Tag Archive: gears of war

I had a chance to play Gears of War 4 before its upcoming beta. This was a Team Deathmatch match on Foundation, one of nine new maps launching with Gears 4‘s multiplayer.

Gears of War 4 is an Xbox One exclusive dropping on October 11.

I had a chance to check out Gears of War 4‘s multiplayer a few days before the beta launches. This video shows off the brand new Dodgeball mode. Similar to execution, players only have one life to live, but when a teammate kills an opposing player, dead players can respawn.

Gears of War 4 launches exclusively on Xbox One on October 11.

Industry veteran and current Microsoft Studios creative director Ken Lobb explained that Black Tusk’s take on Gears of War would be “innovative” and run on Unreal 4 in a recent interview with Edge.

“I think the reality is what we have is innovative Gears Of War. That’s what I believe they’re going to make,” said Lobb. “They’re an internal studio, but the reality is it’s cool to have [an IP] that can be a grand slam right out of the gate. The concepts they’ve been toying with are awesome. You take what they were thinking about and their expertise on Unreal Engine 4, because that’s what they’ve been playing with since their founding, and really go with the IP.”

Ken Lobb has worked in the games industry for over 20 years, helping craft such memorable classics as G.I. Joe for the NES and Goldeneye 007 for the N64 (he’s who the infamous Klobb was named after). He even took part in the discussions that led to Metroid Prime before joining Microsoft in 2001.

Black Tusk is a relatively new first-party studio, founded in 2012 under the Microsoft banner, and was supposedly working on an original IP before being charged with Gears of War. To help get the feel of the franchise, long-time Gears of War producer Rod Fergusson was also brought on as studio manager when Black Tusk took on the project.

No other details about this new Gears of War project have come out yet, as Black Tusk only began work on the project a few months ago.

Originally Published: April 18, 2011, on Comicvine.com

I normally would have a “Comics to Video Games” article ready for you folks right about now (and don’t worry I’m working on the next one), but I was reading an interview the other day with Ian Flynn, a writer best known for his current run on the Sonic the Hedgehog series published by Archie Comics, and found out he’s going to be the main writer behind a new monthly Mega Man comic book series.

This latest video game series from Archie Comics comes out in the beginning of May and it will chronicle the Blue Bomber’s run through his nearly dozen games, starting with Mega Man 1 playing out across the first four issues, and will answer the big questions, like how no one was able to figure out when Dr. Wily was up to no good. It’s not like he had ten giant skull shaped fortresses built. Oh, wait. Hmmm. Also, I wonder if there will be any mention of Mega Man Soccer in an annual or something.

Anyway, this got me thinking about the flood of both monthly and limited series comic books we’ve seen in recent years based on video games. City of Heroes, Halo, inFamous, Gears of War, Prototype, and even DCU Online, which of course is a comic based off a video game based off of comics. So what’s with this sudden influx of video game based comics at our local retailers?

Now, comics based off of video games are nothing new. After all, Sonic, has had his own ongoing series for nearly twenty years now. But to see so many new comics based on games is a little off putting. An idealist might say comics are simply being used as tools to help flesh out stories that can’t be fully told in a 15-hour game. But what if they are really being used just as promotional items to bolster game sales instead? Or are comic companies trying to jump on the bandwagon of a popular game franchise in the hopes of making a profit, knowing that the key comic book and video game demographics are one in the same? Or maybe it is a little of all of the above?

Can ongoing video game comics also hurt the base franchise as there could be unintentional limits placed on the game developers? There would have to be constant communication between both the game developers and the comic book writing and editorial teams in order to ensure that what is being done in the comics isn’t radically different from what is happening or going to happen in sequel video games upon their release.

If Josh Ortega kills off someone in the Gears of War comic, he had better let Cliff Bleszinski and Karen Traviss know so that person doesn’t show up in Gears of War 3, otherwise there are going to be some mighty ticked off Gearheads out there. And what if Cliff had planned on making that character a major player in the Gears universe? How much say does the original game creators have when it comes to forwarding the plot of a comic that is being looked at as canon? It just seems that adding more moving parts to such a complex and detailed story might come off as limiting from a creative standpoint, especially while the main series is still really ongoing and even while just trying to flesh out previously mentioned references from the original property (like the Pendulum Wars for Gears).

And this brings us back to my inspiration. Mega Man. Does doing a comic that follows, for the most part, a story we already know lessen the mass appeal of a comic? Why should I read something I’ve already played through several hundred times? Can you really flesh out a character that much with a few thought bubbles while it’s blasting another foe into oblivion? If anything, it might take away from those original gaming experiences, especially from the old NES days, where the player was left to their own devices to fill in gaps in a protagonist’s personality and whatnot. So are original stories that add to and build on top of already existing canon the only real option in that case to ensure a profit will be made and to protect a property?

Despite this, does every new video game need a comic book? I read the six-issue limited series for Prototype and I felt what I got from that comic was not worth the price I paid as a lead in to the actual game. In fact, the comic ruined the game experience some as it spoiled a lot of the game’s surprises. The same goes for the Gears of War comic. Some issues have been great, but I didn’t need a one-issue back-story on Tai. I don’t need a character that is dead to be fleshed out. It just reeks of trying to turn a quick buck if you ask me. It dilutes the potential of building the franchise naturally and feels very forced in some cases.

But I really don’t mind franchises diversifying, and actually enjoy seeing new adventures with my favorite characters that continue the story beyond the original product (you should see my Star Wars expanded universe novel collection). I do feel that there should be some sort of criteria before a franchise is expanded though like with a game based comic. Wait until the main story, in most cases nowadays the story being a trilogy, is complete before you start filling in the gaps. Imagine if a comic or novel like Shadows of the Empire in Star Wars, which takes places between The Empire Strikes Back and Return of the Jedi, had been released in 1981, right between Empire and Jedi. I think that it coming after the fact made it much more powerful and interesting. Similar to the games Halo: Reach and Halo 3: ODST. They were better stories because the universe had already been fully established and then writers went back to fill in the blanks.

So what do you guys think? Are you fans of video game based comics? Are there too many out there flooding the market? What should be the criteria for a game based comic to be published? And how much creative freedom should the writing and editorial teams have with long established characters like Mega Man? Will you buy the Mega Man monthly upon its release? Let us know with comments below!

CGR NEWS – Duke Nukem Returns!

Originally Published: September 9, 2010 on CGR Undertow

CGR News 9/8/10 – Duke Nukem Returns! The news is in, a new Duke Nukem video game is being made! The king of bad boy first person shooters Duke Nukem will finally be coming back to videogame consoles and kicking some serious ass while delivering laughs.

Originally Published: April 15, 2010, on Examiner.com and Lundberg.me

Well, if you haven’t heard by now, you must be living under a rock. This past Monday, Cliff Bleszinski, one of the main men behind Xbox 360’s epic Gears of War series, went on to Late Night w/ Jimmy Fallon. Jimmy is a well known game aficionado and has had several game developers and personalites on before so it was no surprise to see such a big name on the show. And Cliff came bearing gifts. Specifically the trailer for Gears of War 3.

The trailer, titled “Ashes to Ashes” (and yes, I remember this being a chapter in Gears 2 as well), shows several new gears, soon accompanied by Cole and Marcus, running through humans turned to ashes (side effects of a previous weapon, a new weapon, or a telltale sign of things to come?) before being surrounded by lambent and locust forces alike.

All I can say is…YES!!!!! As a diehard Gears fan, this is a moment that many of us have been patiently anticipating for quite some time. And the trailer tells us much more than meets the eye. Firstly, the lambent are back and are quite the force to be reckoned with as some new tentacle creatures look to be wreaking havoc on locust and human alike. Secondly, something many female gamers have been clamoring for, female gears look to be a part of this, assumedly final, installment of the Gears series (hey, if Halo can do prequels, why not Gears?).

There is a lot more to speculate though about this chapter in the Gears canon. Will it be NATAL compatible? Can we play with other characters besides Marcus? What can we expect in terms of the multiplayer? How will Marcus’s father play into things? It may be a year to wait, but in the end, I’m sure it’ll be worth it. By the way, my birthday happens to be April 8th, so if anyone wonders what I’ll be wanting next year, take a guess.

If you haven’t seen the trailer yet, then head to http://gearsofwar.xbox.com and check it out, or you can check out Cliff’s appearance with Jimmy over at http://latenightwithjimmyfallon.com and see the entire segment (look for Monday, April 12th’s episode, which will be available until April 28th).

Are You Afraid of the Dark?

Originally Published: August 7, 2009, on Examiner.com and 1050ESPN.com (now ESPNNewYork.com)

Xbox 360 is in the middle of its second annual summer push of original downloadable content. Later in the month we’ll look at some of the new and revamped games being released on Xbox Live’s Arcade, but we can’t forget the great add-ons being released for some of the already established hits for the Xbox 360.

In that vein we look at the latest and greatest map pack for the 11-time platinum Gears of War 2. A total of seven new maps with 13 new achievements which would award 325 more Gamerscore points, the Dark Corners map pack also includes a very special addition to the story mode campaign.

Originally a part of Act IV the new scene, “Road to Ruin”, was a level that took Marcus and Dom along a Locust highway deep in the hive. Of course, this level never made it into the final cut of the game…until now. After a brief intro movie from Lead Game Designer Cliff Blezinski, the level starts off giving you the choice to go in guns blazing or to sneak around in Locust armor to avoid an enemy confrontation. This new level helps to expand on one of the most powerful scenes in video game history (Dom finding his wife a shell of her former self and putting her out of her misery) and adds to the lore of Gears of War by giving you the chance to meet up with an old friend from Gears 1 along the way and that alone is worth picking up the Dark Corners add-on.

One of the greatest aspects of Gears of War, though, is the multiplayer so I am sure that more people will be looking at what they can do with the seven brand new maps. After a week of non-stop multi-player mayhem, I feel I can now paint you an accurate picture as to how great these maps are.

The first map of note at is Allfathers Garden. A COG landmark that honors the long gone founders of the Coalition, this sacred ground is great for all kinds of matches, but provides fast, heart-thumping action best in Warzone, Execution, or Submission game modes because its small size provides for lots of quick confrontations. Add-in a plethora of heavy weapons and you have all the pieces in place for some explosive combat situations.

Next, we look at the Memorial map. Set in a landmark dedicated to the soldiers who have fallen in battle against the Locust, this map is another great Warzone or Execution map, but also does well in Guardian mode because it forces the leader to constantly be on the move due to the most secure areas are also re-spawn points. Nothing worse than settling into a corner of the map to have someone you just picked off appear behind you and cut you to ribbons. This, again, makes quick confrontations a constant, especially when everyone realizes the Boomshot (grenade launcher) in the center of the building is up for grabs…

Similar in tone to the first two maps, Sanctuary is set in a temple whose walls have long since been abandoned after being battered by Locust attacks, the stench of death its only inhabitant now (I would assume considering video games haven’t become THAT realistic yet). Tight, narrow hallways and mostly blind corners makes this an ideal Annex and King of the Hill battleground as you can regroup with your squad mates and easily flank different positions.

Stepping away from the monuments, we head indoors to an abandoned train station for War Machine. Blank terminals line the walls of the once bustling travel hub as sandbags line the rails now instead of train cars to provide extra cover during frequent firefights. Probably the smallest of all the new maps, it is one of the two easiest Horde maps due to being able to easily hunker down in one of the four corners and pick off the unsuspecting Locust as they wander in front of your crosshairs. It also has a plethora of powerful weapons scattered about that makes the scramble in Execution and Warzone modes a joy as you see the indecision as newbies don’t know if they should secure the high ground or pick up a Boomshot.

Keeping up with the travel theme, we head deep into Locust territory in Highway. A complex system of hallways and passages for moving enemy supplies, the screams of chained Brumaks echo in the background as you try to maneuver through this Locust maze. This is the other great map for Horde for the same reason as War Machine. This is a larger map that would make you a little more likely to wander out and search for you prey, but it has some great areas to hunker down with your teammates and pick off Locust. Another great Annex and King of the Hill map due to its maze-like tendencies providing many ways to sneak up on unsuspecting foes.

Even deeper in the Locust stronghold is the Way Station where captured Stranded and COG soldiers sit in limbo between “processing” and death for whatever nefarious purposes the Locust are using them. A great map for Guardian because, much like Memorial, the leader has to be on the move. It does have a couple of areas that a leader could settle into and make a valiant defense if necessary, but otherwise scrambling for the grenades and Torque Bows and taking the fight to your enemies is probably the best way to go here.

The last map is truly unique from any map in this or any other map pack. Nowhere was once considered an oasis, now long abandoned and reclaimed by the desert as you maneuver down the main street and work your way through boarded up stores and hotels. This is a great map for Execution and Warzone as you have plenty of options. You can either take up a defensive position inside the stores or try to go on the offensive and snipe your enemies with heavy weapons on the roof of the hotel. Either way, fast paced action makes this a great, quick way to build up experience if you can decide on a winning strategy.

It goes without mention that this is a must have download for Gearheads. If you haven’t been keeping up with all that is Gears of War though, there is also the All Fronts Collection that has been released along with Dark Corners that includes ALL previous map packs, which makes this a perfect time to get back into the chainsaw swing of things.

All Fronts is now available for 1600 Microsoft points (roughly $20 American dollars) and Dark Corners is available by itself for 1200 Microsoft points (roughly $15 American dollars).

-Ray Carsillo

Originally Published: April 27, 2009, on 1050ESPN.com (now ESPNNewYork.com)

We’re getting close to the summer push for video games when blockbuster after blockbuster will be dropping for the next two months. With the tough economy, not everyone is going to have the chance to drop all that money on the plethora of hits coming out in the next 60 days, though. So you’ll see people maybe get a game or two, but they’ll need more. Well, for those penny-pinchers out there I have been given a solution.

More maps from Gears of War 2!

Now, everyone knows I play a lot of games (I’ve beaten 70 over the past 8 months) over many different genres (fighting, first- or third-person shooters, RTS, RPG, adventure, racing, etc., etc.), but I keep coming back to Gears of War 2 because it is rare nowadays that a game will have the lasting power and deliver the multiplayer mayhem most of us crave like this game.

On top of this, the brilliant minds at Epic Games like to keep things fresh for all its die-hard and casual fans alike and at an affordable price. For only 800 Microsoft points (roughly eight to ten American dollars) you can purchase four brand new multiplayer maps that bring the pain like no others have so far.

Included with the download of the four new maps are nine brand new achievements you can unlock, worth 250 Gamerscore points, as well.

This map pack will have you washing off that Lancer Chainsaw Rifle with Locust blood in no time. I just don’t recommend you eat the red snow…

That reminds me of a critical detail. It’s called the Snowblind Map Pack. That’s right. Soon it may be warm enough to cook eggs on the city sidewalks outside, but inside it’ll be nice and frosty as the new map pack has a wintery theme to help keep you Gearheads cooled off.

The first map included in the new map pack is Fuel Depot. Gear veterans will know that Fuel Depot was an original map in Gears 1, but this time it is blanketed in freshly fallen snow to give the all-time classic a revamped look. Add in Gears 2‘s Guardian mode and heavy weapons and suddenly this familiar map gets an entirely new twist as you re-familiarize yourself with its open and unforgiving sections to the lovely sound of Gatling gun bullets whizzing by your frostbitten face.

The first brand new map we’ll look at is Courtyard. What once was a hustling and bustling metropolis’ civic center is now an arid kill zone with clear lines of sight for whatever team can maintain the elevated sniper’s nest. There is a boiler room though that you can take refuge in and regroup with some grenades/proximity mines should your team lose or fail to grab control of the nest in the onset of the battle. It’s a great map for every mode of play; I found Courtyard to be a particular favorite of mine for Annex or Submission matches.

The next new map is Grindyard. Once used to recycle scrap metal during the more industrial days of Sera’s history, Grindyard has a gutted main office that could act as a guard tower if your team can fortify it first. Some of my best Execution battles have been won and lost in the walkway leading to the top of the tower where there is usually a heavy weapon waiting for you to dole out punishment from high above. If you can’t get the tower, you can try to snipe off opposing team members from two corner offices that are well fortified from enemy fire, but watch your back! There are two ways in and out of the lower offices, unlike the tower office, making it much easier for a less organized team to be picked off from behind. This map is a spectacular arena for Guardian or Warzone game modes.

It’s hard to pick favorites, but this last map would probably be the one I choose out of the new map pack. Under Hill is a scene that many people who have to drive into New York City everyday would appreciate. Snowbound tunnels and tollbooths set the scene here as wrecked cars provide cover as you attempt to reach the top of the paved helix for some prime weaponry. Often higher ground gives you a tactical advantage, but that’s not always so here. The top of the helix is wide open and accessible from two lanes whereas you could always fortify yourself near the bottom inside a garage with an impenetrable steel door and wait to mow down enemies foolish enough to stumble through the narrow rear walkway. Also easily fortifiable are the two far corridors on either side of the garage that always have grenades/proximity mines ready to help you defend it from enemies. While wider than the garage and with much more cover, with the help of some well placed mines, the corridors could easily be a deathtrap for anyone brave enough to wander in by himself. Under Hill is a great map for King of the Hill and Annex matches.

This map pack is a must have download for any Gearhead. If you’re a more casual gamer and you’re looking for some fresh gameplay and are a little strapped for cash in the coming months, a new map pack might be just the thing you need to keep yourself satiated until that tax return check arrives. Gears of War 2’s Snowblind Map Pack is downloadable now on XBOX Live.

-Ray Carsillo

Originally Published: January 30, 2009, for 1050ESPN.com (now ESPNNewYork.com)

I had said last week that running over a platoon of Covenant troops with a squadron of Warthogs might threaten Gears of War 2‘s Lancer Chainsaw Rifle on the fun-level food chain. In response, the genii at Epic Games unleashed the new Combustible Map Pack for Gears of War 2. Three new maps to freshen up the multiplayer mayhem that Gears of War 2 brings to your XBOX360 to keep you up till 3 AM swearing at kids who can’t even spell the words you are using when you get forced into an Imulsion bath. Ummm…maybe that’s just me, but it still gives the multiplayer a nice new kick to the teeth to make sure the disc stays warm in your system.

First, we’ll look at the Gold Rush map. You are situated in an old, still running, Imulsion refinery with multiple tiers. Oh, and it just so happens to have a mortar launcher smack in the middle of it. A symmetrical level with plenty of nooks and crannies to hide in, if you can grab the mortar positioned in the most open part of the level and make it back to a nook; you can easily control the battle. You can imagine the problems that arise with it being in the middle of an open platform, though. Talk about risking your neck. Not my favorite level personally because of a lack of level hazards, the level’s symmetry, and that any well-coordinated team could easily dominate, it is still a solid multiplayer level.

The second map became near and dear to my heart quickly because it revolves around pyrotechnics. Fuel Station is located around an abandoned fossil fuel station and several well placed re-fueling trucks. The station itself is the center of the map and anyone who controls the station can control the tide of battle very easily. With little cover around the station that does not explode, getting to the station from across the street can be difficult at best if your opponent camps out on the roof and starts setting off all your cover in a blaze of glory with the Mulcher Mini-gun, conveniently located in the station. Maybe all these explosions give you an idea why they call it the “Combustible” Map Pack. Word of advice; do not get discouraged if you aren’t spawned at the station to start the level. A well organized unit could still work their way to the rear of the station and the fight for the stairwell to the roof is always memorable.

The last map is my personal favorite. Flood is the smallest of the three new maps as you are stranded on an island consisting of freeway rubble and debris surrounded by a golden sea of poisonous Imulsion. And if you think it’s a small level to start, wait till the Imulsion level starts rising. The battle that ensues for the raised piece of crumbling freeway is always exciting as there are several paths leading onto that little slice of salvation and a couple of decayed cars that like to go off like the Fuel Station tankers. With little to no cover left, a winner will be forced to emerge from this hazardous situation every time.

These three new maps bring multiplayer mayhem to a whole new level and will keep everyone grinding their gears as these levels successfully keep the game fresh. With the maps themselves providing just as much danger as the opposing teams and, for the most part, preventing anyone from camping out and being a pesky sniper (and no pesky snipers makes me a happy Gearhead), these levels are well worth the download to your XBOX360.

The Gears of War 2 Combustible Map Pack is available now for download on XBOX Live for 800 Microsoft Points (roughly eight American dollars) and there is still nothing more fun in games than sneaking up behind someone and slicing them to ribbons with the Lancer Chainsaw Rifle.

-Ray Carsillo

Originally Published: November 21, 2008, on 1050ESPN.com (now ESPNNewYork.com)

Ray Carsillo Reporting for 1050 ESPN at NYC Gears of War 2 Launch
Video by Jared Bodden

It helped launch the current generation of systems and prove just how far we had come in terms of shooter games. It also left us on the edge of our seats as we knew by the end cut scene that this epic was not over. Gears of War was revolutionary in terms of how much it stressed firing from behind cover and blind firing without a stress on stealth. Add in that there was nothing more satisfying in online play than sneaking up behind someone and mowing them down with the chainsaw attached to your gun. Graphics, weapon design, enemy A.I., they all took steps forward with the first Gears of War, so how on earth could they top it?

If you loved the first Gears as much as I did, then you were at a Midnight Mayhem Launch at one of the many locations across the tri-state area, waiting anxiously for the clock to strike 12:01 AM on Friday, November 7th. Take a look at the attached video to see a special interview with Rod Fergusson, the Senior Producer for Gears of War 2 from Epic Games and you can get a better sense of what to expect.

After finally procuring my own copy of Gears of War 2, I staved off sleep for as long as it took for me to beat it and I could not have been happier with the product.

The first game set the stage for one of the grandest universes we’ve been immersed in as gamers in a long while and the second game did its job, which was to flesh out the characters and expound on the background of this amazing universe.
You once again take on the role of Marcus Fenix and have to lead Delta Squad against the Locust Hordes who are trying to take over the surface world after living under the earth’s crust for no one knows how long.

One of the additions to this game is in Co-op story mode, you aren’t a ghost shooter when you tag along with a buddy, but take over as Dominic Santiago, Marcus’s closest friend and 2nd in command and follow the story through his eyes as well as Marcus’s. A nice addition to mention is that both Marcus’s and Dom’s back stories have been fleshed out and you learn a lot about their characters and personal motives with some interesting twists and turns along the way.

As well as the fleshed out story, the graphics have been upgraded to push the XBOX 360 to its limits and you can tell. The light effects, the blood, the lush color of vegetation (or not so lush of rotting vegetation), all bring the sense of realism to all new heights. The enemy A.I. has been upgraded and the gameplay is as smooth as can be. I saw no glitches to speak of. And some of the most fun levels I’ve played in a long time were when you get behind the wheel of several C.O.G. and Locust “vehicles” and just start blowing everything and everyone to kingdom come.

The multiplayer is back as well and has been ramped up. With new multiplayer modes, like King of the Hill, Wingman, and Annex, new maps, and the pure satisfaction of winning a battle of clashing chainsaws and you have one of the best multiplayer experiences out there.

Add in new abilities, like using dying Locust soldiers as shields while under fire, collectibles from every level, and new weapons such as poison gas grenades, burst shot pistols, the ability to turn your grenades into proximity mines (which can be planted right on enemies as well as on walls), flamethrowers, and the return of some of the greatest weapons ever imagined like the Lancer chainsaw rifle and you have all the ingredients for, in my opinion, so far, the best gaming experience of 2008.

Ratings are based on a system of 1 to 10 with 10 being the highest.

Graphics: 9.5: Sharp, clear, crisp. These are words that you use when describing Gears of War 2. The only reason why I deducted points was that when you mow down enemies with the chainsaw, they fall apart into lots of little pieces that would not make sense if you’re slicing them right down the middle. Aside from this minor critique, the game is a feast for the eyes.

Audio: 10.0: The voice acting was superb. The gravel and guts in Marcus Fenix’s voice made you think of how much fighting this man had seen. The music fit every situation and helped to build tension to let you know when something was coming so that you actually tensed up because you didn’t know what would be behind the next corner. Explosions, gunfire, chainsaws grinding, and other SFX were all solidly used as well. Can’t deduct from something was perfect.

Plot/Plot Development: 9.0:
The first Gears ended in a cliffhanger and the second Gears ends in even a bigger cliffhanger. Questions from the first Gears were answered, but even more questions pop up as you play through the game. I don’t want to give anything away by saying what they are, but I already can’t wait for Gears 3! Add in the emotion you feel for the characters as their backgrounds are fleshed out and you walk away from this one like you just watched a great movie in the middle of the trilogy. Dare I say, this is The Empire Strike Back of video games?

Gameplay: 10.0: There were no glitches as far as I could tell and everything kept up at a great pace. I didn’t even realize how long I had been playing the game for until I finally looked at my clock and said “Damn!” It felt like I was watching a movie it was so smooth. Enemy A.I. was relatively unpredictable and the game was just hard enough to give you a challenge, but with enough checkpoints to keep you from being frustrated. Best game I’ve played this year, I think.

Replay Value: 9.0: Not a lot to bring you back to the story mode aside from getting the achievements of beating the game on a harder difficulty and trying to find all the collectibles, but the multiplayer is great. Lots of different modes keeps the multiplayer situations constantly in flux and there is still no greater feeling in gaming than sneaking up on someone and hacking them to ribbons with your Lancer Chainsaw Rifle.

Overall (not an average): 9.5: One of the most enjoyable experiences I’ve had in gaming in a while. From the story mode to the great multiplayer mode, this game is tight as a drum. It’s hard to really complain about anything except that I don’t think I can wait another two years for Gears 3 to come out. Gears of War 2 is out now exclusively for XBOX 360.

-Ray Carsillo