Gears of War 2

Epic's third person shooter, that is a violent and brutal depiction of war.
Adam Birch - Staff Reviewer

Content at a glance:

Blood and Gore: realistic-looking depictions of blood, gore, and depictions of human injury and death including: dismemberment, decapitation, blood spraying freely from wounds. Every enemy you kill dies a bloody death.

Extreme Violence: Graphic and realistic-looking depictions of physical conflict and depictions of human injury and death. Including slaughtering enemies with chainsaw bayonet, decapitation with sniper rifles, shooting off limbs to slow advancing enemies. One character is tortured and then commits suicide with a gun to the head.

Strong Language: Explicit and frequent use of profanity.

Warning: This review contains detailed descriptions of extreme violence.

“Gears of War 2” is everything someone familiar with the development house Epic expects. The game is perfectly constructed. The game-play is smooth, the graphics sleek and the characters are colorful. The setting for Gears of War 2 is bleak, the human race is on the brink of extinction due to a long war of attrition against the Locust horde, which appeared from beneath the crust of the world and has ravaged mankind. You take the role of elite soldier Marcus Fenix leading a special-forces squad into the very heart of the Locust stronghold in order to discover some means of bringing about their annihilation before they destroy mankind. The world you enter is a broken one; most major cities have been reduced to nothing more than bombed out buildings and piles of rubble. You are humanity’s last hope for survival, and your chances of success are low.

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The game’s content fits the setting well. The moods of the characters range from sarcastic to bitter to despondent and every line of dialogue is permeated with this attitude and flush with profanity. The only happiness and joy that comes through in this game is when the characters are slaughtering the locust army. The developers have done a very realistic job of expressing the anger and hate that is born out of fear of annihilation. All of the main characters are very jaded and cynical, and a few characters throughout the game meet rather gruesome ends. The violence is extreme and profanity rampant. Blood flows freely, sprays excessively and it never stops. Every locust you kill dies a bloody death, you can decapitate them with the sniper rifle, saw them in half with the chainsaw bayonet on your main weapon, beat them to death with some weapons, stab them with a frag grenade and roll away as they explode in a bloody mess, use them as a living shield or you can just shoot their legs out from under them and run up to curb stomp them as they try to crawl away; so when I say violent, I mean really, really violent. The violence in this game is taken to an extreme level that has rarely been seen in the gaming world. One of the things that set the violence in this game apart from the violence in many games is that it is taken very seriously. It’s not light or comical in the least; it is relentless and very grim. I am not often impacted much by violence in games. Normally I just shrug it off and move on, more enchanted by good game-play and I often pay more attention to the construction of a game and its system; I very rarely get immersed in a game but this one wouldn’t let me play it any other way. The controls are so smooth and natural that you do not even need to think about what you are doing, you play the game entirely off of instinct, strategy plays a very small part, you listen to your instincts and act on them or you die. It is an intense experience rarely provided by the gaming world and I, for one, appreciated that it made me stop and think.

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This game, more than many, has a worldview to present. It’s depiction of humanity is cynical. In a speech given by a general in the game he says that all humanity has ever known is war. We are presented as a violent race, a race that literally knows only bloodshed; he exhorts the soldiers to be even more brutal and merciless in order to protect humanity from the invasion of the Locust. The game glories in the violence, the characters make themselves love it and they feed off it as a coping mechanism. They become killing machines because it is the only way that humanity has a remote shot at survival.

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The execution of this game is perfect. The story and setting is immersive. The mechanics are flawless. The depiction of war, the attitude that war demands, the violence and brutality of it is realistic. The thing to remember is, war is disturbing and terrible; even a fictional depiction such as Gears of War 2 has the capacity to disturb. The characters are put through the closest thing to hell that is possible to experience in the mortal world. The game does not shy away from the sort of effect this can have on the human psyche. One character is tortured (you do not see the torture but you do see his mangled body) and when your characters find him and hand him a weapon, he chooses to end his life. To say the least, this game is rated M (for mature 17+) for good reason. Not only is it violent but it deals with grave and heavy subject matter. I wouldn’t suggest this game to just anyone, if what you’ve read in this review causes you to pause when considering this game, pay attention to that, it is for good reason. Clearly this game is not for everybody, parents should exercise extreme caution when deciding whether or not to allow their child to play it. The elements of this game go far beyond some pixilated blood on a wall, the themes, while not sexual, are very mature and children should not have to be exposed to this sort of content at a young age. I do not recommend this game for anybody under the age of 17 years old, no matter how mature they may seem.

Disclaimer: The opinions expressed in this Spotlight review are those of the reviewer (both ratings and recommendations), and do not necessarily reflect the opinions of Eden Communications or the Answers Network.

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