Gears of War 2 Hands-On


Joshua Ortega Demos His Baby

If for no other reason, you should have been at PAX this year simply to play the game that is sure to be a monster success.  Gears of War 2 was unleashed on us as a fully playable demo on the show floor.  After a long, long wait I finally got my turn at the “Gears”, and I was far from disappointed.  A fan of the original GoW, I was more than happy to stand in line for my opportunity to take this game for a test drive.

The Microsoft booth was hosting 5 VS 5 death matches all weekend, and I had the pleasure of getting in on the action.  Unfortunately, I had my ass handed to me by trained vets.  So I bowed out graciously to allow more seasoned players take the helm.  I watched with intrigue as they strategically took out each other in fierce combat.  After watching for a while, I figured it was time to get a little more info on the game and what we could expect from the next installment of the GOW franchise.

I had the pleasure to do a little Q&A with Joshua Ortega, the writer from Gears of War.  He gave me a peek into the workings of the game, and why there’s a good chance that many other games in the industry might have a shadow over them in the near future.

Joshua, who actually had nothing to do with the original Gears, was brought in for the second installment to bring new horizons to the game and still keep the original gameplay intact.  Joshua wasn’t a big player of the original game, and had only logged a few hours total on it.  It’s surprising how little the developers of games get to actually play, and before he got a chance to fully throw himself into the game he was asked to work on Gears 2.  At first he didn’t think it would happen, but as fate would have it his original plans for that time got canceled, and before he knew it he was immersed in the game, playing and learning all he could about it before he was thrown into making the sequel.

Joshua played the game from beginning to end two or three times.  Joshua actually ended up beating Raam in Hardcore mode and in Insane mode.  His secret?  “Active reload is the key and when everyone asks me the secret to Gears I say active reload.”

So the time came to start work on Gears 2.  The original’s storyline had a lot of holes in it.  In total it was actually a very good story, but was somewhat patchy.   On a lesser game it probably would have been better, but on a game like Gears the storyline is just as much the game as the playing itself.  So what do you do to improve the storyline?  You bring in someone like Ortega.

So what can we look forward to in Gears 2?  Chances are good that some new characters will be introduced, bigger badder bosses that are more than happy to rip you a new one.  Carmine will be back in essence, with some of the characters toting his characteristics.  And you can definitely look to learn more about the Locust Queen.  But don’t look forward to characters being around long.  The calling card of Gears is characters dying.  And according to Joshua, they plan to keep to tradition.

So there is plenty to watch out for in Gears Of War 2.  There are more comics on the way to supplement those who go beyond the game.  From beginning to end, expect a more fulfilling and richer gaming experience.  The storyline is so good that the people at Epic were surprised at how beautiful it turned out.  “The response has been really good, over at Epic people were like “holy shit!” I’m far enough away from it now where I can see that.”  Like many others, I’m on the edge of my seat for the release.  But I’m wondering what everyone else has on their mind.  When’s the movie?

Cue the chirping crickets…

Don is an avid gamer, writer, screen writer,part time game maker, film director, and horror film fanatic. You can check out his book "How to Survive Zombies and Other Disasters" on Amazon.