Gears of War 2

Publisher: Microsoft Price: £44.99 Format: Xbox 360 Age rating: 18+ EQUIPPED with a fearsome array of sci-fi weaponry, Marcus Fenix and his Delta Squad buddies return for more bug blasting action in this testosterone-fuelled sequel to one of the most pun

Publisher: Microsoft

Price: £44.99

Format: Xbox 360

Age rating: 18+


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EQUIPPED with a fearsome array of sci-fi weaponry, Marcus Fenix and his Delta Squad buddies return for more bug blasting action in this testosterone-fuelled sequel to one of the most punishing tactical shooters of recent years. Having taken on the Locust Horde in one bruising third-person encounter, it's up to Fenix and his chums to save the human race once again as the bugs launch another all-out offensive.

This time the subterranean-dwelling bugs have crafted a new way to topple humanity by digging underneath cities and letting gravity pull them to their doom. It's a neat trick, so it falls to you and an optional buddy to take the battle to the enemy and destroy their network of underground tunnels. Unlike most other shooters though, Gears of War 2 doesn't encourage trigger-happy bravado. Instead, it expects you to work together as a team and only engage in a firefight when the odds of success are in your favour.

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This element of cooperation is vital if you want to stay alive for more than 10 seconds. The network of underground tunnels is crawling with thousands of bug-eyed monsters and the only way to survive their onslaught is for you and your men to out-flank them. To help out, you're equipped with a fearsome array of weapons including the Lancer, a chainsaw gun that's excellent for close-quarter combat, a ludicrously effective flamethrower, proximity mines and a beefy chain gun.

All that firepower certainly lights up the screen when it's called into play, providing an intensely loud and visceral experience that's aimed squarely at a late teens-to-early 20s audience. If you never played the original game, it's easy to get up to speed, thanks to a comprehensive training option and the ability to set individual difficulty levels when playing with a friend.

As a single-player game, Gears of War 2 is engaging enough, but it really excels when you play with a friend. Add in a huge number of Xbox Live multiplayer options and a brilliant selection of maps, and it's clear that Gears of War 2 is every bit as good as its five-million-selling predecessor.

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