Thursday, November 13, 2008

Gears of War 2

I played through the single player campaign on GoW2 yesterday, started at 9 in the morning and got finished at 9:30 at night. Including a few breaks I'd say it's a good 10-11 hours worth of game play at the normal difficulty level (keeping in mind that I am a gaming guru and only died maybe once or twice during the whole game). It was very nice to be able to chill out and just enjoy a game instead of worrying about if it's too noisy and all the other crap that is part of.....well you know.

So is it any good? Yes. In fact it's excellent. I'm not going to bang on about the graphics because there are plenty of movie clips online that highlight just how stunning everything looks. It doesn't actually look that different to the first game but then again there wasn't that much they could improve on anyway. Enough to say that detail levels and frame rate are top notch throughtout.

It's also probably not worth going into too much detail on the gameplay either. If you've ever played the first Gears of War then this is exactly the same. Get into cover and pop out shooting is the name of the game throught 80% of the single player mission. There are a couple of nice vehicle style levels to break this up, important if you're going to play it in a monster session like me. But it is very much more of the same as the first.

What makes a game a classic these days isn't so much the graphics or the gameplay (not for FPS games anyway) but rather the story and this is weher GoW2 shines. The whole feel of the game is so much bigger than the first. It starts with a simple mission to defend a hospital but then the story erupts into mankinds fight for survival and one final choice. Attack instead of defend. From that point the game takes you on a roller coaster ride as you play the part of Marc Fenix as he leads Delta Squad to the core to take on the Locust on their home ground. You'll find hints along the way that reveal the very source of the Locust, there are plenty of personal elements as you come across characters from the first game and lose others. You will be very happy and more than a bit relieved when the Cole Train makes his first propper entrace! It's a movie style buzz. Inter twined amongst the main story is also the sub plot of Fenix's best mate Dom and his search for his wife. Whilst unlike a RPG where you get to decide on how the plot unfolds with GoW2 what happens will happen, of course this allows the developers to give it the full movie'esque feel. The game is stuffed with high quality cut scenes (even just taking a lift the camera angles add to the tension) and top notch voice acting. If you like big open feel games then this isn't for you, it is a linear story with high production values.

So are there any week points? Yes. As great as the gameplay is there has obviously been pressure put on the developers to make the single player game longer. About 70% into the game this results in some Halo style levelling. You know the type, lots of rooms the same that need to be cleared. For about an hour the game does become repetitive. I had to step away at this point and have a break. I was very worried that this was how they were going to end the game but thankfully they didn't. The first 70% is a fantastic journey with numerous different situations to fight your way through and the last 15% is the same. It looks like all the creative juice went into these elements and they just strapped on that middle bit to keep the marketers happy. Luckily unlike the first Halo this repetition only last an hour so it's well worth battling through it for the spectacular last few levels.

My only other minor gripe is with the difficulty. This is a common problem with modern games. They make the early levels easy enough to sucker the gamer in but then instead of a gradual difficulty curve they just go "right, try and beat that!" I was flying through it until the last 2 levels where all of a sudden I had to be very careful with ammo and staying in cover a lot more.

So all in all it's an excellent game. If you've got the first then it's a must buy to see how the story continues. At £35 (from Amazon) some might see it as an expensive 10-11 hours of entertainment? When you work it out I think it compares well to any DVD you'd buy plus there's also the small matter of online play. If you enjoy playing a game to see a very entertaining story unravel before you then you'll be struggling to do better than Gears of War 2.

1 comment:

No one Really said...

I can't wait till you drop it through my letter box when I borrow it....

You can have Vikings...