Gears of War 2 Impressions

Gears of War is the first exclusive that really stuck the Xbox 360 on the map post launch. At the time the game’s visuals were so jaw dropping that everyone was enthralled. The game deservingly received numerous awards and remained at the top of Xbox live’s most played list. Now will the sequel deliver?

Yesterday in San Fransisco, Design Director for Epic Games Cliff Bleszinski demoed Gears of War 2 for approximately 30 minutes. He came into the demo with one simple theme: Gears of War 2 is going to be bigger, bloodier, and more bad ass. The two minute trailer that was released was the tip of the iceberg. That trailer came from an entire level that was demonstrated to us. Needless to say, when the demo finished the room had the sense that Gears 2 was going to deliver on his promises.

Gears 2 starts out 6 months after the original game and opens on the last day of Fall. The locust have come back in full force not just using emergence holes, but by creating holes that are devouring entire cities. Humanity is backed into its last bastion of hope which is above ground believed to be too thick to penetrate by the locusts. In this desperate hour, humanity has decided it is now time to take the fight back to the locusts. To do that they must take a grind lift that can carry 2 cog soldiers into enemy territory underground. The only problem is that they’re so big you need a special truck called a derek to transfer them to the proper coordinates. The demo took us through an entire convoy of dereks attempting to deliver grind lifts. Your favorite Gears characters are back such as Baird and Epic is introducing some new ones. There is an unforced conscription occurring for humanity. Families who are desperate for food and protection can agree to send their father to war so that their family may be fed and sheltered. This is how you come to meet a new character named Dizzy. Dizzy sounds like your typical country boy from the south and he is piloting one of the dereks throughout the mission. I think we’ll be seeing and hearing a lot from him in the coming months toward release.

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2Opinionated: Six Ways to Spot a Crap Game

We’re all guilty. We’ve all done it. You’ve just gone to your local game store and picked up a game you knew in your heart was going to be a great time. You might have even had it preordered. You tear open the package, take in that the new game smell and eagerly pop it into your console (Note: Real gamers don’t read the manual). About 30 minutes later you’re questioning why you just plunked down sixty dollars for that piece of crap, last gen visuals, broken gameplay, laggy online experience, time and money thief of a game. So in an effort to help us all avoid these future mistakes I offer the following in the way of how to spot a bad game before it ever hits your wallet from the back side.

1. The previews for the game are anywhere from lukewarm to raving even though the content of the preview is clearly reaching to support the opinion.

You know what I’m talking about. How many times did you read these fantastic multi page previews for a game somewhere only to have it fall way short of those original lofty expectations during the final build? It’s like someone sucked all the magic out of the building a few weeks before retail release. Ever go back and read those previews? Notice how a lot of them have one thing common? They were reaching to aspects of the game to make it sound go even though if those aspects really don’t matter. For example, I’m not playing a baseball game because the crowd has dynamic movement. I’m playing it because the game on the field works and the visuals are top notch. I don’t want to have to press the Konami code to throw a fastball.

2. Media that is just too good to be true usually is.

Makeup and airbrushing can turn almost any girl from one you wouldn’t look at twice to Miss Universe. Same rule applies with games. Every game especially early in the development cycle strives to put their absolute best step forward. That includes doing stuff like releasing concept art and renders that look incredible on their own then tossing in a much lower quality version of the same things into the final product to save frame rate and performance.

3. Pre-release trailers for the game show absolutely no actual game play footage and are all cinematic as game nears release.

I guess this is rule 2b. But how many games have you seen a trailer for a week or two prior to retail release and man does it look like the best thing since sliced bread. A few games can get away with not showing anything until they feel like it. Unless your name is Halo, Grand Theft Auto, or in the same ballpark you are definitely not afforded this luxury.

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April Fools is Stupid

Dear Fellow 2Op Readership,

It’s April Fools. World of Warcraft is not coming to the consoles. Sony, Microsoft, and Nintendo are deciding on a single API across every platform. The ESRB did not rate Grand Theft Auto IV E for Everyone. The fanboys did not magically start treating each other respectfully. No, master chief is not a secret unlockable character in GTA IV.

So please, do not fall for something far fetched today. If it seems that way, it probably is. But here is some real news:

Nintendo is releasing a HD capable Wii of 720p as costs of console production have now come down to the point where the new SKU can do HD graphics without the need for a change in price.

MLB 2K8 Live Blog Tomorrow Afternoon

Tomorrow afternoon 2OpGaming.com will be live blogging information from the press conference call featuring Major League Baseball 2K8 producer Ben Brinkman. A lot of interesting information should be discovered. Chief among them, hopefully whether or not we will see a demo hitting Xbox Live and PSN prior to release.

Coverage begins tomorrow at 1:55 PM with a wrap up and a recording of the call once it’s complete. Hope to catch you all here.

What’s on Tap for 2OpGaming

The holiday was a nice hiatus and break from the industry but the ignition on 2008 is a go…….

look for the podcast to continue next week, Game of the Year Awards for 2007, and a review for the first note worthy release of the year on the Xbox 360. Plus, 2OpGaming goes multiplatform so expect to see a lot more coverage on the other 2 out of the big 3 and PC gaming!

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