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Gears of War 2 was awesomely savage for its time. With its AAA budget it took console players further into the apocalyptic world of Marcus and Dom while demonstrating what consoles could do.
Anyone who has played Gears of War 2 will know just how much the sequel had improved upon the first Gears. A deeper narrative, higher stakes, more action and terrible dialogue. (It must be a prerequisite in the COG army to say “nice” after every single reload).
The ante was upped for the story by mixing two of the most powerful motifs known to man: revenge and survival. Dom is out for blood after his family is taken and the rest of Fenix’s crew are trying to save the world from a Locust invasion.
The narrative was also spiced up with new characters like Tai and Dizzy; whose dialogue provided hours of cringe and laughter, with his hillbilly “yeeeee-haws” and truly awful metaphors, he provided light entertainment compared to the steely Marcus Fenix.
Gears of War 2 can also claim one of the most memorable moments in gaming history, when Dom finds his wife in the belly of a Locust stronghold. Dom’s imagination plays a cold trick on him when he finally reunites with her. He sees her as healthy and untouched as the last day he saw her. When the camera pans round a second time he sees her malnourished and broken physique. The camera then cuts away just as he holds a gun to her head…
A scene that made you turn to your friend (yes, they still had split screen co-op then) and say “bro, that’s deep” and from that point on finishing the game in one complete sitting was a must.
The reason this game’s even deserves a ten year anniversary write up is because the developers actually got it right. The story, multiplayer and horde mode all had immense replay value and DLC packs were waited upon eagerly and usually yielded a good return for your 1200 Microsoft points.
I mean, I used to play the co-op split screen when I had friends over (which is about as likely these days as a bunch of 25-year-old yuppies sitting around and playing Monster Hunter on their Nintendo’s at a high brow cocktail party as we are led to believe). Then I’d try and hit wave 20 on insane difficulty in horde mood just to warm up before a slew of multiplayer games. Days of my life were claimed by that game and even more since the sequels.
At a time when Halo and Call of Duty reigned supreme in the multiplayer realm the versus mode turned away from fast paced first person and took a more combative third person approach where patience and planning was somewhat rewarded.
But the third person also quenched the thirst of players who were looking for more immersive gameplay. Its style practically unrivaled in drumming up drama and used in other popular games like The Last of Us and Dead Space, where the third person camera was used as a tool to tell the story.
As the series has gained popularity, we’ve seen it grow and develop to the point where the arrival of Gears 5 is now imminent. The only thing I hope is we don’t see any more spin-offs like Judgement Day and that the franchise continues to move forward with the technology available to it and they keep using strong motifs to drive the story line.