We spent almost all weekend with Gears of War 2. We beat the campaign and horde and jumped into the matchmaking for some competitive multiplayer.
While the offering is definitely improved over the original Gears of War, we noticed some problems that we'd like to see addressed in Epic's first title update that is hopefully coming soon.
- Weapon Sliding - Weapon sliding (picking up weapons while moving) appears to be back and definitely ruins the map balance. The game is designed in a way that makes picking up a power weapon immediately usually results in a quick death as the pickup animation plays. Being able to grab the Boomshot while moving into cover hurts the multiplayer, especially since this was a bug in the first Gears of War...
- Voice Chat With Dead Players Between Rounds - This is a minor bug that we think will be definitely be fixed, but between rounds dead players cannot converse with players that survived the round. Again, this is a Gears of War 1 launch bug and we're sad to see it crop up again. We're not suggesting dead players should talk with the living while the game is being played, but they shouldn't be restricted from chatting between rounds.
- Annex / King of the Hill Framerate - Games of Annex and King of the Hill tend to suffer from framerate drops and lag as the pile of body parts surrounding the capture point grows and grows. To us, this seems like there should just be a hard limit on the amount of gibs allowed at any one time.
- Invite All In What's Up? - Hitting the Back Button in the What's Up? Menu (which we love, by the way) sends game invites to everybody on your friend list whether they be online in Gears, online in any other game, and even offline... we're assuming it's only meant to invite friends currently playing Gears of War 2.
Hit the jump for the rest of our list.
Removed Gears of War Features
Matchmaking is a very welcome addition to Gears, but we noticed some dropped features from the original that we'd like back.
- Map Rotation / Cycle - In the first game, private multiplayer games followed the classic map cycle format with a lobby before the game started. While Epic has made it easier to change up options without having to re-host a game it currently knocks everyone back to the pre-map lobby after each game. This drastically slows the action down as everyone is forced to reconnect to the host. Most of the time the host just hits start right away to choose the next map. Why not give the host the power to "Return To Lobby After This Game" or "Return To Lobby Now", but bring map cycles back?
- "Ready" Icon - With 10 people in a private game (or even a party of 5 for Horde) it's tough to tell who's ready and who has stepped away to grab a drink or go to the bathroom.
This is a very subjective section, but we definitely stand by our initial impressions of the new game balance so far:
- Super Powered Chainsaw - We aren't sure if its the new netcode or if Epic just really wants the Lancer and chainsaw to be the new shotgun, but it's staggering how hard it is to shoot someone out of the chainsaw before they hit you right now. In our tests, it's really only reliable to counter a chainsaw charge with a chainsaw of your own. We've started dropping our shotguns for power weapons now instead of the Lancer. Chainsaw charging is the new shotgun charging.
- Shotgun - The shotgun seems drastically underpowered at close range and is unreliable. Blind-firing it is inaccurate, but that isn't our problem. At a few steps away, the shotgun sometimes takes 3 hits to down somebody. This is a big change from the original and we want our trusty shotty back. Epic already threw in stopping power to stop somebody from roadie running right up to you and one-shotting you, but was it really necessary to tone the shotgun down at the same time?
- Mortar - The mortar fires way to quickly and can be fired from cover. By the time the shells are falling, the mortar operator can be lining up his next shot while his targets scramble to a nearby building. We're not saying that it should be removed, but the risk of use needs to be increased beyond a slow move speed, especially on maps like Day One where the mortar spawns on a catwalk with ample cover overlooking a giant open map... it's placed well on Jacinto and Avalanche. Actually, just move it on Day One. Thanks.
- Grenades - Grenades seem much more powerful, which is fine, but we have an issue. Shooting wall-planted grenades takes too long and is often difficult from a safe distance. The explosion from a planted 'nade is so quick that it's nearly impossible to avoid if you get caught by one. We'd like to be able to clear them safely for having the foresight to check for them.
Don't get us wrong. We absolutely love the game, but some of these issues confuse us, especially the bugs from the first game that have come back
What would you like to see changed in the first patch for Gears of War 2?