Sunday, April 19, 2009

A Review


Gears of War II

Platform: Xbox 360 Developer: Epic Software Publisher:Microsoft

Box Quote: “This game will INVITE you over to its house and let you bang its sister!” – Iroquois Pliskin, igndotcom

Full Disclosure: The reviewer played through the coop campaign, but didn't do much with the multiplayer component. The original Gears of War was my first experience “playing” competitive online shooters over xbox live. The scare quotes are there because there are vast stretches of nonconsentual sodomy between picking up the controller for the first time and playing a game, an activity one would do for recreation. My dominant memory of this experience was when some frenchman shrieked “Putain!” and lodged a torque bow bolt into my side. Then, I exploded. Word on the street is that the Horde mode (like Resi 5's Mercenaries mode) is the best portion of the entire product, but I wouldn't know.

Gameplay: Maybe because of its doggedly generic trappings, it's easy to forget what an innovative game Gears of War was on its release in 2006. The cover-based gameplay exchanged twitchy run-and-gunning of the classic FPS for tactical firefighting. Gears' novel integration of co-op into the campaign dovetailed perfectly with this shift in emphasis; success in the pitched battles often hinged on coordinating with your partner to execute flaking maneuvers on the enemy positions, flushing your enemies out of cover. The challenge for Gears II is the following: the bloom is off the rose of cover-based combat. So many of its predecessor's gameplay tropes have become de rigeur in modern shooter design. Where does the series go? The marketing runup for the game basically conceded that the sequel was going for a quantitative leap rather than a qualitative one, and after playing Gears II you'll recognize that “more badass” means “more of the same.” Not that this is a bad thing. Epic is simply better at this thing than its competitors; they've done a great job, again, of using clever level design to concoct memorable, tactically interesting firefights. The most creative moments in the sequel come when you're forced to deal with living, moveable, and otherwise unreliable cover. They've devised some fun new weaponry for this outing as well (I dig mortaring fools), and the complement of weaponry at your disposal gives you the means to vary your tactics in the individual encounters, switching between long, medium, and close-range murder-tools. Unfortunately, the game's other stabs at injecting variety and novelty into the gameplay fall flat. The game is never really enjoyable when you're not hunkered behind cover. A lengthy sequence inside of a colossal worm tries to integrate some platformer-style gameplay into the formula, but your character's movements are too lumbering for this segment to be much fun. The primary function of the numerous re-skinned turret sequences the game throws at you is that they make you pine for conveniently placed sandbags.

Story: You have to give them credit: their unironic devotion to the hoariest action-movie conventions is so total that the whole affair begins to verge on the intended iconicism. To sum up: you're a grim marine. You're toting a metric ton of arm and a blithe attitude towards carnage. The actions the game demands of you save the world, somehow. (The reviewer is a little hazy on the causal nexus) This unflinching adherence to caricature is certainly a discredit to the imagination of the game's creators, but in their defense, it's virtually impossible to recall the central events of any shooter game; even in great shooters like Half-Life 2, it's the texture of the world and the atmosphere that sticks with you, rather than the plot beats. And this is what Gears is really about: when you charge an enemy with your upraised chainsaw, you unseam them from the nave to th' chops, spraying gouts of ichor allover the camera lens. Everything about this gesture is gratuitous, down to the camera lens, but Gears of War II achieves a kind of lunatic grandeur that's hard to dismiss. It's the gore that gives the game its personality. When you walk away from the game you're likely to forget about the emulsion and the purpose of the research facility and the tearjerking zombificaiton of the protagonists' loved ones. You will remember all the the cheerful vivisection.

The Takeaway: Are you not entertained?

14 comments:

thesimplicity said...

The closest I have come to playing this series is watching footage of the first game, in which a large, exaggerated black character screamed "YOU CAN'T STOP THE TRAIN, BITCHES" while shooting bug things. Then I learned the character's name was Coletrain and decided that it was not the game for me.

Iroquois Pliskin said...

@thesimplicity: oh, the cole train! While everyone else is acting all sad and grim, he's approaching every firefight and line of dialogue like he's facing off against Macho Man Randy Savage.

Matthew Gallant said...

Gears of War is an unfortunate choice for a first online shooter, it has a steep learning curve and plays very differently from the campaign. If you're ever interested in giving it another go, I assert that Team Fortress 2 is the most beginner friendly shooter out there.

Charles said...

Pliskin is actually veteran Halo 3 player if I remember correctly.

Iroquois Pliskin said...

@matt: it was the first gears I was playing when I had the abovementioned francophone beatdown. Since then I've cut my teeth on Halo 3-- took a lot of losing but I've gotten the hang of it (i'm not technically good tho). The TF2 recommendation is key! I played a bit on Xbox when the Orange box came out but the community around the game was less than ideal. Even so it was fun as all hell! What a great game.

Hd Thanh Xuân said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Hd Thanh Xuân said...

thanks this post

chep phim hd

Cheap Holiday Insurance said...

You can't connect the dots looking forward; you can only connect them looking backwards. So you have to trust that the dots will somehow connect in your future. You have to trust in something - your gut, destiny, life, karma, whatever. This approach has never let me down, and it has made all the difference in my life.
Cheap Holiday Insurance

SEO Manchester said...

When everything else physical and mental seems to diminish, the appreciation of beauty is on the increase.

Small Business Web Design said...

It took us three years to build the NeXT computer. If we'd given customers what they said they wanted, we'd have built a computer they'd have been happy with a year after we spoke to them - not something they'd want now.

MD NAIM UR RASHID said...

An ideal student is very important in our nation. There are so many student in our society.so,We should be care of it, college-paper-writing-service.net A student is a very good person.

Hemel said...

Ulterior plans are also informal if you are cowardly to set a true intensification. Alteration doing so, you may fault orders on an variant. Ill to trail insolences is a butt slip-up rich too oft by multifaceted beginning doctors, and can be rejoined by get-together essays before our much-loved website. If how to write essay you cross to equal an gen over our edifice of tragedians and copyreaders, you can be dignified that we'll tag your daily's supplies as relevant as possible!

Alton Luna said...

There was definitely so much corruption going on at a lot of these nations over the years. I am pleased to glimpse that it is getting under control so much. The future examines so brilliant here. www.paymentprocessingsolutions.net

Mahabub said...

This is imposing and also great info. I personally liked going complete your solid points on this topic. Many cheers for creating such excellent material. This is Carpet Cleaners outstanding.