Epic Fail? – Did Epic drop the ball with Gears of War 2 Multiplayer?

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While a lot of us have been enjoying Gears of War 2 this week, there are many fans out there who do not feel the same way…. Pump-Action Peanut Lobber While it becomes pretty obvious from the start that Gears of War 2 is far from perfect in terms of bugs and glitches, the main beef seems to be with the weapon balancing and how the games pace has been slowed down significantly. A lot of “Shotgun Bunnies” as I like to call them, are not happy with the fact that the good ol’ shotty has been nerfed (weakened) significantly, especially since the introduction of stopping power has already made it so difficult for shotgun runners to get closer to their enemies…. If you rev up a chainsaw and walk towards someone you can walk through a whole bunch of lancer fire and even a take a couple of shotgun hits without too much issue, leaving the enemy almost defenseless against your incoming saw attack. A glitch in the matrix We have heard that glitches like the “crabwalk” have already been discovered as well as some issues that we have personally experienced with players starting rounds with no weapons in their hands, as well as the inability to select a different one or pretty much make any use of themselves whatsoever. Leave the matchmaking to Cupid With Gears of War 2, Epic also decided to switch from the simple multiplayer and lobby interface of the first game and change over to a matchmaking system not unlike the ones seen in Halo 3 and Call of Duty 4…. A lot of the fun was had in the fact that there was no real lobby, maps would load up one after the other and everyone was able to have fun playing the game, or enjoy chatting to their friends if they were out for the round…. I am going to assume that the reason that dead people and live people cannot chat to each other after each round is simply a bug and not a choice made by Epic and I hope it gets fixed soon…. Once the host accepts the settings, you sit through another loading screen to get to another lobby, which allows map, character and team selection (no invites can be sent from this lobby)…. After the loading is done you are taken into the map but still sit in a lobby waiting for textures (and if needed, bots) to load up as well. After all of that, you then get given a 10 second countdown to the start of the match, as if everyone wasn’t ready 2 minutes ago. This new lobby system really breaks the flow of the game and has frustrated some players to no end…. Gears of War 2 is a fantastic game, however there are no doubts there but it has become heavily apparent that Epic needs to make a few major changes to the game if they want the game to be as addictive and successful as the first. While a lot of people played the original Gears of War’s multiplayer right up until the day of the sequels release, this weekend, only one week later had a lot of people on my friends list playing other games and even some who had jumped back into Gears of War 1 to get a bit more of the action that they are used to. If Epic are smart, they will listen to their fans because no matter which way you look at it, it is them who will keep the game going strong for years to come. While I personally do enjoy the multiplayer I do have to accept that deep down, it doesn’t have the same appeal as the first game and I do kind of wish that they would release a patch to change a couple of things.

Posted by Nick de Bruyne in Features, Xbox 360 26 comments / READ MORE

Gears of War vs Gears of War 2 – Graphic Comparison

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Whilst browsing around the gametrailers.com website, I happened to find a neat little video in the user uploads section of a graphics comparison between Gears of War 1 and Gears of War 2. While it is initially difficult to see the major differences between the two games, you will find that a short while later it becomes heavily apparent that the upgrade to the Unreal 3 engine has really spruced the games visuals quite nicely. The original Gears of War already had some very impressive graphics to start with, so the fact the Epic was able to actually make it look even better whilst keeping the framerate the same or even better is quite a feat in itself. Well, it’s only a short while now until we all get to see for ourselves, so let the excitement begin. I hate all of the people that have already got a copy, only because I am not one of them.

Posted by Nick de Bruyne in General News, Video, Xbox 360 7 comments / READ MORE

Halo 3 still Number 1 on Xbox Live

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Halo3.jpg Just yesterday, we posted a head to head between Gears of War 2 and Halo 3 from IGN that asked the question of which one of the two huge Xbox 360 exclusives was the absolute must-have for the system. For anyone who missed it and doesn’t feel like going back to watch the video, Halo 3 won. Many will argue that Gears of War 2 is the better game but the latest statistics from Xbox Live are saying quite the opposite. While the full list is posted after the jump, let me lay things out for you. Firstly, this list shows what people have been playing while connected to Live, not how many people were playing the games multiplayer modes on Xbox Live so make a note of that. The results, especially after this recent gaming season, are astounding. Ok , so here is the list: Halo 3 Gear of War 2 CoD: World at War GTA IV Fable II Left 4 Dead Madden NFL 09 Fallout 3 FIFA 09 Now here is the amazing thing, even though we have just been through arguably the best gaming release season of all time, the hugely popular multiplayer modes found in both Gears of War 2 and even Call of Duty: World at War could not take the number 1 spot from the (already over a year old) phenomenon that is Halo 3. That means that even though there was a large number of people playing Call of Duty and Gears of War’s single player campaign as well as multiplayer modes (including the incredibly addictive Gears of War 2 semi co-op experience, Horde), Halo 3 still took the top spot with what can now only be people who are still playing the multiplayer. While South Africans never really caught on to Halo 3 like the Americans did, we have to appreciate that Bungie must have done something very right to still have the top spot over all this time. Call of Duty 4 is sitting just below Call of Duty: World at War, meaning that while there are still a lot of players who prefer last years offering, World at War is still making quite an impact on the world, regardless of the fact that Treyarch were at the helm. Just seeing this is almost making me want to go back and play some more Halo 3 multiplayer just to try and see if I can see what all the fuss is about. Honorable mentions come in with Left 4 Dead which is proving to be a massively fun multiplayer experience as well as GTA IV considering it’s age and even Fallout 3 considering that it doesn’t have any multiplayer. I want to make a mention of Fable II as well although I think that if it’s co-op multiplayer had been better, it might have made more of an impact.

Posted by Nick de Bruyne in General News, Xbox 360 4 comments / READ MORE

New Gears of War 2 TV Spot

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A new TV spot for Gears of War 2 aired today in the United States titled “Last Day”. Keeping with the feeling of the Mad World trailer that was released for the original Gears of War, the trailer plays out with sombre tunes and muted tones, the beginning really is quite lovely. It’s obvious that by now the hype for Gears of War 2 has reached a mad height. Xbox Live friends lists are sitting chock and block with people all playing the original Gears of War again so that they can brush up on their skills or only just because they need to play the closest thing that they can find to the sequel. It’s time has nearly come. November 7th draws nearer and all we can do is wait. It’s a good thing so many good games are coming out today, they will help ease the pain.

Posted by Nick de Bruyne in General News, Video, Xbox 360 4 comments / READ MORE

Hands On – Call of Duty: World at War

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Yesterday I was fortunate enough to be one of a few South African journalists that were given some hands-on time with the latest installment in the Call of Duty series. If you didn’t know by now, World at War takes us back to the battlefields of World War II once again, stripping us of all the fancy gadgets and accessories that we had become so accustomed to in COD: Modern Warfare. Was going back to WW2 a good move or have the people from Activision just made a very big mistake?… To kicks things off, the game starts with a pretty violent introduction, putting you in the eyes of a prisoner of war that is about to take his last breaths after a hefty interrogation session. Everything takes a bit of a better turn when a squad of soldiers barge in to save the day. You are handed a helmet and some weapons and thrown straight into a pretty chaotic escape attempt…. As much as I wanted to focus on how Treyarch had approached the gameplay and the World War II setting, I couldn’t help but gawk at how incredibly beautiful everything looked and how smooth it was running. The COD 4 engine has done its job, that’s for sure. Anyone who has spent some time with COD 4 will instantly feel comfortable with the controls as they are laid out exactly the same, not to mention that people in WW2 have finally found out how to run…. While we are forced to lay down our ACOG scoped M16’s and G36’s you won’t miss them for long as the guns still have the same solid feeling that we have come to expect from a COD title and there is still a definite amount of satisfaction to be had when you pop a soldier in that space between his helmet and his chin. The gameplay feels incredibly similar to COD 4, if not exactly the same and to tell you the truth, it put a smile on my face. This title seems to be exactly what a lot of COD fans have wanted…… Ambushes, Booby-traps and a whole bunch of other scandalous techniques will be used against you, so watch out. All in all I can tell you that from the experience that I had with COD: World at War, I can only assume that unless they do something really stupid in the final release, we may have a winner. Throw in the new addition of 4 player cooperative play and I find it hard to find a reason to ignore this title when it releases on November 11.

Posted by Nick de Bruyne in Exclusives, Features, Previews, PSP, Xbox 360 1 comment / READ MORE