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 Post subject: 10 Things We Can Actually Tell You About Gears of War 2
PostPosted: Mon Oct 06, 2008 2:40 pm 
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Last week, Microsoft brought Gears of War 2 to town, to let highly esteemed video-game reviewers like yours truly (okay, maybe not “highly esteemed,” but how about “employed”?) sit down and play the game in its entirety. The purpose of this was to give us an opportunity ahead of the game’s release to do what we had to do so that we could score the game accordingly, and tell you, our readers, what we think. Of course, they weren’t just going to send us builds—that code would have been on some warez site in an instant.

So I played it. I finished it. On hardcore, no less. While I can’t quite tell you what I think about the game yet—actual “reviews” are still under embargo until closer to the game’s release—but I can tell you about my experiences playing it. Or, at least, my experiences that don’t conflict with anything listed on a comprehensive “don’t spoil” list that they gave us. In other words, not much.

You should see this list. Actually, no, you shouldn’t, because it would spoil a ton of things about the game for you. And no matter how hungry you are for any nugget of new info about Epic’s hotly anticipated sequel to one of the Xbox 360’s proudest exclusive titles, I’m sure for the most part you want to experience the game for yourself. I got to, and if anyone had ruined a plot point for me, I would probably punch them in the face.

So I came up with a list of things I actually can tell you about. Things that won’t spoil the overall story or ruin any other awesome surprises that the game holds. Trust me, it’s got plenty of surprises up its sleeve. But like Forrest Gump, that’s all I’m gonna say about that. Instead, here is a list of the top ten things I actually can tell you about the game, in no particular order:

#1—Yes, you do get to ride a Brumak: In Cliff Bleszinski’s thrilling E3 demo of the game (view it in HD or standard def) the live action ended with Marcus and Dom contemplating mounting up on that behemoth Locust war machine. We can confirm that you will actually get to do that, it’s not a tease. We won’t tell you when or why you get to do that, because it would probably ruin some things for you. But know this: It’s hands down one of the most fun sections of the game. How could riding a huge lumbering beast adorned with guns and rocket launchers not be?
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#2—You’ll get to ride a Reaver, too: More like “ride on it,” but you wanted to be the gunner more than the driver anyway, right? Later in the game, there is an extended chase sequence where you and Cole and the rest of the team have to hop on a couple of Reavers and escape to—let’s just say “somewhere else”—while being chased by one of the main bad guys, Skorge, who’s riding on—let’s just say “something else.” It’s an exciting sequence, if quite a bit different than the standard Gears of War gameplay. There are a number of shooting-gallery sequences like this throughout the game, though this one is by far the most thrilling. You’ve got a cannon-shot as well as a chaingun-type weapon. The first one shoots forward and the second one shoots backward. Turning your body from backward-facing to frontward on the Reaver changes that for you, but you can also hit X to quickly shift. You also have some control over the Reaver to dodge incoming shots, something you’ll need to do quite frequently.

#3—The new weapons are awesome: Sure, the Lancer is still your bread and butter gun—that chainsaw is just too much fun to not be used. And plenty of your favorites, such as the Torque Bow and the Shotgun, return to give you the firepower punch you know you’ll need to repel the Locust baddies. But the new guns, especially the heavy ones (such as the Gatling-Gun-inspired Mulcher and the Mortar launcher) are so much fun and so satisfying in their abilities, that you’ll be bummed when they run out of ammo. Don’t worry…they’re in multiplayer, too, along with the very handy, if short-ranged, flamethrower, so you’ll get plenty of opportunities to use them. That said, the old standards are still the ones you’ll use more than anything. I probably got more done with the Lancer and the Sniper Rifle in tandem than anything else.

#4—Achievement progress bars have been included: I wish every game had these. As you play, you’ll sometimes get a little status bar showing your progress towards a certain achievement. For instance, every 100 kills or so, you’ll see your progress towards getting the Seriously 2.0 achievement. You remember the Seriously achievement from the first game, right? Kill 10,000 enemies. In 2.0, you have to kill 100,000. Good luck with that. If it wasn’t for the progress bars informing me about a couple of achievements I was making headway on—and inspiring me to concentrate on those a little bit as I progressed through the story—I probably wouldn’t have finished the game with 455 points. And that’s not including any multiplayer or co-op achievements that should easily fall after a couple days playing online. I’m no achievement whore or anything, but it feels good to get those little feelings of accomplishment, especially at moments when the game was kicking my butt.
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#5—The vehicle mission is better than last time: The vehicle segment in Gears of War may have been innovative from a design point of view, but it lacked a fundamental quality: It wasn’t fun. A beam of light is no kind of “weapon” for a COG super soldier. This time you’ll actually get to drive a more tank-like vehicle with a real cannon on it and a turbo boost for going off of jumps. If you take too much damage, the vehicle will be repaired by Baird, as long as no one else is hitting you with anything. It drives a bit more like the Warthog from Halo, which is either a good or bad thing, depending on your experience with that game. Still, it’s definitely more fun than last time.
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#6—The Locust have boats: They just keep pulling surprises out of their scaly butts. There’s a sequence that takes place on a lake deep underground, and the appearance of Locust gunboats—powered by big living creatures like almost all of the Locust vehicles—is a really pleasant surprise. The gunboats are another thing you don’t see coming (well, you will now) and may seem a little silly on paper. But when you see their actual design, you’ll realize how cool they are and the lengths the designers of the game have gone to expand the universe, while still sticking to the core fiction.

#7—People die: Obviously, I can’t tell you who or why or when, but some characters you care about definitely will. It’s all part of Gears 2’s more emotionally impactful storyline. The writers have crafted a story with a lot more punch feeling-wise, resulting in a story that’s overall a lot more satisfying than the first. And coming out the other end, you’ll likely feel a lot more invested in these characters and the fate of Sera than you ever have before. I’m not saying the game will make you cry, but you’ll definitely say “whoa” a couple times under your breath.

#8—The game is longer: A personal rough estimate would be about 25% longer, at least in my experience. Many gamers felt like the first game was too short, but Gears of War 2 feels just about right, length-wise. It doesn’t hurt that the game’s levels show off a refreshing variety in their design, both in location and what they require you to do to finish them. It would be majorly spoilerific of me to give more details than that, but it’s safe to say that you’ll feel far more satisfied at the end of Gears of War 2 than you did in Gears of War, while having your appetite whetted for the next game in the series.
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#9—Carmine returns: Well, not exactly. He was pretty clearly killed in the last game, making room in your party for Cole and Baird. So, why is a helmeted guy named Carmine following you around through the opening training levels? It’s his brother, and apparently there are more Carmine boys in the C.O.G. What makes me think we’ll be seeing a “Saving Pvt. Carmine” mission in a future sequel?

#10—You’ll find out more about the Locust and who they are: In fact, you’ll even get to meet their leader, The Locust Queen, who begins the game with her voiceover and scenes of thousands of her army preparing for battle. Rarely has an opening cutscene gotten me more pumped up for the action to come. And while I can’t and won’t tell you what you’ll learn about them, expect some pretty unexpected twists along the way to discovering what they are and what this war is all about.

Bonus—Item #11 (Psst, don't tell Microsoft we told you about this…)

#11—You should watch the credits till the end: Yes, they’re long, but you owe it to the fine people who made this fine game to see who they are and some of their faces that are displayed along the bottom as the scroll goes on for like ten minutes. The reason you should stick around, though, is a little audio clip that plays at the end. It’ll put an interesting twist on something you saw earlier in the game—an extremely important plot point that we can only assume leads into the story for the inevitable Gears of War 3. It will undoubtedly spark some hot debate amongst fans as to what it exactly means, and if you really care about the series, you won’t want to miss it.
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 Post subject: Re: 10 Things We Can Actually Tell You About Gears of War 2
PostPosted: Tue Oct 21, 2008 8:02 am 
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NICE!


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 Post subject: Re: 10 Things We Can Actually Tell You About Gears of War 2
PostPosted: Tue Oct 21, 2008 8:30 am 
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thanks glen, all this new info just keeps hyping me up for the 7th, cant wait


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 Post subject: Re: 10 Things We Can Actually Tell You About Gears of War 2
PostPosted: Sun Nov 02, 2008 10:49 am 
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Awesome! Now i wont have to commit suicide waiting for this game [angry02.gif]

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 Post subject: Re: 10 Things We Can Actually Tell You About Gears of War 2
PostPosted: Mon Nov 03, 2008 3:10 am 
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omg this campaign is going to be awesome and co-op will be more awesome cant wait thanks [shifty.gif]


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 Post subject: Re: 10 Things We Can Actually Tell You About Gears of War 2
PostPosted: Mon Nov 03, 2008 3:19 am 
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yea i cant wait to do some co-op

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 Post subject: Re: 10 Things We Can Actually Tell You About Gears of War 2
PostPosted: Mon Nov 03, 2008 3:30 am 
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Wow, awesome info man ty. That audio clip should be interesting to say the least. Nice find.

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