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Saturday | December 10, 2016
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Gears Of War 2: Dark Corners (X360)

Gears Of War 2: Dark Corners (X360)

Gears Of War 2 was a colossal success on the Xbox 360 and has helped Microsoft to sell millions more consoles. Today we are looking at the latest downloadable content available on the Xbox store called Dark Corners. This is a map pack which contains seven battle zones for Xbox live as well as a new campaign chapter called Road to Ruin – is it worth the 1200 Microsoft points however?

The Campaign will probably be a big draw for a large portion of the audience and it launches from the main menu from an option called “Deleted Scene”. Before the mission starts there is a message from the Epic design director Cliff Bleszinski explaining how the content was removed from the campaign while Gears of War 2 was originally in production. Those who played the main game will immediately remember the section that was cut as it is just as Dom and Marcus are attempting to break into Nexus in the Locust underground. There are some pieces of dialogue included as you move through the level which add to the feeling that you are playing a directors commentary version of the game!

To add something to the experience the developers have given you the option to approach the new campaign level in a different way – you can either proceed in the usual fashion by shooting everything you see or you can try to sneak past the Locust guards by strapping on some Theron armor. Unfortunately the stealth aspects aren’t quite up there with Splinter Cell because the Locust troops have a keen sense of smell and Dom and Marcus need to keep a certain distance before alerting them. To be successful its merely a case of watching the patrol paths and sneaking past at the most opportune time.

I am confident in saying that most people who play this will take the usual route of shooting everything in sight and when played like this, the game works great. You fight all the usual guys, such as bloodmounts, grinders, boomers and a reaver and the battles are as fun as they always have been. There are some memorable sequences such as a Brumak on a bridge which requires you to jump onto a turret to take it out. Unfortunately the experience is shortlived and I had it beaten in around 40 minutes and I was pacing myself to take everything in. I replayed it with sneak tactics in mind which wasn’t quite so much fun, but I managed to wrangle a few hours of gameplay out of the single player aspect in total.

I am a HUGE fan of this game online and have been playing since it was released months ago and the new maps are brilliant and will be enjoyed by the thriving community. The station map called ‘Nowhere’ looks amazing as the environment is littered with destroyed cars and ruined buildings. The level is well designed to offer plenty of opportunities for positioning and tactics such as the ramps up to a rooftop for long distance attacks. The wealth of sniper friendly locations are well balanced by the clouds of dust which often obscure visibility.

The Locust Station map is quite ingenious because there are switches in some game modes which activate a bridge that connects pathways along a middle section which is normally impassable. Many key battles occur at the building which houses the switch mechanisms and I had a lot of fun on this map hiding in nearby locations for a few sneak kills.

Sanctuary is based around a central corridor which runs through a building and between two walkways – one raised and one leading downwards. At both ends of the section are two modestly sized landings where all the action tends to happen – this is great fun and is a killer map for semi automatic and shotgun fire.

Memorial is another strong map with a central fountain area with low areas of cover which is a great place to defend the surrounding sections. The indoor areas are well constructed also as there are holes in the walls and ceiling which allow for sneak attacks and grenades to be lobbed. When indoors you literally need eyes in the back of your head to check you aren’t being followed. The Highway map has a number of multilevel battle zones connected by ramps which mean people have to be really careful to avoid getting shot from above with the array of heavy weapon and sniper rifles on offer.

Allfathers is one of the bigger maps with huge passages and it is clearly aimed to give snipers a good area for attack as there are sniper rifle pickups at either end. This is enhanced by a middle section which contains stone ruins for cover and there is a key strategy for snipers to hang on either end and try and pick off people in the middle.

Achievement points are offered and are awarded for playing through the single player campaign as well as playing and winning on all the new maps as well as horde mode rewards on the new environments.

If you are a Gears Of War fan then you will assuredly love this downloadable expansion. It would be fair to say that the single player campaign is only a small part of the content and if you like gaming online then you will get the most value from the purchase ($15). Highly recommended.

Gameplay
88

Single player campaign is shortlived but online is mega.
Graphics
96
One of the best looking engines on the Xbox 360 when it was released. That hasn’t changed.
Sound
92
Superb ambient effects and weapon fire which are class leading.
Value
87
If single player is only your thing then this won’t last long, but as a package it has longevity.
Overall
90

Superb downloadable content that any self respecting GOW player will love.

About Author

Stuart Davidson

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