Friday, January 30, 2009

Gears Of War 2

About a month ago, I had a dilemma: two sequels to two games that I had loved were about to be released at the same time: Fable 2 and Gears of War 2. In a nod to the general state of the world economy and being a reasonably cheap Gujju, I decided to limit myself to one, not both of these promising games. The dilemma, at this point, is obvious: which one gets bought?

After going back and forth a few times, I settled on Fable 2: I convinced myself that I really had liked Fable more than GoW the first time around, so I was setting myself up for good times.

Big, big mistake. Fable 2 sucked. It was way, way, too easy. There was no penalty for death (other than ugly scars), the money system blew - there were ways to get unlimited wealth right away, the characters got really fat (I am not making this up) unless you ate nothing - in which case you would no recover health in mid battle. The battles were useless - my mage was easily using melee and shooting guns and killing things, all without casting spells. The final thing that killed it off was that it had recurring disc issues which is apparently a well documented phenomenon and reported on various game boards. Great.

Luckily, I managed to sell the game off for $40 or so and got GoW2 instead.

What. An. Awesome. Game.

I cannot believe how much fun this game has been. I just finished playing the normal campaign and it was absolutely great.
  • Stunning graphics: The worlds look spectacular. The charachters look great too. They have kept the Gears 1 type of overly muscular, chest-bigger-than-a-gorillas sort of look and it just looks great. The monster art is pretty spectacular and the cut scenes make it look like a movie.
  • Great gameplay: I played single player, split-screen co-op and xbox live co-op. All of them were great. The combat is fun and its not difficult for a newbie to pick up (thinking of certain housemates here). I really enjoy the cover-and-shoot style of play that the Gears series pushes, rather than the run-around-and-dodge style that the Halo series espouses.
  • Multiplayer Co-op: I got stuck trying to knock out the boss - the AI was being silly (look in lowlights), so I jumped online and found an old friend from Seattle who happened to be playing the game too. Created a multiplayer coop, was is combat with my friend in seconds and a minute later: no more boss. He was cool with playing some more and we essentially finished the game together.
  • AI: The AI that controls the friendlies is really bad. It was bad in GoW1 and hasn't seen much improvement in GoW2. Case in point: revival. When you die in combat, you basically get really hurt and start crawling around. At this point, your buddy has a limited time to come revive, or heal you and you can fight again. You would think that this is one thing that the AI would be able to do well: see a fallen buddy: revive. But no. You will be crawling around right next to the friendly bot, and no revival. Seriously: WTF?
  • Story: The story in both the games has been pretty weak. Marcus (the hero, the protagonist, YOU) runs around above-ground, below-ground, all over the place, without a seeming purpose. Saving something, destroying something else, now destroying the thing you saved and saving the thing that you half destroyed - sometimes it just stops making sense. There is a lot of alluding to some sort of back story concerning Marcus's father but we never really get to what it is. And just when you think its going to all come together, it all falls apart even more.
If you have not played this game yet, I would strongly encourage you to get it. Parents: beware. Very foul language (F-word all over the place) and tons of gore (chainsawing through the locust) make this game not at all kid friendly. My best game of 2008 - I wish I had bought this much sooner.

No comments: