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Heavy Gear 2 Review@GU
 July 3th, 1999 by Michael "" Ahlf
The visuals of Heavy Gear 2 are stunning.  Snow, smoke, fog, and darkness all show very well, and the shadows are realistic, stretching over a hill then returning to normal when the Gear hits a level surface.  With the spectacular visuals of the water, trees, fog, snow, and landscaping it's really a shame that the game spends so much time on a red and lifeless world.

The weaponry and impact visuals are well done. Gun barrels spin, targets smoke when hit, and the addition of a missile or rocket pack or a switch of primary guns will change the appearance of the Gear, sometimes dramatically. The enemies are well detailed, and for the most part easily identifiable, although getting close enought to an enemy Frame to identify its weapons is generally a bad move. The only quarrel comes with some of the laser turrets and tanks, which could have used a few more polygons to add some details. 

The sounds of the game are equally well done.  Despite not having 3D sound on my computer, I was normally able to tell where enemy fire came from. The sound of the Gear's boots hitting the ground, the lasers, and the missiles all felt right, although the larger lasers could have used a little more bass to differentiate them from the light lasers. 

Conversations with wingmen worked well: each wingman has a distinctive voice, once you figure them out, and both the in-game acknowledgements of orders and the storyline interactions when the wingmen would talk on radio over what to do next fit well into the game.  The most interesting part of this was when my veteran wingmen began insulting the people I knew would be my next: I was actually worried about them getting into a fight for a moment.

The music in the game is well done, but Activision once again hits a snag here with short, repeating loops.  The music switches are extremely noticeable, with periods of silence that let you know something is up.  The action music is also the same in every mission, which got really repetitive when I spent 20 minutes sneaking past enemies that I was supposed to be getting into fights with, knowing full well that to fight that many at once was suicide.

The storyline of the game is excellent.  The cinematics brought a decent amount in the beginning, showing the carnage that happened when Earth (yes that's right, WE are the bad guys) sent in a nuke to a city on Terra Nova.  Throughout the game one watches wingmen interact and begins to find out more and more about the plans of the Earthers, freeing political prisoners for information, assassinating a general or two (wonderful to do, after having to listen to their smug voices).  You find the Earther's version of your Heavy Gears, called Frames, and learn exactly how powerful they are by getting blown to bits several times.  Ultimately, you find a "gun" constructed by the earthers, which uses asteroids as bullets to shoot worlds.  Upon destroying the gun, you get to go home, only to find out that the people of Terra Nova may never know how much they owe you.  Not exactly the ticker tape ending you expected, but the story finishes quite well. 

The second part of the storyline is the historical missions: each of these has its own background in the heavy Gear universe, which gets fully explained in the briefing.  You have to love the ability to simulate old battles, dropping in state-of-the-art Gears or stripping the oldest one you know of down to the chassis for a challenge. Heavy Gear 2 not only presents a good main storyline, it presents plenty of exploration into what caused the storyline, a bonus missing from most games.

Last Page | On to the final comments and the ratings!


The cinematics are quite nice, if a little grainy in places.

"Welcome to Gomorrah, Ass-crack of the universe."

An enemy Frame in the Campaign missions. Note that if you're this close to one of these normally, you are dead a second later.

The shadows are great, as are snowfall and trees. Too bad you spend most of the game on a barren world instead of a lush and pretty one.

Burning wreckage comes at a premium -- the only way to get it is to make it or be it.

Have fun out in space -- if the handling doesn't kill you, the enemies will certainly try their best to.


Added:  Saturday, July 03, 1999
Reviewer:  Michael Ahlf
Page: 3/5

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