Following the big announcement at GDC last week that Gears of War 2 would be hitting the Xbox 360 this fall, many have jumped back on the Gears of War bandwagon, going on about chainsaw duels and “trainguns“. Everyone seems to be excited about the game and I am no different. It’s no secret that I loved the first game despite its one-blink-and-you-missed-it campaign, cliché ridden storyline and glitch filled multiplayer. Despite all of its flaws, the game was still damn fun to play alone, cooperatively and in its eight player team deathmatch inspired modes.
Since the Gears of War 2 announcement, a few of my friends and I have gotten back into playing Gears of War. Prior to this, I had swore off the game completely because it had become downright unplayable for me. Earlier I commented about Gears of War’s multiplayer modes being glitch filled. I wasn’t kidding. I won’t go into the finer details, but a few glitches stick out in my mind to this day. The first notable glitch I’ve seen involves a player running at the increased “roadie run” speed, hunched over, while still retaining the ability to shoot. With a shotgun in hand (which is, to this day, still the best weapon in the game), you were damn near unstoppable. I called it “surfing” due to the players performing the action looking like they were running sideways.
By far the most annoying glitch I’ve come across was what I dubbed the “Chainsaw shotgun” in which a player performs a certain action (I never found out what this was) and then runs toward their opponent, shotgun in hand. Suddenly, their opponent begins going through the animation of being sawed but…nothing happens. The player whom received the action goes on about their business for a few seconds when suddenly they explode into a pile of bloody bits midstep, roll or whatever action they were performing. I first fell victim to this glitch in a player match with friends. In this setting, it was all fun and games and no one cared too much but the instant I saw it being used quite frequently in ranked matches, I said to myself “I’m never playing this crap again”.
It seems I was wrong. I turned on the game monday night at 11 o’clock to join the multiplayer festivities with my friends expecting to see these glitches and a great deal more. They weren’t there. Hmm…well I at least expected some of the rampant bullet lag…nope…it wasn’t there either. Suffice to say, I was actually enjoying myself. I guess playing in the less competitive environment that is player matches with friends inspires fair play more than it does in the average ranked match.
That’s not to say the game is bereft of glitches. While playing on Tyro station, my teammate showed me how to “get out of the map” by performing a rather simple action. While I was found and shown the business end of my opponent’s shotgun in short order trying to do it myself, I watched him on the spectator camera running down the side of the train tracks, going where no player was intended to go. I laughed as I saw him running through mountains, heading toward the map’s boundaries and attempting to jump off. The other dead players on my team and I laughed at our teammate’s antics until the round was inevitably declared a draw.
Despite this, for the first time in months, I was actually having fun with Gears of War. It seems it’s gone back to the early days. Sure, there were some glitches back then, but the game was still fun to play. Over the past few nights, I’ve been having a blast with the game and I don’t expect things to slow down any time soon.
Getting back to Gears of War 2, some of my fellow staff members and I wrote a Gears of War 2 Wish List at Talk Xbox and it figures that most of the things we wanted to see was related to the multiplayer. While I also want to see some multiplayer improvements this time around, the main thing I’m clamoring for is related to the single player. I’m a sucker for a good story in a videogame and Gears of War’s was…not. Too many clichés in the dialog, too many plot holes, and not enough backstory to give the player an adequate understanding of what the hell is actually happening in the Gears of War universe.
I expect big things from Gears of War 2 and I hope it turns out to be everything I hope it will be and more. So with that, I’ll return to Gears of War multiplayer. I can’t believe it, but I’m actually starting to get hooked on it again…