E3 2008: Geometry Wars: Retro Evolved 2 Hands-On

At E3 2008, we got our thumbs on this epic, upcoming shooter for Xbox Live Arcade.

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Every system has its killer app, and online services are no different. For Xbox Live Arcade, that game was Geometry Wars. We saw its upcoming sequel, Geometry Wars: Retro Evolved 2, at E3 2008, and with six new modes, this game looks just as killer as ever.

We immediately jumped into a local four-player match of King. In this new mode, circles appear on the field, and you can only fire your weapons from within them. This presents two difficulties: These circles are small, so you can't really move and shoot at the same time. Also, they eventually shrink and disappear, so you have to move from circle to circle without the benefit of blasters. The action was fast, fierce, and fun as we and our comrades fled from place to place, covering each other's flights from the safety of our circles.

If you think that sounds stressful, get a load of the next mode: Pacifism. In Pacifism, you can't shoot at all. Instead, you must passive-aggressively lead enemies toward gates that explode when you fly through them. The best part of this mode is building up a massive following of enemies and then leading the whole swarm to its doom at the mouth of a death gate. It's also pretty cool when you bite off more than you can chew and the mob just swallows you up.

In Deadline, you aren't just trying to stay alive, you're racing against the clock and trying to score as much as possible before time runs out. This mode really shines when played competitively against other players because it's all about getting the highest score. Evolved is essentially classic Geometry Wars (it goes on and on, getting harder and harder), but with new enemies.

Not like Waves, which is totally different and really wild. Classically, the edges of the arena have been your friends; safe places to go where you know you're safe from at least one side. This is not the case in Waves, where each wall will periodically become a giant wave of enemies, which will then fly across the screen. This is stressful enough when you're being attacked by one wall at a time. When you come under fire from three, well, you better hope you have a bomb ready.

Finally, Sequence reverses the normal Geometry paradigm; instead of playing until you die, you play until all the enemies are dead. They all start out in the level with you at once, so the longer you stay alive, the better your chances. This mode is great for a quick fix of Geometry Wars.

So there you have it, five new ways to play, plus one evolved one, all coming this summer to an Xbox Live account near you in the form of Geometry Wars: Retro Evolved 2.

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