Offers a great many improvements from the previous game; a few features and unnecessary additions stop a perfect score

User Rating: 9 | Gears of War 2 X360
Gears of War 2 takes place following the events that conclude in the original game. One of the improvements made has to be the graphics, boasting a true HD experience for players of a new generation. The main work has been done to the engine, which is more capable of rendering, utilizing draw distances and lighting. This really does bring the character to life, and shows off more detail than ever before. Game play remains unchanged from the original, the same run and gun tactics between chest high cover, which has been possibly too over used in this series.

Button mashing was certainly not a feature I wanted to see emerge in the Gears series; however behold the joys of Epic development staff's need to include "lancer duels". This made worse where the boss type enemies usually include a number of these to be beaten. Another disappointing section to be mentioned is the chapter where you control the centaur. The vehicle controls are still unwieldy and frustrating to use, seeming thrown in to bulk out the game.

The scale of war in this episode of the Gears saga was a vast improvement from the previous title. Although many points are very linear and you do find yourself fighting with delta squad on numerous occasions, the presence of other soldiers and the COG war machine makes it feel like a larger game. Although with its faults, the campaign is still a good 8-9 hours and is enjoyable on the most part. Epic have managed to include a wider variety of locust, however the absence of some of the more impressive enemies from the original title was slightly disappointing.

Focusing on multiplayer, Epic have, at time of writing now released 29 maps in total if including the new "all fronts" map pack collaboration. This allows for variety, and with numerous game modes and improves online play drastically. This said, balancing weapons is something that seriously needs to be addressed. Shotguns and grenades are possibly the worst offenders, being overused and abused. Use of the tagging grenades to walls would work, if everyone was susceptible to the blast. These grenades seem to be able to tell friend from foe, and cause very frustrating situations that can deter new players. Lag also still hasn't improved, and adds more grief to many a multiplayer match.

One of the best features of Gears 2 is Horde. Horde mode pits you and 4 other friends against waves of locust attackers. This is probably the most fun I have ever had with an online game and still play religiously with my friends, which ends up with barrels of laughter and some unforgettable moments. Although I have listed many a fault, what I hope to see improved, Gears of War 2 is still a tremendously impressive game. There is something satisfying of listening to the sound of an enemy head explode as you score a hit with a sniper, or the comical value of tagging an adversary with a grenade, moments before they explode into a bloody mess. Archetypal quotes from some memorable characters and sound reliable game play make this game a true classic and worthy of recommendation.