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14 Reviews

Gears Of War 2: All Fronts Collection

Review: A deleted scene worth watching?

If you're a Gears fan than you'll already know what July 28 means; it's the digital release of the Dark Corners and All Fronts Collection via Xbox Live (unless you got it early). Dark Corners contains seven new multiplayer maps and a deleted 'campaign chapter' dubbed 'Road to Ruin' while the All Fronts Collection includes both the new content and every previous map pack to date. That's a lot of Gears for a lot of Points. Here's what we thought.

Those who own the previously released Flashback, Combustible and Snowblind map packs will opt for the Dark Corners pack (1200 Microsoft Points), but those who are new to Gears 2, or just didn't realise there's loads of extra maps available to download, will be looking at the All Fronts Collection (1600 Microsoft Points).

Let's get the most important bit out of the way first, the new 'campaign chapter', Road to Ruin. The deleted scene is available from the front menu but it won't overwrite or interfere with your save game.

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As explained by Cliffy B via a short intro clip, Marcus and Dom are in the Locust Hollow and the scene can be played two ways, guns blazing or stealth.

The chapter is basically a series of large areas that play host to various Locust foes. And it's exactly the same however you approach it. You unlock one door that gives you access to a large area, which you shoot your way through to open another door. You then shoot your way through that area and onto the next and so on.

Obviously you'll choose guns blazing because this is Gears Of War and not Splinter Cell. But if you fancy donning Theron armour and walking through the chapter, without firing a bullet, in about 20 minutes, then go stealth. At least there's an achievement at the end of it (only if you don't get noticed).

The chapter is basically a series of large areas that host various Locust foes. Along the way you'll bump into all the usual foot soldiers as well as Wretches, Tickers, Boomers, Bloodmounts, a Reaver and a Brumak. There's also a mild-surprise from Gears 1 to be found along the way.

After finishing Road to Ruin a few times, you can see why Epic cut it from the main campaign. It's just more of the same really, which is okay on it's own, eight months after you played the single player game. It's a welcome little flashback even.

But if the single-player game is still fresh in your mind, then you'll find it repetitive and underwhelming. Including it in the original release would have just added another 30 minutes to an hour (depending on your difficulty setting) to the overall playing time. And sometimes less is more.

On the multiplayer side you get seven new maps, which are all up to Epic's usual high standards visually and design wise. As the content isn't available publicly yet we had to settle for playing against bots. But each one seemed to punch all the right buttons in a multiplayer setting. 'Nowhere' was an instant favourite.

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Here's some facts for trivia fans.

  • Allfathers Garden: Honor the sacred grounds of the Coalition founders in this explosive map, where powerful weapons catalyze fast and furious action at this COG landmark.
  • Memorial: Set near the Eternal Flame, which pays tribute to the fallen soldiers on the battlefield, a hard-fought battle ensues at the Tomb of Unknowns. Putting their flank formation and evasive skills to the test, players will fight to control the Boomshot.
  • Sanctuary: Once a peaceful ground for reflection and remembrance, all that remains of the Sanctuary is the chill of death. Feast your eyes on the arsenal of weapons available as you make your way through the tight paths and blind corners of the Locust-damaged temple corridors.
  • War Machine: In the abandoned train station that once served as a hub for travel, players will need to master the Longshot, Mulcher and Boomshot weapons to advance the fight while evading fire from the platforms above.
  • Highway: Take the fight deep into the Locust Hollow in the complex passages of this underground highway system brimming with enemy vermin. Stick together, separate the enemy and have an exit strategy ready or it'll be a one-way trip.
  • Way Station: Sitting in limbo between death and "processing" are Locust way stations filled with fallen COG soldiers. Tread lightly and practice patience as it's better to sacrifice firepower for stealth while navigating this minefield of hidden grenades.
  • Nowhere: Set in the middle of what was once a destination for weary desert travellers, the land is now barren and devoid of life. Pick off your enemies with the Longshot sniper rifle and make your way to the stairwell with a well-fortified team during this intense firefight.

The new content will launch on Tuesday, July 28 and is bound to be an instant hit with Gears' single- and multiplayer fans. It'll cost you 1600 (£13.60) and 1200 (£10.20) Microsoft Points for All Fronts Collection and Dark Corners respectively.

Be warned though - ten quid is a bit steep if you're just going in for the deleted scene. Don't expect to see anything different and don't expect it to last long. And if you can't finish it in one sitting you're rubbish at games. Give up.

If you still live and breathe Gears Of War then you'll get a lot more out of the multiplayer offering. So you can probably add a point on. But coming at this after not touching Gears 2 in a few months, while reminding us how good the game is, makes us nothing but a bit hungry for Gears Of War 3.

The verdict

A good selection of new maps make up for a short and slightly disappointing deleted scene.

  • New maps breathe fresh life into multiplayer
  • Co-oping the deleted scene is fun
  • Deleted scene is short and more of the same
  • Can't buy the deleted scene individually
  • Makes us want Gears 3 NOW
Xbox 360
Epic Games