Gears of War 2

Discussion in 'Game Discussion' started by Abe Froeman, Oct 16, 2008.

  1. Abe Froeman

    Abe Froeman Gamer Dad Staff Member

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    Since the release is less than a month away and my Woodrow for playing this knows no bounds, I figured a thread was in order. I was reading a hands-on write up of the multiplayer on IGN and thought some of the article would be worth sharing. I know the first game wasn't for everyone, but it has a rabid following.

    Here's a quick video detailing some MP improvements, watch it, you won't be disappointed.

    The Goods

    October 15, 2008 - For as excited as people are about the single-player campaign of Gears of War 2 and finding out exactly how Marcus and his band of wreck loose followers plan to strike into the heart of the Locust horde, the multiplayer component is where the game will find its staying power with the masses.

    I was lucky enough to recently participate in a three-day marathon of Gears of War 2 in downtown San Francisco where I got to work my through the entire campaign mode (on Hardcore, no less) and try my hand at all of the fifteen multiplayer maps that this Christmas list-topper has to offer. I know what you're thinking: "Fifteen? Cliff said there would be ten, maybe twelve at launch last I heard."

    Well, Epic, in all their wisdom, decided that it would be a good idea to launch ten brand new maps along with five recreations from Gears 1. That means that on day one (November 7 for those living under a rock) an auto update will download that gives you Canals, Gridlock, Mansion, Subway, and Tyro Station from Gears of War 1. All of them remastered with the enhancements, like destructible cover, of this latest rendition of Unreal Engine 3. Oh, and they're free. That's always a good thing.

    Even cooler still is that each of the seven modes, as well as the supercalifragilisticexpialidocious Horde mode, can be played on any of the fifteen maps. Why the extra-long adjective to describe the only mode to truly depart from the usual Gears formula? If you've played the five-player cooperative experience then you'd know. Playing Horde mode is sort like the old school Smash TV, all wrapped together with some of the best visuals in our industry.

    It starts off easy enough at Wave One. There are Drones and a few Wretches; nothing too out of the ordinary or demanding. As you progress through the waves more and more enemies are added. Not only in number, but in difficulty. Before you know it the Boomers outnumber the drones. Then there are the different Boomers: The Grinders, Maulers and Flame Boomers. Then come the Kantus Priests and then the Bloodmounts hit on Wave Ten. After Wave Ten everything restarts, but with a twist. Every tenth wave the enemies get a bonus. The first time their health is doubled, then their accuracy, then their damage. By the time you're on Wave 45 it'll feel like you're fighting an army of super-soldiers.

    There was a very memorable moment -- okay, several memorable moments -- during my time with the Horde that is a perfect summation of why the mode is so great. For a short time I brought in fellow IGN cohorts Hilary Goldstein, Ryan Geddes, Dave Clayman and Tom Price from TeamXbox for the ultimate team. We chose the map called Blood Drive. It's a fairly symmetrical map with sets of steps both leading towards a bisecting middle portion of the map. Climbing up the stone steps, we found a corridor that seemed like a perfect place to repel the enemy.

    There were only two openings and we quickly sealed ourselves inside what we affectionately called "The House," with two mobile shields that we got off of dead Maulers. It's important to remember that all the items in Horde respawn after fifteen seconds at the end of a round so we had to pick up the shields and replace them after each wave. It wasn't until Wave 18 that we ran into some trouble.

    See, not only can you pick up the shields and place them wherever you want and use them for your own cover, but the enemy can actually kick down the shields if they can get close enough. Before we knew we were yelling "They're in The House!" thus forcing us to evacuate. We would refortify every round, but before long our efforts were for naught.

    We played on Blood Drive for a solid hour and a half without ever coming close to Wave 50. In fact, the only time someone beat Horde mode was when they turned the difficulty all the way down to Casual. It's just that difficult. It's also important to keep in mind that we only played on one map and had a blast doing it. Each of the ten new creations can be used in different ways. Pavilion, for instance, is an above and below ground environment with no place to call home in Horde mode. It's basically run and gun or be killed before you know it. Different players are going to have to adapt their skills if they want to reach the top of any of the fifteen leaderboards.

    Yes, each map does indeed house its own leaderboard in Horde. At the end of every round your team is assigned a score that factors in elements like difficulty and that score is applied to each of the players. Fail and your score will reset, though you will have the opportunity to retry the wave.

    Failing isn't such a bad thing in the multiplayer of Gears of War 2. Unlike the last game you'll now have a few options to check out the action. First, there's the new Battle Cams. They're fixed positions around the map that you can rotate between and they'll always auto-focus on the most battle-intensive parts of the map. There's also a Ghost Cam mode that allows you to float around the environment, calling out locations to your teammates if it's fitting for the game mode. Players will also have the ability to snap screenshots, have them scored by the game for its number of particle effects and general amount of action happening on-screen, then upload your frozen moments in time to a leaderboard.

    Hooray for helpful distracters!

    So Horde mode was a lot of fun for the IGN editors. I was up until all hours of the night trying to beat Wave 50 with Cliff, Rod and the rest of the Epic people on-hand at the Gears 2 event to no avail. Luckily there are plenty of competitive options to help me take out my frustrations.

    Six to be exact (not counting Execution which is a small deviation from Warzone). There's Annex and Warzone from Gears 1 with King of the Hill, Wingman, Submission and Guardian rounding out the newcomers. My two personal favorite are Submission (Meat Flag) and Guardian. Submission has you pursuing an AI character who you have to take down and drag to a capture area to score. He's got his own score and once tallied up more than 35 kills in a single game against my cohorts and I. Guardian is a VIP-style mode where one all-important player holds the key to your ability to respawn. If the other team kills your VIP then you've quite literally got one life to live.

    As with any multiplayer, Gears 2 is best played with friends. Sitting with five screens back-to-back with five other monitors gets lots of yelling, followed by quiet strategizing is where its at. Speaking of strategies, the method of turning your grenades into proximity mines totally changes the way you play Gears. In Guardian mode captains can now barricade themselves in a room with the help of others with grenades. Plant them in a door frame or just inside a room and watch the enemies blow up as they pursue.

    We used that strategy to great success on both the Stasis and Hail maps. Hail makes use of an environmental hazard (also seen in Avalanche and Security) called Razorhail. First water starts to come down and that's your warning to get under cover as pieces of glass will soon be pouring out of the sky. Luckily, there are train cars that you can hop in, a giant circular umbrella and the inside of buildings for cover. It was inside those buildings that we were able to barricade our VIP. One instance even saw two unknowing pursuers get dominated by a single grenade. Screams of joy soon followed. At least on one side of the aisle.

    Stasis is more of a close-quarters map that's taken straight out of a level from the campaign. It's all indoors and lends itself very well to those who enjoy toting a shotgun around. There's an elevated catwalk that runs down the main room in the map so there's a slight reprieve from the fast and furious action if you so desire.

    All of the multiplayer levels are based on Sera... except one. It's called Ruins and it's an environment taken right out of the Locust hometown. The layout of the level isn't all that dissimilar from a regular Gears map with tight corridors and hallways. The architecture is where you'll find the greatest deviation. Locust carvings and writings are all over the place and there are even pieces of cover that can be triggered into action (something that's exclusive to the Locust locales).

    Now that we've talked about all the maps (less the run of the mill Jacinto and the ones we've already detailed) of Gears of War 2, it's time to move on to the small additions. For starters: there are now bots. You can hop into Training Grounds mode and fight off up to nine bots as a primer for the real deal. Next, there's a feature called "What's Up?" that's located on the main menu. It's sort of a simplified Xbox Guide. Clicking it opens up a list that displays all of your friends playing Gears 2 and lets you assemble a party at the touch of a button. Oh, and yes there is now a fully-functioning party system that lets you jump from mode to mode and match to match, all the while staying with your pals.

    Okay, so here's a refresher course: on November 7 if you get the Limited Edition and wait in line at midnight you'll get the gold Lancer and Hammerburst unlock, you'll get fifteen multiplayer maps, you'll get Horde mode, you'll get six competitive multiplayer modes (Guardian, Wingman, Submission, Annex, Warzone, and King of the Hill), you'll get eight unlockable character models for use in multiplayer, and you'll get a longer campaign mode than you saw the first time around.

    Anyone but me excited for November?

    Source
     
  2. Serideth

    Serideth Active Member

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    Wow I had forgotten about this and had no clue it was so close to release!

    I bought my second 360 just to play this, looking forward to the online play again.
     
  3. Joey

    Joey New Member

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    I actually heard that you would be getting a code in the game that you would would need to redeem for the map pack.

    Not that it matters, but this is supposed to combat the game being sold used, since every game comes with a one time use code. So basically, if you want the maps, you have to buy the game new.

    I think... I heard it on the CAGcast, so I'm not sure if it's confirmed, or if it's just speculation.
     
  4. Granite

    Granite Hardcore Prawn

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    I would expect an internet leak, VERY soon ;)
    There are alot of people with it and a single copy is sure to go stray.
     
  5. hippie

    hippie New Member

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  6. Craig Fairfax

    Craig Fairfax illuminati Vereran

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    As always the good shit leaks when My xbox breaks....
     
  7. commandersafi

    commandersafi New Member

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    I have it already :D
     
  8. Gutya

    Gutya New Member

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    I'm enjoying it so far and I wasn't a huge fan of the first game.

    One of the things I disliked about Gears was that pretty much every environment in the game was dark and gloomy or brown and muddy, which is cool in moderation but it was all too samey.

    Seems to be a lot more vibrant and unique this time. Glad to see they've realised brown != realistic.
     
  9. hippie

    hippie New Member

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    gutya how far have you gotten in horde?
     
  10. Gutya

    Gutya New Member

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    Haven't tried it out yet, been meaning to.
     
  11. Abe Froeman

    Abe Froeman Gamer Dad Staff Member

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    For the love of all that is holy, please use a spoiler for anything plot related in this thread. I freak out every time I click in here.

    Thanks in advance.
     
  12. Gutya

    Gutya New Member

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    Yeah I was gonna make another topic for spoilers to save people like you, forgot we had spoiler tags.
     
  13. Abe Froeman

    Abe Froeman Gamer Dad Staff Member

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    Go ahead and make another topic, it would be easier that way. I can then merge the two once it hits the streets.
     
  14. Granite

    Granite Hardcore Prawn

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    So far im loving this game, its totally epic ...
    But man im being spammed with noob messages like:
    "OMFG HAW DUZ U GAWT DAT SO EARLEH!!11!!one!!!"
    Im not exaggerating when i say that i got atleast 23 messages from people from other peoples buddy lists asking me how they can get Gears to :p
     
  15. Mister Chief

    Mister Chief New Member

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    Do you think it's a good idea being signed into live while playing it?
     
  16. Gutya

    Gutya New Member

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    It's certainly not a bad idea.
     
  17. Mister Chief

    Mister Chief New Member

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    It is if you get banned for it...
     
  18. Gutya

    Gutya New Member

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    Yes. But I won't get banned for it.
     
  19. Mister Chief

    Mister Chief New Member

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    I played online today.

    It has many of the same problems that Gears 1 had.
     
  20. Mr. Beefy

    Mr. Beefy Suck It Trebek

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    Are there many multiplayer matches going on? I'm heading home after I get off work here and spend some time with it.
     

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