Another thing that bothered us was the sheer amount of underground cave environments, which take up a good third of the game. While far more varied and beautiful than the original's subterranean levels, cave environments near the end of the Gears 2 campaign become almost interchangeable, which is a shame after the beautiful and radically diverse settings from the first half of the game.
With those two complaints considered, we've come to the conclusion that Gears 2 could've benefited from a bit of de-bloating in the editors room, but its lack of perfect pacing is hardly a huge flaw.
These issues won't spoil your enjoyment though and Gears of War 2 definitely tops the first. The campaign is the meaty Hollywood blockbuster Epic promised, delivering ten of the most quality hours of gaming from the last 12 months (and even more in co-op and multiplayer).
Gears of War 2 helps to change the perception of the 'angry space marine' shooter by thanks to a compelling story at its core. There are points in Gears of War 2's ridiculous and explosive Brumack set-pieces that you'll wonder how you'll ever be able to go back to the original game without being under-whelmed.
And that's just about the biggest compliment we could give the team at Epic without saying it really is "bigger, better and more badass". Even though it is.
Don't forget to enter our compo to win Gears 2 COG tags and limited edition art books.
Epic's delivered the most action-packed shooter of 2008 and a story worth taking seriously. This is grown up Gears.
- Compelling story with plenty of twists
- It looks even more stunning
- Massive, epic boss fights
- Expanded multiplayer
- Vehicle and cave sections could do with trimming