By Thomas Hodgson
PREVIEW: Gears of War 2
I don’t know why someone hasn’t bludgeoned the entire cast of The Hills with a Prada purse full of stones. What I do know is Gears of War was arguably one of the greatest games ever made. Guilty of causing more late nights than internet smut, GOW has forever changed the landscape of gaming and multiplayer with its tactical brutality and unrelenting game play. After work, some people have a cigar or a glass of scotch. I play Gears of War.
On November 7th, Marcus Fenix and the COG return to save humanity from the cusp genocide. A final stand is in order and you are to see through mankind’s last desperate defense. The single-player campaign was awesome in itself, but this time around the block, Epic Games has guaranteed an all out war. The original viscerally opened your eyes. On a grander scale, it will blow open your head and your brain will be all over the ceiling. From the smaller skirmishes of the first, Gears of War 2 is transcending the experience with full fledged battles of endless Locust.
But if the game is known for one thing, it’s the multiplayer. So how exactly does one make a great thing godly? Try computer controlled bots to fill empty slots. Try chainsaw battles. Try executions for every weapon. Try three new multiplayer types, one of which involves playing capture the flag by using a computer controlled character as a human shield as you drag him back to your base. And when you’re done sampling, here’s the main course: 5v5. The ante has been upped and 4v4 is extinct like the Desert Bandicoot and Members Only jackets. The next-gen chess match of gore and guns has another pawn on its playing field. It’s a move that makes sense with a formula that already adds up. Add to that the addition of concussive smoke grenades, the flamethrower, proximity mines, poison gas grenades, mortars, chain guns, and the return of multiplayer maps Gridlock, Subway, Canals, Mansion, and Tyro Station, and there is no foreseeable way that Gears of War 2 will be anything less than the illegitimate lovechild of a Nobel Prize and Newton, both Wayne and Sir Isaac.
I have complete faith that Epic Games is going to come out, guns blazing, with a finished product ten times the orgiastic feast for the senses that was Gears of War. The gears are in motion. On November 7th, prepare for war.
PROS: Gears of War, but better. Who can argue with that?
CONS: Isn’t going to be free; Can’t please you sexually
Will you answer the call?
PREVIEW: Call of Duty: World at War
If 2008 hasn’t already been a big enough year for blockbuster sequels in Grand Theft Auto 4, Metal Gear Solid 4, and the soon to be Gears of War 2, then you’re about to overdose on shooting things in the face.
Call of Duty 4 is arguably the greatest first person shooter multiplayer experience of all time. Call of Duty 5 is being popped out in succession like trailer park children, just a year after the last release in the series. What isn’t debatable is the fact that Call of Duty 5, the follow-up to last year’s blockbuster, is being produced by studio Treyarch, producers behind Call of Duty 3, easily the worst game of the series.
Call of Duty: World at War takes players back to the franchise’s claim to fame ~ World War 2. Other than that, very little has been said about the production of World at War. What worries me is the shroud of secrecy around a title fresh off a monumental release. What doesn’t is the fact that Infinity Ward has basically made it impossible to destroy the perfection that was Call of Duty 4. They have provided a simple formula: perks + ranking system + achievements + unlockable weapons and upgrades = greatness and Game of the Year accolades.
Literally, there are only five things I know are new to this game so far, outside of Axis and Allies, which is just a return to form: a four player cooperative campaign, destructible environments, a more open-ended campaign, the addition of swimming, and the addition of vehicles in multiplayer. When and how the latter will be implemented is beyond me. What this leads me to believe is that if a level is large enough to have vehicles, then the maximum number of players will increase, which will be a gift. If these large levels are left to the game’s current 9v9 on the consoles, then you’re going to be playing more hide and seek than pew pew and rat a tat tat.
Call of Duty has set the bar high on itself. With nothing to gain and everything to lose, I’m worried about what we may see in another month or two, like a friend addicted to crack. But I’m here for it in the interim if the game needs me, and will enable it if it’s released and is terrible, because I care too much to say no.
PROS: Next-gen World War 2 like never seen before; Get to kill Nazis
CONS: Completely different studio than the ground-breaking fourth title; Afraid a great thing could be turned into something terrible
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