The latest round of DLC is due to come out in a matter of days (the 31st to be precise) and with the recent update there has been a number of people excited to see if Gears can re-establish it’s self at the top of the Xbox Live food chain. What follows is a brief description of the 4 maps.
The first map that I’ll talk about is one that every Gears fan should be well acquainted with, Fuel Depot. The “new” map isn’t so much reworked as it is relit and retextured with added snow. The hammer of dawn takes its rightful place in the central warehouse and the helicopter still sits atop its central elevated platform, almost everything is the same in terms of functionality the cosmetic changes are really the only notable difference.
Of the new maps one stands out as very different to the normal Gear of War norm, different in the sense that there is a surprising amount of open space. The level comprises of part of a bridge highway and then an enclosed terminal like structure which is similar to Subway’s lower end. The bridge part of the map is basically a four lane highway with a divider median in the middle. There are a few cars up and down but for the most part it is as open as you will find in a Gears of War map, of course there is a sniper making the king of the hill position at the top of the bridge a location that will be fought for with vigour. The obvious advantage of such a map would be in playing King of the Hill, high ground with a suicide run to the top as a sniper tries to pick off the attackers.
Grindyard felt a lot like The Pit from Halo 3, with ramps and stuff. The general sense was that of clutter more than of a well thought out map designed for balanced combat and carnage. The brain storming session that resulted in this map seems to have a few idea’s put together that resulted in an area strewn with cars and an elevated edging on either side and a central tower. The tower does have a Mulcher at the top for spam sniping, but that is about as exciting as it got.
The final level is called courtyard, a map that could be described as containing the central tared stair well of Escalation combined with the annex’s from ClockTower. There is a partition which separates the middle left from the stairwell on middle right behind which is a boom shot and a mortar at the top of the stairs. Wide interrupted stairs on either side as well lead to the elevated spawn point annex. Again this is a symmetrical map and is probably more suited to traditional deathmatches rather than capturing flags or hoard mode.
The result is as one would expect, an increased number of maps available to play in, but does Gears of War 2 need more multiplayer maps? Everytime one releases the community is fractured and while in most cases this is understandable, the current situation with the patch not fixing match making, and in many cases worsening it, there must be a point where you stop purchasing maps that are effectually unusable.