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DLC Review: Gears of War 2: Snowblind Multiplayer Map Pack

April 16, 2009

DLC Review: Gears of War 2: Snowblind Multiplayer Map Pack
by Mike David

I love downloadable content.
 
So for those people out there that beat the game, got online and beat it with a friend and then went online again for some serious war games will be excited to get a hold of the new Snowblind map-pack. Featuring all sorts of new goodies for those players who like their gunfire "online".
 
OK, so here's the thing, as I was playing the other night, it occurred to me that Halo and Gears of War (arguably the two biggest 360 franchises) are actually polar opposites of the same cloth. If Halo is the clean and sharp, well put together, polished action title worthy of an Oscar, Gears is the down and dirty, rough-and-tumble, horror flick of of an action game that kicks you in the gut.
 
Enter into this slaughter if you will because the folks at Epic Games have unleashed some serious fury on us, the gaming public. With four new punishing maps, the Snowblind map pack is an online players dream, custom made for those players who like their death fast and mean.
 
The first map is called "Courtyard" and takes place in what must have once been a shopping center. Snipers rejoice thanks to long kill shots and high vantage points. Team flanking can and will be used often thanks to the map design so enemies will sneak up and catch you often. Keep moving if you want to live. I thought this map was pretty good, but I don't favor sniper kills so I found myself running the gauntlet, so to speak, a well thought out map but not my favorite.
 
The second map is "The Grindyard" a real "theme: level with lots of iron and industrialization. This is the map that players and fans of the design of the games will want to get into. Combining both the gritty hell that is prominently featured throughout the full length games, the Grindyard is a complete map, with sniper points, heavy weapons, lots of fast kills, a suicide trap called the office where players can make a break for the big guns but get killed doing it. This is my favorite map.
 
The third map is actually called the Fuel Depot and is a remake from a previous GoW map only this time it is covered in snow and has sustained some additional explosives. I never played the previous incarnation of this map but ran into several "live" players who were more then happy to tell me how much they enjoyed the change both visually and destructively. This map is the map that well oiled Gears teams will want to work on, covering all the routes in an almost impossible defense scenario. Good times are found here.
 
Lastly, there is a level called "Under Hill" and places the fight squarely underground in a series of tunnels that beg for you to "take the hill" so to speak and defend the levels most important strategic point all while avoiding enemy fire. And by fire I mean the kind of fire only seen before in the Bible. Lots of death and destruction coming from above and I really thought this was a cool level. This is my second favorite as it simply has crazy written all over it.
 
Level design is well implemented and I can't say enough about the graphics, they are top notch, completely in-line with the games themselves and quite frankly, the top tier of all games.
 
800 MS points gets you this gory setup and honestly, Grindyard and Under Hill are worth it. The other two levels are merely frosting on an already sweet cake. Fans, if you don't get this download, then you can't really call yourself fans.


Check out some of the action here -
Snowblind Map Pack Trailer

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