deculture finds out the real reason you should by Gears of War 2.
So yesterday we brought you the campaign review, and while it’s nice enough on it’s own, the campaign has nothing on the multiplayer. Tacked on at the eleventh hour of the first Gears, the multiplayer was wildly successful and challenged the likes of Halo 3 for a long time. Until CoD 4 came along. Regardless, the multiplayer in the first Gears was good enough that many people were playing it even two years after its release.
For me, the first Gears’ multiplayer was both a Love and Hate relationship. On the one hand, there was no multiplayer experience like it at all. It was all about extremely coordinated teamwork and chainsaws. What I hated was all the damn glitches and the exploiters. Roadie-run Shotgun-kill anyone?
So it gives me great pleasure to say that just like the campaign, the improved multiplayer in Gears 2 is bigger, better and more badass. A cheesy line, but it holds true.
The first thing you will notice, after the brilliantly slick interface, is that the player capacity has increased from 8 to 10; thus 5 vs 5 is now standard. Should you fall short of any member in the team, you can use bots. Yes, Epic is legendary at making bots, given their pedigree from the Unreal Tournament series. The difficulty of these bots can be changed as well, to suit your needs.
Moving on, broken down below are the 8 multiplayer modes with a brief description of each:
- Execution: The classic 5 vs 5 Team Deathmatch. You can revive yourself if you’re shot down, but cannot shoot down a ‘downed’ enemy.
- Warzone: The standard 5 vs 5 Team Deathmatch. You can’t revive yourself, and enemies can be killed when they’re ‘down’.
- Guardian: A 5 vs 5 Team Deathmatch in which one person per team becomes the ‘Leader’. If your Leader dies, you won’t be able to respawn, so kill the enemy ‘Leader’ (and the rest of the team) to win.
- Wingman: Think Team Doubles from Halo 3, where 5 teams of 2 players battle it out. The characters for each team will be the same, so anybody who doesn’t look like you and your teammate needs to be executed.
- Submission: This is Gears’ take on Capture the Flag. Both teams have to capture a random character on the map and use him as ‘meatshield’, dragging him back to their base. Holding this “flag” in their base for a certain amount of time leads to victory.
- Annex: Each team has to capture specific points (at one time) within the map. Basically a teammate has to stand in that point (read: circle) to get the points from that zone. Players respawn, and whichever team amasses the most points in the end wins.
- King of the Hill: Just like Annex, except there is only one point to capture.
- Horde: And finally, deculture’s new favourite mode. Here, up to 5 people can join together to take on waves of Locusts. The objective is to simply kill all the enemies in every wave and survive up till wave 50. With every wave, the enemy numbers and types increase until you reach wave 10 (and 20, 30 and so on). After every 10 waves, the enemy stats increase (eg. their health and accuracy increase by two times, etc.)
So those are all the modes, the last one being of particular note. There’s nothing quite as epic as finishing the 50th wave with 5 of your buddies on ‘Insane’ difficulty. This mode, more than anything else, is a brilliant way to increase your teamskills and work out tactics that can be used in standard multiplayer modes. Not only is the sense of camaraderie heightened, but also that everyone knows how the other will react and what their role is. That is if you play with regular players, and not just strangers in match making.
Of all the game mechanic balances epic has worked out, Executions are more welcomed than anything else. In the first Gears, while performing an execution move, the player became invulnerable to any attack, a temporary God mode if you will. Not so in Gears 2, where the executioner can be executed in mid-execution! (Ooh, nice tongue twister there :p)
As was the case with the first Gears, turning Friendly Fire on results in utter chaos, especially in maps with super-weapons. And speaking of, the Hammer of Dawn now can only be used 5 times before the ammo runs out satellites are disaligned. The shotgun has been worked on as well. The shotgun now fires where the barrel is pointed. So unlike the previous Gears where the shotgun fires at the middle of the screen, in Gears 2 you actually have to aim the gun (using Right Stick) since you’re shooting from the hip (unless you press LT and aim). This means many exploiters will be pissed. On the other hand, the Sniper is now very easy to use. And the Lancer is now the weapon of choice. Not least because of the chainsaw duels.
But for all the tweaking and smoothing out of issues that Epic did, they created a few new ones. Like at the end of every round, only the dead can hear the dead and vice versa, therefore no trash talking between the two teams. And you can’t quit once you start a match as there’s no option for that, you actually have to quit to the Dashboard! Another one is that you can’t see who is talking since there is no little bubble that pops up of the person who speaks (unless you press Back and see the scoreboard). And finally, anyone on your friends list can join you in a Private match. Often times there are people on your “friends” list you don’t want to play with, but they can still join you without invitation, resulting in unnecessary suckage of an otherwise good game.
All of these issues could have easily been avoided had it not been for careless design. Let’s hope these things get patched up soon. But even with all its problems, Gears 2 is without a doubt one of the best multiplayer experiences you and your buddies will have for months, if not years!
And with that…