Universal acclaim - based on 90 Critics

Critic score distribution:
  1. Positive: 90 out of 90
  2. Mixed: 0 out of 90
  3. Negative: 0 out of 90
Buy On
  1. 100
    As great as the campaign is, the game will see its longest legs from multiplayer. And from the multitude of competitive match types to the addictive and strategic co-op Horde mode, what felt like a hugely entertaining afterthought in the original Gears now easily stands shoulder-to-shoulder with the campaign.
  2. 360 Gamer Magazine UK
    We could be critical of Gears of War 2 simply offering more of the same, but the fact that it simply does everything better than the original in delivering a fantastic display of shoot-’em-up mayhem its quality simply shines through. With some awesome level design, supported by unsurpassed visuals and relentlessly entertaining action it is a compelling experience from start to finish. Forget the crack at putting emotion into the storyline; it’s almost irrelevant as Gears of War 2 is an allguns- blazing extravaganza and, as such, it’s just a glorious shooter that very few can match.
  3. Gears of War 2 is the kind of game that third person shooters should try to imitate. We are not talking about the chosen theme or its tactical arcade scope, but instead we want to point out how well the console resources have been used in order to get an impeccable gameplay. A must have. The total shooter.
  4. The best single-player shooter in the history of Epic Games. If it is going to become a Hollywood movie, it should be directed by no other than Michael Bay.
  5. AceGamez
    Just in case I haven't been absolutely clear about this, you need to get Gears of War 2. Now.
  6. The visuals are spectacular, the sound is awesome, the weapons and combat features are great and there's enough new stuff to keep both fans and newbies happy. Nonetheless, in terms of gameplay, Gears of War 2 hasn't moved the series forward yet, which should undoubtedly be their goal for the next installment.
  7. For an action fix, particularly Horde mode, Gears of War 2 is recommended.
  8. The most pleasure from Gears 2 has to be in multiplayer, and I’ve very much enjoyed playing the campaign with friends in ever more challenging difficulties.
  9. The combat is fun and accessible, the gore is over-the-top, and the story's spiked with humor (though not always intended) and provides for a non-stop, action-packed thrill ride. Still, whereas the original title was groundbreaking, GoW 2 is simply a honed, rehashed sequel.
  10. Gears of War 2 helps to change the perception of the 'angry space marine' shooter by thanks to a compelling story at its core. There are points in Gears of War 2's ridiculous and explosive Brumack set-pieces that you'll wonder how you'll ever be able to go back to the original game without being under-whelmed.
  11. Is it worth buying? Definitely. Is it better than the first? That’s debatable.
  12. While Gears of War 2 might not include the epic changes we were all waiting for, like 4 player co-op and a larger storyline, it certainly provides us with a fun and enjoyable experience that we will all remember. Wasting hours on Horde is amazing and with the new additions to the game, new and old fans will be chuffed.
  13. The story may be overambitious, inconclusive and undermined by some queasy sentimentality, but the fine-tuning made to the game's core shooting and cover mechanics make Gears of War 2 Epic's finest work to date.
  14. Gears 2 has taken everything that the original did well and added some pretty good improvements making it a well rounded package.
  15. Gears of War 2 is almost the epitome of a videogame sequel. It offers essentially the same gameplay experience as before, and yet at the same time it has been improved and expanded in almost every aspect.
  16. A game that actually accomplishes what most sequels strive to do, which is to be better than its predecessor in every way possible. Gears 2 is a thrilling experience that does all the right things. It has an engaging shooting mechanic, excellent presentation, and a hard-hitting demeanor that both excites and delivers. The multiplayer mode will easily keep you engaged for many months to come. The only thing that really halts this game’s momentum are the AI bugs and lackluster story.
  17. Edge Magazine
    At a time when everyone wants to turn the entertainment world on its head – or at least be seen to – it proves that the entertainment itself, whichever way up it may be, is what matters most. [Christmas 2008, p.86]
  18. Electronic Gaming Monthly
    Tearing into Gears 2 is a treat--this blood-soaked sequel offers a smorgasbord of sadistically entertaining content. [Dec 2008, p.78]
  19. The real star, however, is Horde, a ballistic assault on your worst score-rush tendencies that transforms maps into Gears-flavoured Mutant Storm: weapons spawn, then a wave of enemies hits, then more weapons and then another, tougher, wave.
  20. Different difficulties, with the option to replay any chapter of the game on the chosen difficulty, lets us take the desired entertainment from this Gears of War, should it be a running through the fields killing spree without any special precaution in the lower difficulty, or a fight for the strategic upper hand on the higher ones. Many different modes -online, two players or solo- and a frenetic game experience justify the interest in this title.
  21. Gears of War 2 is a darker and larger experience then the first game which will please all the gamers looking for a “bigger and better” version of the original.
  22. 100
    Exceeding already lofty expectations, Gears of War 2 raises the bar a notch for action games this holiday season, and that is no small feat. If you don’t have an Xbox 360 yet, Gears of War 2 is as good a reason as any to compose a short letter to Santa.
  23. The title’s relentless immaturity can grate after a while, though. Gruesome executions and grunted, testosterone-soaked dialogue sloppily plaster over the campaign’s heavy-handed morality play. While the plot makes sense this time around, its clumsy mysteries are old hat to anyone moderately well read in science fiction. Still, finding bad things to say about Gears of War 2 is like trying to hate on the ‘07 Patriots. The game is impeccably engineered to dominate everything it sets its sights on, and yet ultimately falls short of achieving true immortality.
  24. Gears of War 2 delivers on every one of its promises, combining a rich and intimate story, brutal, visceral combat, incredible graphics, outstanding audio design, a strong soundtrack, and a robust multiplayer suite.
  25. Gears of War 2 doesn't reinvent the wheel, but it does bring a good bit of polish to the concepts that made the first such a success.
  26. An average vehicle mission and a couple unimaginative boss battles knock it down a peg, but Gears of War 2 is still a magnificent third person shooter and one of the year's best.
  27. Possibly the single best action game ever, but certainly in the history of the Xbox 360 is all you need to know about this must buy game. The co-operative gameplay, multiplayer and The Horde mode are also great additions for the gamer who likes to play with friends.
  28. Epic have managed to improve on Gears of War in almost every respect with this much anticipated sequel.
  29. Gears 2 is a lesson in masterful pacing; whether it’s lulling you into a false sense of security, dropping you into an inescapable situation, or blowing your hair back with a ‘speeder bike’ vehicle section. It’s a ripping good yarn that is continually one-upping itself by belting you upside the head with yet another over the top action sequence that eclipses the last awesome thing you just did.
  30. 100
    Granted, Gears 2 isn't the smartest shooter on the market, but for now, it is probably the must-own title of this holiday season for Xbox 360 gamers.
  31. With an explosive single player, improved multiplayer, and an all-around polished feel, Gears of War 2 is better than the original by a large margin.
  32. In conclusion, the millions of Gears of War fans will undoubtedly be thrilled by the sequel.
  33. We're getting a little overwhelmed by the sheer number of Cliffy B interviews, quotes and other Cliff related stuff that have roamed the world wide web the past few weeks. But in all fairness, Gears of War 2 is a more than worthy sequel of its predeccesor. The co-op mode is still a very attractive part of the game, and the same goes for the Horde mode. With more enemies, more levels and especially more blood it offers just what you expect from a sequel. The game rarely suprises, but it hurls enough cannon fodder towards you that it will blow you away.
  34. There’s enough content to consider it a true sequel, and not an incremental upgrade, and it’s an overall better game. The expanded story and new multiplayer modes confirm the purchase, and for fans there’s no way to avoid something this good during the holiday season.
  35. Games Master UK
    One of the finest action games of the year that improves on the original in every way. [Christmas 2008, p.56]
  36. games(TM)
    This is a linear adventure through stunning environments and incredible violence – and this is what Gears Of War does best. [Christmas 2008, p.108]
  37. Gears of War 2 takes the formula established by the original and polishes it to great effect. Everything from the pacing of the campaign, tuned difficulty, added weapons and enemies, and slew of multiplayer options demonstrates mastery in design that all action games aspire, yet precious few achieve. Not everything is rosy--chalk the poor story and lame characters as being yet another victim of cheesy game writing. That's excusable, though.
  38. Gears of War 2's new environments, weapons, and multiplayer features round out an all-around superior action package.
  39. 100
    While it's certainly open to debate, we're going to go out on a limb and call Gears of War 2 the most visually impressive game of all-time.
  40. 100
    Gears of War 2 is, simply put, an improvement in every aspect.
  41. The game consistently manages to put impressive, holy crap-worthy stuff on-screen. Your ears get their fair share of candy, too. Voice work is almost always right on and the music is epic, foreboding, and dangerous.
  42. Gears of Wars 2 is what epic masterpieces are made of and on top of that it raises the bar for all action games on the Xbox 360. It’s an over-the-top, action junkie’s dream come true that easily surpasses the much-loved original that still haunts the dreams of all Xbox owners.
  43. If you're hoping for something epic or monumental (like, for example, MGS4 or Mass Effect; two games that still managed to blow my insanely high expectations out of the water), you may be slightly disappointed. That said, it's important to note that the only reason I'm saying this is to keep your standards in check - Gears 2 is by all measure a must-have title for the Xbox 360.
  44. Pick up this game and round up some friends—Gears of War 2 is this year’s multiplayer experience.
  45. There’s not much more to say than if you love shooters, you need Gears of War 2.
  46. That Cliff Bleszinski and his crew have taken one of the most beloved Xbox 360 titles and managed to improve on it in every discernable way is nothing short of remarkable.
  47. Overall I can say that Gears of War 2 is not a typical shooter, as Fable II is not a typical role playing game. It is aimed to beginners – it is a so called easy-to-enter shooter and comes up with additional story and multiplayer modes in the sequel. Great graphics, great sound, simple, but unchanged gameplay, and loads of blood guarantee fun.
  48. The differences and enhancements in Gears of War 2 feel very calculated and intelligent. It's clear that no one set out to break things that worked before, and the most dramatic steps were taken in an effort to widen the game's appeal to players who might not be good enough to play it, otherwise. But it takes on this task without dumbing itself down and alienating the people who already liked the first game...All you really need to know is that Gears of War 2 is a terrific, kick-ass shooter with enough stuff in it to keep you busy for a pretty long time.
  49. Action fans everywhere are going to adore it, but I recommend everyone play it. It’s big, brash, loud and full of ball-shrinkingly deadly scenarios and for that, we can forgive the predictability of the rest of it.
  50. 95
    It has non-stop action, fresh gameplay, varied environments, an engrossing storyline, multiplayer that will have people busy for years to come, and some of the nastiest and coolest kills I’ve seen in a videogame.
  51. 89
    It’s well worth the price of admission, in other words; just don’t expect the perfect shooter. Epic made a lot of good calls with Gears 2, but one can’t help but think that the team is still honing its level design, its pacing, its combat and its storytelling. Should be one hell of a third installment.
  52. 92
    It provides a truly electric action experience, building on the original with intense, astonishingly epic set-pieces. What's more, the presentation is the closest we’ve got to starring in a full-blown action flick. However, the game is also bereft of any genuine surprises and for all of its stunning visuals and masterful firefights, it’s all a little too predictable.
  53. In conclusion, Gears of War 2 is truly an epic game that goes beyond its predecessor and offers gamers another truly outstanding gaming experience.
  54. Gears of War 2 is one big roller coaster ride full of impressive moments. When the ride ends, there’s still the vast array of multiplayer possibilities to be discovered. The core gameplay of Gears of War remains intact, and some minor bugs I encountered lower the score a little bit, but don’t let that keep you away of this shining masterpiece.
  55. 90
    Something of an anathema unto itself, Gears 2 offers more gore, more cursing and more of the stereotypical Space Marine swagger only a compulsive gamer can tolerate.
  56. 95
    Gears of War 2 isn't quite the landmark title that first game was, but it's still one of the best third-person shooters ever made.
  57. LEVEL (Czech Republic)
    Marcus Fenix’s Delta Squad is back with more ... everything. Stunning visuals new weapons new lore – and huge enemies. What else could you wish for? Yes, more ammo. [Dec 2008]
  58. If we were to summarize Gears of War 2 in one sentence it would be "intense and impressive action, preferably experienced together with a friend". There are some flaws here, such as a somewhat uninteresting storyline and some uneven levels, but when the overall experience is nothing short of outstanding we're ready to ignore these minor annoyances. Everything in Gears of War 2 is bigger, better and more bad ass and with an improved online mode this is the game to buy for all action buffs.
  59. Cliff Bleszinski and the boys at Epic games really outdid themselves. Not only have they addressed the problems of the first game (skimpy story and short campaign mode etc), but the multiplayer additions and new game modes are great and insure the game will be dominating Xbox Live for years to come.
  60. Following the old motto "if it's not broken, don't fix it", Gears of War 2 evolves upon its predecessor expanding the scope, size, possibilities and much more... this new title simply delivers. Clearly not a huge leap in terms of innovation, yet it is Microsoft's best bet and a sure winning title for this Christmas. GoW 2 is as good as a third person shooter can be today and a new benchmark in the genre. Highly recommended.
  61. It may be short on gameplay surprises, but it's long on visual shock and awe.
  62. It's simply the gameplay, graphics and sound all being at an incredibly high level and it all seemingly complimenting one another to create one of the most satisfying sci-fi/action experiences currently available in gaming.
  63. 80
    So, Gears of War 2 manages to traverse the difficult sequel terrain with aplomb, but for whatever reason leaves the player unsatisfied. Maybe the inevitable sequel will put some of the vim and vigor back into the series.
  64. 90
    It’s an understatement to say Gears of War 2 is the epitome of action. This game defines the genre.
  65. Our favorite new addition to the Gears multiplayer family, however, is Horde. A fiveplayer co-op romp played on any of the 15 maps, Horde throws wave after wave of increasingly difficult Locust foes at you and your friends for 50 rounds, putting your teamworking skills to the ultimate test.
  66. There are very few ways that Gears of War 2 could be improved on. Only the story and the final boss in particular are a slight disappointment. Fanboys will love the fact that only one of a multitude of story arcs is concluded; everyone else will feel slightly unfulfilled. But aside from this, Gears 2 is not just the most exhilarating game you'll play this year, but possibly the most heady and downright shocking piece of entertainment full stop. Hollywood, your days are numbered. [Dec 2008, p.61]
  67. 85
    Gears of War 2 is one of the most intense and viscerally enjoyable and sensually appealing gaming experiences that you'll likely have this holiday season.
  68. Gears of War 2 is a stellar shooting game and easily one of the best games of the year.
  69. We have yet to play a perfect video game but Gears 2 get’s really freaking close; probably closer than any action game has gotten before. Every aspect of the game: gameplay, controls, features, graphics, and audio have a triple A feel to it and during the first play-through every single gamer will get multiple “oh sh.t” moments.
  70. 96
    I pity the developers that have to release their games around the same period as this, because Gears of War 2 is magnificent.
  71. Gears of War 2 is one of the greatest games of the year and if you're even remotely interested in its genre and do not own an Xbox 360, then seriously consider getting one - it is THAT good.
  72. Gears of War 2 manages to be everything that the sequel to an intense, violent shooter should be.
  73. All of the multiplayer, both co-op and competitive, completely makes up for any that was lacking in the first game. For those that thought that Gears just wasn’t suited to multiplayer gameplay, that it was too tactical and slow and was better suited to a single player experience, prepare to eat your words. It’s fantastic, and rounds out the complete package that is Gears of War 2...Gears of War 2 is about as close as you can get to the perfect gaming package.
  74. Sure it's uncouth at times, but it stands tall as an example of just how heart-poundingly exciting games can be.
  75. Highly addictive online modes dull the pain of mundane offline play.
  76. As a sequel, you’d be hard-pushed to track down a game that is as brilliantly structured, nurtured and evolved as Gears of War 2. With a ruthlessly enthralling pace and variation of set pieces, this is an effortlessly superb package. I haven’t enjoyed a game as much as this since Call of Duty 4: Modern Warfare, which is surely one of the greatest compliments a title can get.
  77. Gears of War 2 improves in every area over its blockbuster predecessor, delivering a solid and engaging storyline that goes far deeper than gamers will expect. Throw into that with an expanded multiplayer that will no doubt rule the roost of the Xbox Live most popular list for months to come, and Gears 2 rightly becomes an essential Xbox 360 title.
  78. Overall this is another fantastic title from Epic and it definitely lived up to the hype.
  79. 95
    Epic, knowing the success of the first installment, has not taken any risk at all and gives us what they know we are going to like: an extraordinary pure action experience, outstanding in all technical and gameplay aspects and, above all, is hugely entertaining and guarantees hundreds of hours of adrenaline rush thanks to its campaign mode and online play through Xbox Live.
  80. 85
    Gears 2's only major shortcoming is a mawkish and cliche-ridden story, but such minor concerns are unlikely to slow the hordes of young men who will slaughter the original's 5 million-unit sales mark.
  81. It's not as emotionally deep as other games on the market, it's not a 30 hour + epic and it's not art in video game form, but is arguably the greatest action game ever created. In a year full of incredible games, Gears of War 2 sits triumphantly at the very top.
  82. 80
    The game delivers the same grizzled, gore-laden action we've come to expect, and it does it extremely well -- but it's as if the original Gears has gotten a face-lift, and been expanded upon, without much real change.
  83. Probably one of the best online multiplayer games on the Xbox 360.
  84. In the end, Gears of War 2 achieves exactly what it sets out to do: make a better Gears of War. It's an accomplishment worthy of praise, but knowing what Epic is capable of, we really wish they would have pushed the envelope a bit more on the campaign mode.
  85. A masterclass in design. Brutal, epic, beautiful and harrowing in equal measure, Gears Of War 2 announces Epic’s reign as the king of the action videogame. Absolutely essential.
  86. Gears of War 2 is a fantastic game, with an epic campaign, incredible Horde co-op experience, and improved multiplayer; all in a package that promises to keep players entertained for dozens, if not hundreds of hours. Several issues keep the game from being all it could be, but it remains a worthy addition to any 360 owner's library.
  87. Xbox World 360 Magazine UK
    Gears does what it does flawlessly. It's not the best shooter ever, but it's definitely the best Gears. [Christmas 2008, p.50]
  88. It improves on the original in almost every way, and maintains its legitimacy with an engaging and lengthy single player story.
  89. Gears of War 2 is a perfect example of blending game and art. An engrossing plot with emotion and battles on an absolute huge scale make this simply an experience that needs to be had by any gamer.
  90. 100
    Gears of War 2 does everything you wanted the original to do and then some. I have never been so hooked on a game. I couldn't put it away until I beat it. I just couldn't get enough of the intense action, the beautiful visuals and I especially couldn't get enough of the story.
User Score

Generally favorable reviews- based on 2811 Ratings

User score distribution:
  1. Aug 13, 2010
    what a let down in almost every aspect. where to start . well lets start with the single player . The story for lack of a better word suckedwhat a let down in almost every aspect. where to start . well lets start with the single player . The story for lack of a better word sucked apperintly in all the questions we had from gears of war 1 Epic thought we all wanted to know about Doms wife . i guess they thought that no one cared about where the locast came from , marcus's past , How the war Started and pretty much any other importent Plot detail ive heard people asking about. The ending Boss battles where a Joke the fight with Skarr wasnt even close to being as fun as fighting Ramm in the first one . the final battle with the Brumak was a complete and utter FAIL. i mean you cant lose this fight i dont care what difaculty you have this on a freekin monkey could do it . the game does have its moments like fighting the giant fish boss that looked and felt awsome but thoose moments in Gears 2 are very few and far between . its a decent Co-op experiance but why do they not have 4 player co-op i mean this game begs for it. The Horde Mode is ok and will provide you with some fun but nothing thats amazing as hyped . The online was completely Destroyed i loved the first one online it has to be my favorite online game despite all the bugs and glitches which are MANY! but gears 2's online they just wrecked they destroyed the shotgun , the serch system was horendus , the chainsaw was unstoppable , the new maps are just Lame , The mortor was rediculas and shoulda been left for the single player, frag tagging to walls is the cheapest thing ever , theres not much good to say about this game outside of the voice acting and diolouge is great and they fixed the active reload with the sniper so its not cheap any more. some of the online issues have been fixed ive heard as of late but its to little to late . Epic Games should be out appoligizing for this game every day . i have little Hope Gears 3 will be any better then this crap . i give it a 5 because the controls are solid and the graphics are nice , and good voice acting . i can give little more praise then that. Full Review »
  2. Sep 21, 2010
    I would have given this game a 9.5 if I could. I felt that Epic Games had succeded in yet another awesome game. The new horde mode is a greatI would have given this game a 9.5 if I could. I felt that Epic Games had succeded in yet another awesome game. The new horde mode is a great laugh. The online progression system is sweet and the maps are epic. Especially now they ave released the 'All Fronts Collection' (what an awesome deal). The online is deffinatlet better than the original. But the campaign however, seemed to lack the 'feel' of gears of war 1. I miss the Kryl and Beserkers, I didn't feel scared in any way and the storyline just didn't seem quite as good as the previous and I still can't get my head around the fact that the lightmass bomb made the locust stronger? However that said the campaign did feel more epic with the large armies, and the updated technology meaning you can fit loads of enemeies on the screen. Skorge was definitely a better bad guy than RAAM and I was glad to see more of the lambant locust (except this time not just wretches). Overall, I'd say Gears of War 2 is a must have, it's an oustanding game both offline and online but the storyline just wasn't quite good enough for me. Full Review »
  3. Aug 30, 2011
    Possibly one of the best reasons to own an Xbox 360. Gears of War 2 is easily my favorite console shooter. The multiplayer matchmaking hasPossibly one of the best reasons to own an Xbox 360. Gears of War 2 is easily my favorite console shooter. The multiplayer matchmaking has improved in almost every possible way, the co-op ended up being an awesome addition to the game also. The horde mode is good, it feels lacking though. The weapon arsenal is bad ass. The maps were as good as the maps in the original Gears of War, I didn't see much of a variation between the two. The only thing I could **** slap this game with is the story, it turned it into a dramatic soap opera, it didn't turn out well either; I definitely didn't hate it though. Full Review »