretty stupid).

There will probably be a new console anyway but they'll improve other aspects than the graphics.

Re:No PC Support... (2, Informative)

DrData99 (916924) | more than 5 years ago | (#25749337)

You can get a 360 for $199. Pretty low cost of entry...

Re:No PC Support... (-1, Redundant)

Machtyn (759119) | more than 5 years ago | (#25749855)

But I already have a PC. Why pay $270 for a game?

Re:No PC Support... (1)

DrData99 (916924) | more than 5 years ago | (#25750135)

When I used to be heavily involved in PC gaming (so far as even beta testing for Bethesda), $300 for a new video card just to play a game was no big deal. And still isn't--will your PC play Crysis? If you want the game, you will get the platform.

Re:No PC Support... (2, Insightful)

Retric (704075) | more than 5 years ago | (#25750407)

My 3 year old system plays Crysis.

Re:No PC Support... (2, Insightful)

progrmr (1212662) | more than 5 years ago | (#25750449)

Because for 5 years you won't have to chase hardware, worry about drivers, other stuff making your gaming rig unstable. There are a lot of reasons to go console. I used to be a PC only gamer, but after chasing video cards for years and upgrading pc's and such I said enough is enough. I'm gonna buy this one box and then just buy games. So much easier.

Re:No PC Support... (1)

KDR_11k (778916) | more than 5 years ago | (#25750517)

Maybe the game would require a PC upgrade?

Also there's probably more than one game on the system that you could get. If you want suggestions I'll name Earth Defense Force 2017 for now.

Re:No PC Support... (2, Informative)

evilphish_mi (1282588) | more than 5 years ago | (#25749473)

Tried playing the first on the PC, could never get the controls down.

Re:No PC Support... (3, Insightful)

killermookie (708026) | more than 5 years ago | (#25749827)

I'd say after the way Epic consolized UT3, I can't imagine wanting to play this on the PC.

It makes me sad.

Re:No PC Support... (1, Interesting)

ObsessiveMathsFreak (773371) | more than 5 years ago | (#25750063)

Why, so you could fail about in third person with your keyboard and mouse, all the while complaining about the lack of a first person perspective? I think Epic would make the right call by keeping the title on consoles.

Besides, Gears of War is the antithesis of everything PC shooters stand for. It is the total opposite of the run-and-gun mechanics that have dominated shooters since, ... well forever. It involves no circle strafing, no rocket jumping, and handles fragging gracefully by allowing the possibility of recovering. You take cover from enemy fire, and they reciprocate. You actually need your teammates to do more than shoot. You need to think tactically, know the importance of flanking, and of close combat, which involves more than switching to a knife and rapidly right clicking.

It's also aesthetically beautiful, with levels featuring extravagant and detailed architecture. Not a hundred meters of flat terrain, or uninteresting rubble over which to crouch jump and strafe while you dodge bullets. Each room is filled with objects and cover, allowing multiple ways of defeating the enemy instead of the standard pair of a) Run in blasting, b) Jump in and out of doorways blast. The game relies on actual art design instead of texture resolution and frame rates to look good, and it pays.

It's a game for console gamers. It provides the level of quality, polish and professionalism that console gamers have come to expect from AAA titles. This comment is not a troll. My honest opinion is that PC-game developers have become complacent about quality [slashdot.org] , and for that matter, so have PC-gamers. You've been fed slop for so long that when you're served up veal, you'll complain that it isn't slop.

So don't ask for a port. You won't like the game anyway.

Re:No PC Support... (1, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#25750145)

You need to think tactically, know the importance of flanking, and of close combat, which involves more than switching to a knife and rapidly right clicking.

I don't know what universe you live in, but in this one, console "gamers" are mostly interested in killing hookers, not thinking. Let me know when an actual strategy game comes out on a console.

Re:No PC Support... (1)

KDR_11k (778916) | more than 5 years ago | (#25750607)

Games that use cover instead of running and gunning are commonplace now to the point where you practically have to search for one that doesn't if you want some dumb action.

Missing moderator options (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#25748853)

Where is the -1 Pile Of Crap moderator option for the article itself?

Re:Missing moderator options (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#25749719)

I really shouldn't reply here, as it is offtopic, but whatever happened to Zonk?

Re:Missing moderator options (1)

basscomm (122302) | more than 5 years ago | (#25750107)

According to this post [slashdot.org] Zonk works for Massively as of mid-April.

I fell in love with the first... (4, Funny)

rehtonAesoohC (954490) | more than 5 years ago | (#25748865)

...and then I got married.

My wife says that she absolutely does not want Gears 2 in our house, so I may just end up purchasing "Ears of Boar" instead *cough cough*.

What was that honey? Oh.. uh... they must have heard me wrong! DOH it's opened already, can't return it!

Re:I fell in love with the first... (2, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#25748967)

I pre-ordered the game. My wife says its the worst thing she's ever witnessed and its not looking good for me keeping the xbox. This game is freaking awesome!

May I suggest to you both... (4, Funny)

Nursie (632944) | more than 5 years ago | (#25749025)

... Grow a pair nancy!

Re:I fell in love with the first... (1)

powerlord (28156) | more than 5 years ago | (#25749519)

I pre-ordered the game. My wife says its the worst thing she's ever witnessed and its not looking good for me keeping the xbox

Hmmm ... I pre-ordered Fallout 3. Wife finally saw it (complete with bloodily violent head-exploding take-downs in slow-motion), and commented that it was a bit more violent than the games I usually get. Otherwise she just went away and asked when I'd be done so she could watch some TV. :)

How much worse is Gears2? (or your wife has a ow threshold for "worst thing she's ever witnessed)

Either way, I assume you bought the XBox, so I don't see how she can take it away.

Re:I fell in love with the first... (1)

superstick58 (809423) | more than 5 years ago | (#25750427)

Imagine swimming in a pool of blood. This is not a metaphor. GOW2 will go there.

Re:I fell in love with the first... (1)

hierophanta (1345511) | more than 5 years ago | (#25750569)

(or your wife has a ow threshold for "worst thing she's ever witnessed)

i read that as your wife has a cow's threshold...
anyone else?
(no offense intended)

Re:I fell in love with the first... (5, Funny)

philspear (1142299) | more than 5 years ago | (#25749111)

You could tell her it's either gears of war, or a dangerous attempt at making your own chainsaw gun. Remind her that gas is expensive if the safety issue isn't a big concern.

Or you could remind her that you are a big boy and know enough not to emulate what you see in games. Note that this and the first option are mutually exclusive.

Last, you could tell her they really cleaned up the violence:

http://www.penny-arcade.com/comic/2008/8/11/ [penny-arcade.com]

"Your mom is a classy lady!" I love it.

Re:I fell in love with the first... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#25750001)

Or say that you don't tell her how to make dinner, so she shouldn't tell you what games you're allowed to play.

Re:I fell in love with the first... (2, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#25749115)

You call your right hand "wife" too?

Re:I fell in love with the first... (1)

revlayle (964221) | more than 5 years ago | (#25749227)

I love that "no in our house" argument... as i usually have a retort among the same exact lines.

ultimately, i get my game :)

Re:I fell in love with the first... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#25749235)

Gears of War 2 retains its character as a testosterone-filled action hero game. It reminded me a bit of the movie 300

Just tell her its like the 300, and suggest there are scantily clad body-builders in homo-erotic scenes that she might happen to see if you get the game.

On the other hand it sounds like a big flash with less substance and an excuse for lots of whiney kids to trash talk and think they're adult. ... oh wait, I forgot this is the XBox 360 we're talking about. ~

Easy solution. (3, Funny)

tgd (2822) | more than 5 years ago | (#25749421)

Curb stomp.

Re:I fell in love with the first... (4, Insightful)

Buelldozer (713671) | more than 5 years ago | (#25750683)

That was funny but I hope it's not true.

Are you a little boy with a mommy or a grown adult man with a wife?

Yes, I'm married. I've been married for 14 years now, to the same woman.

If your wife is that strictly controlling what you do for entertainment and leisure then I submit that you are what is known as "henpecked" or "whupped".

Re:I fell in love with the first... (1)

Ceseuron (944486) | more than 5 years ago | (#25750709)

Or you could just buy the newest iteration of the game, Gears of War 2: Balls of War Edition, made specifically for the castrated husband who foolishly gave his wife his testicles mounted on a 24 karat gold wedding ring. Seriously, man. She's your wife. Not your boss or your mom. Grow a pair and tell her where to stick it if she doesn't like it. If she can't live with it, then it's time to trade her in for a different model.

Re:I fell in love with the first... (1)

skinnytie (594811) | more than 5 years ago | (#25750837)

Mine owns the limited edition Lancer and relegated me to sniper duty as she tears through the grub-mess in a fury of blood and imulsion. I am not kidding you.

Multiplayer (4, Informative)

meta-monkey (321000) | more than 5 years ago | (#25748891)

Too bad the multiplayer matchmaking system is so broken it ruins the game. You have to wait for three...four...five minutes to find a match after each game. It's ridiculous.

Re:Multiplayer (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#25749483)

Maybe in that five minutes you can find a life you fucking loser.

Re:Multiplayer (2, Funny)

Vr6dub (813447) | more than 5 years ago | (#25749747)

Did the wife take your copy?

Re:Multiplayer (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#25749927)

You're on slashdot - there is no wife.

Re:Multiplayer (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#25750153)

The wife is a lie?

Mij

Re:Multiplayer (3, Insightful)

justinlindh (1016121) | more than 5 years ago | (#25749871)

5 minutes? You've been lucky... I usually have to wait around 15 for the first match of Horde, and somewhere around 5 - 10 after the first match (no idea why it makes a difference if it's your first or 15th game, but that's what I've noticed).

Blows my mind that this is an issue. There are no doubt at least 60,000 people playing online at any given time, with thousands waiting in queue to be linked up to a game session. How difficult is it to filter the player ranking through the matchmaking servers to find a good session? Even if you don't align well with other players' rankings, it should still join you to an off balance session rather than make you wait (which I believe it does). I'm babbling, but I just don't understand the problems they could be dealing with. It seems fairly simple, to me.

Anybody else have any idea why this problem is more difficult than I'm imagining? What could account for the lengthy matchmaking process?

Re:Multiplayer (2, Informative)

Ka D'Argo (857749) | more than 5 years ago | (#25750377)

As opposed to some other games? The one thing I hate about popular PC shooters on the PC is, aside from some kind of Favorite function for your favorite servers, what's your other option for finding a server? Pinging a server list. Which sure is fun in CS 1.6 or CS:S. Waiting for thousands of servers to load in the list then select a server, even with specifics set (location, map, etc) I know, not the same but similar so much that a few minutes wait time between matches ain't so bad. Maybe it's a little slower than console users are used to for a FPS online but for PC that's about par when you consider in pinging the master server list, finding and selecting a server, etc (not counting any Favorites option)

lolz (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#25748901)

second post

Gripe (4, Insightful)

Ethanol-fueled (1125189) | more than 5 years ago | (#25748929)

Not much of a gamer, but I've played both Gears Of War games. Can't somebody do something about the obnoxious split-screen?

Maybe zoom the cameras out a little, or split the screen left/right instead of top/bottom since played on a widescreen, or maybe show both players on the same screen with a 3rd-person view as appropriate?

Playing split-screen is like driving a car with a pair of binoculars.

Re:Gripe (4, Funny)

philspear (1142299) | more than 5 years ago | (#25749135)

Can't somebody do something about the obnoxious split-screen?

Done! Get another TV, another 360, two xbox live accounts, start a game on one and join in on live with the other one!

PC shooter instead (1)

tepples (727027) | more than 5 years ago | (#25749209)

Done! Get another TV, another 360

But then that erases console gaming's big advantage over PC gaming: low cost per player. If you're going to splurge for a separate system for each player, you might as well play a PC shooter instead of Gears 2 and benefit from mouse aiming.

Re:PC shooter instead (2, Insightful)

FrozenFOXX (1048276) | more than 5 years ago | (#25749507)

But then that erases console gaming's big advantage over PC gaming: low cost per player. If you're going to splurge for a separate system for each player, you might as well play a PC shooter instead of Gears 2 and benefit from mouse aiming.

You're assuming that mouse aiming or indeed the whole PC setup is a, "benefit." In over fifteen years of gaming on nearly every console and quite a few PCs (Windows and Linux) I've yet to actually hear even ONE person tell me that they went console because "it costs less." We go console because it WORKS. I have yet to turn on my 360, put in a game, and have it tell me I've only got two activations left before I need to call the developer and beg to have one more. I have yet to be told my graphics chip isn't new enough or that I'm missing 'insert-online-frontend-of-the-month' and need to install yet more crapware.

No, console people get a console, turn it on, and get back to doing what we wanted to in the first place: playing the game. If you like PC gaming that's great, I play WAR personally, but within reason hardly anyone gives a shit how much the console costs in comparison to a PC.

Re:PC shooter instead (0, Troll)

Lightwarrior (73124) | more than 5 years ago | (#25749655)

"I have yet to turn on my 360, put in a game, and have it tell me I've only got two activations left before I need to call the developer and beg to have one more."

You're right; instead, you have to hope your 360 turns on and doesn't Red Ring. And when it inevitably dies (because, let's face it, you'll go through two+ every three years), you have to call the manufacturer and beg to have it fixed. On the bright side, the entire repair process only takes a month!

Oh, wait; I'm sorry. You were saying something about how it just WORKS?

Re:PC shooter instead (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#25749993)

Red ring... that was so last year.

Re:PC shooter instead (2, Informative)

not already in use (972294) | more than 5 years ago | (#25749997)

I've had my 360 for over two years and never seen the RROD. Same can be said for the 5 other people I know who have them. People whose only exposure to the world is through slashdot have a very skewed perspective on things.

And, to further counter your point, there is an entire generation or two of NVIDIA cards in the wild that could fail at any point, all of which ALONE cost as much as an XBOX.

Re:PC shooter instead (1)

PrescriptionWarning (932687) | more than 5 years ago | (#25750473)

FYI, I've had it happen twice so far but those were with some of the first year or two of units they produced, but the current one I have now has been going fine for almost 2 years now as well so guess they did something right :)

Re:PC shooter instead (2, Interesting)

JerkBoB (7130) | more than 5 years ago | (#25750167)

And when it inevitably dies (because, let's face it, you'll go through two+ every three years), you have to call the manufacturer and beg to have it fixed.

I've had my 360 Elite for 2-ish years now. No problems with it. Maybe it continues to work OK because, I dunno, I'm not retarded and don't keep it in a poorly-ventilated AV box or down on the carpet/floor to fill with dust bunnies?

Not saying that people haven't had problems with 360s in the past... Those were well-published. Most 360 owners (and PS3 I guess) are fine, though.

I got off the gaming PC treadmill 3-4 years ago and haven't looked back. My computers are for work, and the consoles are for play. Easy.

Re:PC shooter instead (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#25750857)

Right, this is slashdot where Troll gets modded Informative because it bashes MS, regardless of the utter stupidity frothing from the mouth.

Re:PC shooter instead (1)

philspear (1142299) | more than 5 years ago | (#25749781)

Also, for all the time PC gamers spend talking about how much better the mouse is for gaming, I don't really see much of a difference. I can adapt to both equally well, and for my use they both work equally well. Maybe if I were in serious competition it would be a needed edge, but I only play FPSes online once in a blue moon. When I do it's actual skill that sets me behind the other players, not the control scheme.

Re:PC shooter instead (1)

TheSambassador (1134253) | more than 5 years ago | (#25750119)

No matter how good you are at aiming in front of you, I'd like to see you do a 180 degree turn to check behind you quickly, then go back to where you were looking. Hell, even turning around is a pain in the ass. With a mouse, I just twitch my mouse to the right really quick and then back. With a controller, I have ONE speed that I can turn.

Sure, you can increase sensitivity to make this a little quicker, but you're still at a constant turn speed AND you make it even harder to make small aiming adjustments, so you lose accuracy.

Keyboard + Mouse > Controller.

Re:PC shooter instead (1)

philspear (1142299) | more than 5 years ago | (#25750491)

No matter how good you are at aiming in front of you, I'd like to see you do a 180 degree turn to check behind you quickly, then go back to where you were looking. Hell, even turning around is a pain in the ass. With a mouse, I just twitch my mouse to the right really quick and then back. With a controller, I have ONE speed that I can turn.

Yeah, it's really not an issue that's big enough for me to spend the money it would require to beef up my PC. I said I don't do much online FPS, so that's even less an issue. Typically when a guy is shooting at me from behind in halo, I'm dead before I realize where he's shooting from. What you're talking about is an issue I would pay about $20 to fix, not buy a new video card. And I'd pay $20 NOT to have to mess with installing a game on my computer.

I know it's hard for some people to understand, but my preference for consoles is not based on ignorance of the advantages the PC has.

Re:PC shooter instead (1)

TheSambassador (1134253) | more than 5 years ago | (#25750675)

Well your point in your post is that you didn't see a difference between mouse/keyboard and controller, not that PCs cost more. I was just replying to that point.

That said, if you're smart when you buy your main desktop PC (unless you're a laptop person) you can set it up so that you only have to spend an additional (*gasp*) $100 to add a mid-range video card to it. You're spending at least $600 on the thing anyways, you can turn it into a gaming machine for little more.

Re:PC shooter instead (1)

tepples (727027) | more than 5 years ago | (#25749877)

I've yet to actually hear even ONE person tell me that they went console because "it costs less."

I am that one person, possibly because I babysit. Here are the options for multiplayer video gaming as I see them:

  • Shared system: buy a large monitor, a game system, extra controllers, and two games.
  • Multiple system: buy four smaller monitors, four game systems, and four copies of each of two games.

The console advantage is that more of its games actually support a shared system.

I have yet to turn on my 360, put in a game, and have it tell me I've only got two activations left before I need to call the developer and beg to have one more.

Wii Shop Channel games allow multiple activations, but they all have to be on the same hardware serial number. Xbox Live Arcade is slightly more lenient: if your console dies, you can activate your games on a different console, but you have to connect to Live in order to play. That sucks if you're renting a hall for an annual family reunion, as my family does, and Internet access doesn't come with it.

Re:PC shooter instead (1)

bevoblake (1106117) | more than 5 years ago | (#25749945)

Good post. I primarily bought my console because it just works, but cost definitely factors into my equation too.

I also am coming off a PC build that was unstable with 3d support enabled. After replacing the graphics card and the power supply, I traced the problem to the motherboard. At that point, I threw up my hands, bought a console, and cursed MSI for the money I wasted on a new power supply and graphics card only to see the mobo screw me up.

So, I can handle a RROD where I just ship the unit back to the manufacturer (or whatever the PS3 equivalent is since I chose that console) - that's a much simpler fix than debugging the many points of failure in a PC.

Re:PC shooter instead (1)

Windows_NT (1353809) | more than 5 years ago | (#25750241)

Consoles were developed because some people cant turn a computer on ... software updates? yup, thats because they do more than play games. Windows sucks, and there is no way around that, but with a good system, most games do work. Consoles are made to do one thing, and you cant [really] upgrade them. Maybe a bigger HD to put music on? woopy :p ... In the money you spent on an Xbox, then the 360, you could have got a computer, that you do more with.
Its a little rant, but its true. I for one, hate consoles, and will never buy one. The last game i bought was Quake4 and it runs awesome on my laptop (nvidia 6800 256ram card) and with IDs Linux patches i dont need to boot windows.
Now, it the GoW2 developers did that, you would have twice that audience (like me) that love the FPS on PC but wont spend the money on a console JUST to play games ... thats gay ... I can make $$ with a computer and play games

Re:Gripe (3, Insightful)

ShadowRangerRIT (1301549) | more than 5 years ago | (#25749183)

Splitting left/right drastically constrains your peripheral vision in the horizontal plane. Given that 90%+ of the time you are on a surface that is either mostly flat, or at a fairly fixed slope, you don't need up/down very often. Add to that the fact that on a console (unlike a PC/mouse combo), turning can be laborious, and you only have about 45-60 degrees of useful up/down movement, but you always need to be able to go through 360 degrees of rotational movement, I'd much rather see more of the horizontal plane.

Of course, either approach is still better than Halo 3's moronic "if you play split screen, you are forced to 4:3, no widescreen for you" BS.

Re:Gripe (1)

codepigeon (1202896) | more than 5 years ago | (#25749197)

I love the top/bottom split. I think its easier to keep track of your screen versus the side-by-side split screen. Usually you have some sky on the lower screen that adds a contrast that makes it easier to keep the seperation. And, having a standard def tv (still), having it split top/bottom, gives me a widescreen feel.

still tearing? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#25749019)

Is the tearing as bad as in the first installment?

I was really surprised to see that - I always thought smooth graphics were console games' strong point. It's not a problem with the console, because there are games that don't show tearing and keep mostly constant framerate (PGR4, CoD4 at least).

tearing vs buffering vs. display refresh rates (1)

CarpetShark (865376) | more than 5 years ago | (#25750719)

For some reason, tearing is seen as acceptable (and even desireable, by some nutters) on PCs (and by extension, XBoxes, since many of the XBox programmers are probably just directx programmers who've been encouraged to develop for XBox too).

Even back in Amiga days, it was well known that double-buffering and synchronisation with the screen refresh lead to nice, smooth, constant play which was vastly superior to jerky or ugly animation. In fact, I learnt it with some of my very first beginner programmers game tutorials back then.

There's absolutely no benefit that I can see to not doing this on a PC, as there's always going to be a maximum frame rate that your display can handle, and rendering more screens than that will (at best) only mean drawing things that can't be seen.

Gears of war? (4, Funny)

Kaz Kylheku (1484) | more than 5 years ago | (#25749091)

I have five of them, plus reverse.

The commute is all the war I need.

Re:Gears of war? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#25749787)

That's still five more than the french!

Aphos Fields (2, Insightful)

buddyglass80 (1406669) | more than 5 years ago | (#25749149)

I haven't started the game yet, just finishing the prequel book Gears of War: Asphos Fields. It gives really good back story. Dom, Carlos(Dom's brother's and Marcus as kids and growing up in the Army, Marcus and his father, Dom and his missing wife. It is also written by a good author Karen Traviss which is the reason I picked it up. The world has a lot of depth. To me it is essential to the story.

Simply not for PC (2, Informative)

papabob (1211684) | more than 5 years ago | (#25749247)

Recently I've rented the PC version of GoW and I was little dissapointed. I played it after finishing call of duty 4 and crysis, and I feel the gameplay is so simplified (when gaming with traditional WASD+mouse) that you end playing with walk->hide behind a column->zoom->fire->walk->repeat. Of course, it's a perfect combination for a gamepad but PC gamers expect a slightly more elaborated controls (ie. _something_ more to do) to enjoy a game. Moreover, its linearity is what killed the fun; when you master the technique of hidding+fire you can play mindlessly because you doesnt have any mision apart from kill every beast that moves.

Of course, graphics, sound and ambient in general are still superb, but I returned the gamed a couple of days after the rental.

Re:Simply not for PC (2, Funny)

nycguy (892403) | more than 5 years ago | (#25749317)

Didn't Netcraft confirm that PC gaming is dying anyway?

Re:Simply not for PC (1, Redundant)

tepples (727027) | more than 5 years ago | (#25749363)

Recently I've rented the PC version of GoW

In what country? The United States doesn't have PC game disc rentals, unlike console game disc rentals.

Re:Simply not for PC (2, Interesting)

acvh (120205) | more than 5 years ago | (#25749565)

not very relevant to the overall discussion, but my public library has PC games available for borrowing. Some new ones, even.

Re:Simply not for PC (1)

moderatorrater (1095745) | more than 5 years ago | (#25749535)

Unreal Tournament 3 did the same thing to the PC. I believe Epic made both and is on the forefront with their "Piracy is destroying the PC!!!!" rants. UT 2K4 and the original UT were so good that it makes me sad they won't be putting more effort into PC-only games.

Nothing new under the sun... (3, Insightful)

Sabathius (566108) | more than 5 years ago | (#25749285)

Aside from the cover-fire system, this game is nothing new. Sure it has great graphics and sound...but it's the same fire, fire fire, run, press a switch, fire, open a door, fire gameplay.

Typical, type-A personality crap. I'm sorry, but I desire more from my games.

We will not be talking about this game in a year or so. We will, however, still be talking about games like Bioshock, Dead Space and Fallout 3 which (in this writer's estimation) revolutionize the gamer's interactivity and immersive experience.

Flame away if you like, but I suspect I'm not alone in this opinion.

Re:Nothing new under the sun... (0, Troll)

mdm-adph (1030332) | more than 5 years ago | (#25749769)

No, you're right -- the way the original GoW was described to me (by people who played it), the game was very much trying to cater to the type of crowd that plays something like Madden NFL, in both levels of ridiculous machismo and easy gameplay.

Re:Nothing new under the sun... (1)

JebusIsLord (566856) | more than 5 years ago | (#25749973)

You know, i'd figure this to be true, but I am NOT one of those people... and I loved both GOW games (just finished 2 yesterday).

My other favorites are the Civilizations, Zeldas and Final Fantasies, although I am a fan of well-done games period. And Gears are very, very well done games. Yes, they're on-rails shooters, and yes the characters are super-macho. But damn do they get the heat of combat down straight, and the pacing and strategy (yes, there is strategy) are just perfectly tuned.

Re:Nothing new under the sun... (2, Insightful)

Badge 17 (613974) | more than 5 years ago | (#25749911)

Aside from the cover-fire system, this game is nothing new.

I don't understand comments like this, really. When was the last time you saw *one* really new thing in a major game? Portal? Bioshock is System Shock - awesome, but not new. Considering the popularity of three versions of Halo, with zero new things, just smoothing out old problems with the console FPS, I'd say console shooters will take creativity where they get it.

Re:Nothing new under the sun... (1)

Ross D Anderson (1020653) | more than 5 years ago | (#25749935)

Fair enough. You don't have to play it, but for those of us who like a bit of mindless violence, this game does it well. Bear in mind I'm currently alternating between it and GoW2 multiplayer and while I agree Fallout 3 is fantastic, It has to be said I'm getting equal enjoyment from both of them.
All in all I think my point is: It's good for its genre, whats the point in bitching about games you'd never enjoy?

Exactly! (1)

bogie (31020) | more than 5 years ago | (#25750275)

WTF is the point of bitching about a genre you don't like? Don't like it? Fine. Stick at RTS's etc. But just because it isn't your cup of tea doesn't diminish how much enjoyment that many(obviously millions) get out of the game. Gears of War is the pinnacle of "run and gun" style gameplay. There are other better FPSers out there but for the style of play you really can't do better.

Oh and Left 4 Dead of fucking fun as hell. Especially in co-cp.

Re:Nothing new under the sun... (1)

Xest (935314) | more than 5 years ago | (#25750223)

So basically you're complaining that a First Person Shooter is about shooting?

The graphics were pretty groundbreaking and the story was decent, as FPS games go it's definitely one of the best and it's definitely up there with Bioshock. I'm not saying Gears 2 is better than Bioshock as a single player game because Bioshock was cool but the fact it has multiplayer and a good coop mode means I'm far more likely to replay it than Bioshock. Not started Dead Space and Fallout 3 yet but I do have them sat there waiting so will play through them soon when I get chance!

It was definitely a better game than Gears 1 also, longer, better storyline, better graphics, better weapons.

At the end of the day, no it's not groundbreaking but frankly it was still excellent and I'd argue it even puts Halo 3 to shame in terms of gameplay, storyline and visuals. I suppose it depends what you like, it sounds like you prefer the roleplay side of things which I do to, but sometimes it's nice to be able to blast things and those giant rockworms you had to use as moving cover, the bits of flesh you had to chainsaw through as you progressed through the giant worm and the giant fish were all absolutely amazing moments were all really nice touches. Again though, what really brings Gears 2 out is the fact the whole storyline is set around coop, something that Bioshock, Dead Space and Fallout 3 don't provide and coop games are always much, much better to play through. Perhaps another good example of an awesome coop game lately was Mercenairies 2, as a single player game it really wasn't all that, but playing it coop really brought it out as an excellent game.

Re:Nothing new under the sun... (1)

Trojan35 (910785) | more than 5 years ago | (#25750279)

Congrats, you compared a game that is multiplayer focused to games that only offer singleplayer. Then complained about the "interactivity and [immersion]".

Where can I read your insightful articles?

Re:Nothing new under the sun... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#25750615)

Eh, they lost me as a customer forever when their attitude became "YOU'RE NOT CUSTOMERS, YOU'RE PIRATES THAT WE HAVE TO EXTRACT MONEY FROM!" Making games with the same old boring gameplay and concepts is just the diarrhea icing on the same old shitcake.

Fuck Epic. Even if they start making good games again, I won't be buying until they have a severe attitude change.

Re:Nothing new under the sun... (2, Insightful)

alvinrod (889928) | more than 5 years ago | (#25750725)

There are a lot of people, like you, who want more depth from games, but I don't feel as though we're the majority.

It's the people who play the beefed up, run-and-gun, action FPS games that dominate the market. Gears of War 2 [vgchartz.com] has already sold more copies on the Xbox 360 in its first week than Bioshock [vgchartz.com] has sold in its lifetime on the Xbox 360.

It's the same way with films as well. The big studio action film is generally going to do better than the well-made independent film.

Maybe more people in general are just attracted to that type of content and we're going to have to live with everyone proclaiming how great a few games are that we would view as rather mediocre. Find a reviewer who shares your opinion and stick to that for opinions or first impressions of upcoming games.

and yet.... (3, Insightful)

Lumpy (12016) | more than 5 years ago | (#25749389)

something short that blocks you way, you cant jump over.

Same old with new flashy.

Annoyance? (0, Redundant)

Skeetskeetskeet (906997) | more than 5 years ago | (#25749517)

"Gears of War 2 does have its annoyances. When you deal a ton of damage to an enemy, he'll drop to the ground, mortally wounded, and start dragging himself away. If one of his teammates reaches him in time, they can heal him, and bring him back into the fight." - Err...can't you do the same thing with one of your teammates? Double standard much?

Re:Annoyance? (1)

tomz16 (992375) | more than 5 years ago | (#25750537)

WRONG! Depending on the amount/type of damage, you CAN revive a teammate. In fact, this is USUALLY the case (the exceptions seem to be when your teammate gets headshot/blown up, etc.)

Furthermore, when you down an enemy, you can just fire a few more shots at them to permanently finish them off (or run over and perform one of the finishing moves).

fyi : I actually did beat GOW2 in co-op, so I'm not pulling this out of my ass

!Pong? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#25749803)

The only difference between Gears and Pong is that in Pong, you want to get hit by moving objects, and launch moving objects past your enemy, and in Gears, you want to avoid being hit by moving objects, and launch moving objects into your enemy.

thVis is goatsex (-1, Flamebait)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#25749809)

gawker At most may be hurting the thing for the Post5 0n Usenet are

Well (1)

JimboFBX (1097277) | more than 5 years ago | (#25749837)

Its a great game, the automatch time and bugged shotgun need fixing though. Its missing some features you thought would be for sure- like the ability to see pings, the ability to quickly mute people, the ability to quit out of the game without turning off your xbox 360. Etc.

My biggest complaint is the automatch time and the fact they took out the grind-up/grind down noise when you die/retry.

Cover system (1)

Genevish (93570) | more than 5 years ago | (#25750059)

"The nature of the cover system also impedes movement at times, causing you to become briefly stuck in a place you don't want to be, or to leave cover in a manner other than what you intended. It can be bothersome at times, but I don't know how they could avoid it"

Mimic the GRAW 2 cover system. It's the best game on the 360 for that reason.

Wizard of Wor? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#25750143)

Wizard of Wor for the C64 was the greatest game for one summer vacation ... me and my brothers and Mom loved it to pieces.

This sequel sounds terrible :-)

  -Kevin

Brown (1)

Spatial (1235392) | more than 5 years ago | (#25750201)

When I got the original game for the PC, I took a screenshot and decreased the colour depth to 8-bit. With dithering, you can't tell the difference between 8 and 32-bit. :D

i think.. (1)

tsalaroth (798327) | more than 5 years ago | (#25750239)

i know what i'm spending part of my paycheck on tomorrow.

The sequal is the same thing again (2, Insightful)

microbee (682094) | more than 5 years ago | (#25750353)

I played it, and it feels version 1.1 not 2.

Not saying it's bad. It's a bit better than 1 not the graphics but the general game play feels better.

But who am I complaining to? I played a torrent copy on my modded xbox 360.

Netflix? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#25750357)

How about a few nice movie nights with Netflix over Xbox?

Gears article in the New Yorker (1)

citylivin (1250770) | more than 5 years ago | (#25750389)

I was pleased to read a really well written article [newyorker.com] in the new yorker where they interview the lead designer Cliff Bleszinski (CliffyB). Being a PC gamer I had never tried gears of war (yes I am now aware that there is a PC version) but found the article brought me up to speed on the franchise and also gave a good behind the scene look at Epic games and their garage to riches history.

Well worth checking out. http://www.newyorker.com/reporting/2008/11/03/081103fa_fact_bissell [newyorker.com]

Co-op makes it (5, Informative)

DCstewieG (824956) | more than 5 years ago | (#25750751)

I would hazard a guess that most people who didn't enjoy the campaign mode in Gears 1/2 played alone. I played through the first multiple times and am just about to finish the second, exclusively co-op with real world friends over Live. I have never played alone and don't care to.

I don't think many would argue that the gameplay isn't fairly simple. But it's just done so well. The level design, overall production, everything comes together to just make an incredible experience.

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