Wednesday, January 7, 2009

Gears of War 2 Impressions

I can't say it's doing much for me to be honest. It was a Christmas gift, so I've only just started playing... the first few missions and then about 1.5 hours of multiplayer (Onslaught? Horde? Whatever mode where waves of enemies come at you) with some buddies who love the game. Played the first one at a friend's house for all of five minutes... so I'm clearly not much of a GoW fanboi, though I have nothing against it either... but so far I find the second itteration to be utter meh. Co-op and other forms of multiplayer make it palatable enough to get my (or my mother's really) money's worth out of it, but the combat seems like a complete bore. Not boring because it's easy, which is certainly not the case because I suck and die all the time... but boring because it's actively anti-immersive. One of the "gameiest" shooters I've played since Galaga. All your weapons are utterly useless, seemingly taking two clips to kill the lowliest of enemies... luckily you're nearly invulnerable when you're shooting from behind cover... so firefights seem to consist of hiding behind stuff and shooting at the same guys for hours. Yay? The fact that the campaign is completely on rails and scripted in obvious ways... "OK, now I cross this imaginary line and people will come out from behind us to create 'tension'"... does not at all help matters.

Now, currently I suck at the game, so maybe as I play some MP I'll get into whatever nuance there is in the combat system... but it may just be that I'm more of a Call of Duty and Rainbow Six kind of FPS player it this point. I've never really liked Halo either, for similar reasons, so maybe that's just the way it is with me. I just enjoy feeling that the weapon I'm using has some lethality to it... shooting things 100 times to deplete their "shields" or whatever just seems silly to me... and "uber weapons" scattered about the map seems like a concept that should have finally died 5 years ago. Why can't all the weapons be good?

I want to be clear that I don't oppose Sci-Fi themed shooters in general... I just need to feel like my weapon is doing something. Give me all the hordes of enemies that explode in giant balls of guts you want, just not these giant monstrosities that take two clips without flinching and mysteriously keel over after the third.

On a (sort of) positive note the dynamic of the "waves of enemies" co-op mode was nice and made me think I might enjoy Left 4 Dead more that I thought I would. Maybe that will be my first purchase for the new computer (first part of the shipment was delivered last evening, though I didn't see the box until the morning)... after my experience with the lack of LIVE interest in the Orange Box, I'll probably keep my Valve purchases that have MP on the computer.

picture by flickr user Dunechaser used under a Creative Commons license