Developer: Epic Games
Publisher: Microsoft Game Studios
Platform: Xbox 360
Attention-deficit narrative shows marvelous attention to detail
The action in Gears of War 2 isn’t all that different from the violent cartoon doodles of a nine-year-old boy—all toothsome monsters, tanks jumping ramps and lots and lots of explosions. The game treads unabashedly in the pyrotechnic realm of Michael Bay. But where the Transformers director cheats his way through set pieces with choppy editing, Gears 2 keeps its focus on the details clear-eyed and razor sharp. The game’s stop-and-pop, cover-based combat remains near flawless, providing a dollop of strategy and reserve to the balls-out action.
Then there are the set pieces. The pace of the plot is damn near breathless. Thick-necked Marcus Fenix, sidekick Dom and the rest of Delta Squad are swept from one novel action sequence to the next. It feels like there’s a scenery change every time Fenix reloads his Lancer rifle. And still this freight train manages to find a heart beneath all that combat armor. Dom’s yearning to reunite with his wife provides all the motivation a shooter like Gears 2 needs. Marcus, voiced again by the lively Jon DiMaggio, remains mostly impenetrable, though. Gotta leave some revelations for Gears of War 3, right?