Gears of War 2 packs a punch

Blood and gore, chainsaws and machine guns, curb stomps and headshots – they are all back with a vengeance in Gears of War 2. After the original game sold over two million copies in one month and five million overall, it was only a matter of time before creators Microsoft Games and Epic Games released a sequel. The only question that remained was whether the new one would impress as much as the first. Oh boy, does it ever – it just might surpass its predecessor.

The first game introduced us to a futuristic world, where the human race is being threatened with extermination at the hands of the monster horde, the Locust. Playing as big and burly Marcus, gamers finished the first game by detonating a mega-bomb in the center of the Locust’s subterranean base, killing the enemy general. Marcus and his comrades, the Gears, must now fight off a renewed Locust invasion led by their Queen. Down to their last city, Jacinta, the Gears are sent off to defeat the Locust horde.

What makes gameplay so enjoyable is its diversity. As any gamer who played the first one will know, the graphics are a visual feast. Gameplay offers great variety – the game has everything from vehicle levels, to boss fights and times when you just have to run. The weapons are as wicked as ever, as are the finishing moves. But remember – like the first game, this is no game for the faint-hearted. When your character takes his chainsaw to a big baddie, there is no shortage of blood.

The cutscenes in particular are exceptional. Each short clip pulls you further in, instead of boring you with pointlessly long videos. The musical score for the game is epic.

Yet as all true gamers will tell you, most games make or break on their multi-player options. The co-op campaign mode introduces a new element of strategy to the game. Gears 2 also pulls out some entirely new and innovative multi-player options. For those who choose to play the game-type “Horde,” teams of up to five players have to fend off wave after wave of increasingly more difficult-to-kill Locust monsters. In “Submission,” one A.I. character is downed at the center of the map, and whichever team manages to return him to their base wins the round. In “Guardian,” players respawn after each death as long as one of their players, the “V.I.P.” is alive. Lose him, and you won’t be returning from any curb-stomp. Standard 5 v. 5 gameplay is also offered.

If you are looking for a game to add to your collection this holiday season and do not mind a little blood and guts,the intense Gears of War 2 is the game for you.

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