Wednesday, November 19, 2008

Game Log: Gears of War 2

I just got Gears of War 2, and I love it. Here are some thoughts:

Multiplayer: I've only played about 4-6 hours of multiplayer, and it's been all Horde mode (you plus 4 of your closest friends vs. waves of bad guys). This game mode is more fun than I expected. Plus it's the only way I get to play as Baird. Booya.

Single player: Goddamnit this game is so huge! And I mean that. I've read the word "scope" used to describe GoW2, and they couldn't be more right. The most famous example is the developer making up for the Brumak scene from GoW1 (cut because of time pressure) by having you fight like five brumaks within the first 15 minutes of GoW2. That's big. Then you fight like three corpsers at once, two seeders, a ginormous worm, and a mega-fish (not all in that order). Not to mention new regular enemies and everything.

The basic gameplay hasn't changed too much; you still hide behind cover and shoot at bad guys. Two main things have changed: the enemy AI, and the scope (again). I've been flanked by grubs so many times it's getting me to think the XBox is sensient. And the battlefields are just much bigger (and much smaller sometimes) so you really get caught up in them.

I've said before that the #1 thing I look for in single-player games is immersion: how immersed can I get in the game. Whether it's emotional investment in the characters or just locked-in gameplay, if I forget about the outside world and are thinking solely as the protagonist, that's the win I'm looking for. GoW2 gives it all. They totally sideswiped me with an emotional scene; it came out of nowhere and I totally cried. But the thing is The dialog for that scene isn't even that great. I was just so invested that it hit me harder.

I have yet to finish the game so the ending may disappoint, but I'm already in love. I'll probably play though it like 4-5 times before it's all said and done.

Update 11/26/08: I've played a bit more multiplayer, all horde mode, with some new friends and random people (the matching system for horde is pretty solid). It's still fun, but I can imagine it getting kind of boring soon.

The single player storyline just totally surprised me, and not in a good way. Things happened that totally jarred me out of suspension-of-disbelief. I really hope they tie it all back together.
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