DLC hasn’t caught hold of me. In fact, it often pisses me off for a reasons stated previously. Even though I love several titles that have received updates, new modes, addition of collectibles, or side missions, the content never intrigues me. The epitome of DLC for me is a continuation of the main game. True additional content would bridge one game to another – an expansion of sorts – fleshing out the story or revisiting game play that wasn’t showcased upon release. When I heard that Gears of War 2’s All Fronts Collection included a delete campaign, you better believe they piqued my interest.
Gears 2 may set world records for most concurrent deathmatches, but I skipped right over all the additional multiplayer content in All Fronts in favor of co-op locust hunting. Upon selecting Deleted Scene, players are greeted with an entire screen of CliffyB. His head is enormous; perhaps it’s his ego filling the camera, but I digress. CliffyB’s introduction sets the stage as players return to the Locust underground in search of the Queen. Upon loading the unnamed chapter (simply referred to as Deleted Scene), my team was greeted with a choice, go in guns blazing or take a touted stealth route. The ability to choose, though linear in outcome, broke Gears tradition by having both players follow the same route.
My partner and I went with what we know, loading Lancers and revving chainsaws. By rolling in guns blazing, streams of bad guys including the general fodder locusts, rocket launcher packing behemoths, and one pissed off Brumak greeted us. The campaign offers what one might expect from a deleted campaign, more of the same, right down to another stereotypical meat head who tried to offer additional story to the campaign. We completed the campaign just shy of an hour on hard before it ended abruptly. Apparently Epic cut the scenario from the game before completing the chapter.
The stealth-based route should’ve spiced things up, so we tackled that little distraction second. Little is the perfect descriptor, though. The stealth route’s shoddy play has to be why the chapter was cut from production. It offers nothing of interest.
Sure, we got to run around in sparkly Theron armor and pretend to be bad guys (carrying human-made chainsaw-wielding assault rifles, no less). That’s cool, but there’s nothing to it. Epic’s incarnation of stealth game play amounts to allowing mobs to path by while sneaking around corners or jumping over cover. Aside from tossing two distractions to pull baddies away from the exit, we did nothing – no stealth kills, no knockout and body dragging sections, nothing. Once we glanced by a few checkpoints unscathed (detection meant instant death on hard) we joined the guns blazing path and dropped the disguises. For comparison, it took about 15 minutes to reach that point, with about another 15 minutes remaining. At least we got to end the campaign by doing something.
Gamers looking for a continuation to Gears of War 2’s enjoyable campaign shouldn’t start with the All Fronts Collection. The well-documented new mode is a far cry from enjoyable game play, and the customary Gears action isn’t lengthy enough for the price. Thankfully, the All Fronts Collection offers more than the unfinished Road to Ruin campaign. This compilation includes seven new mutliplayer maps along with all those released to date. The new maps offer battles of all shapes, sizes, and skillsets, allowing reckless players to frag each other as they bee line for the Boomshot in Memorial, or forcing them to tread lightly over mine ridden grounds in Way Station. War Machine soaked up most of my multiplayer time, specifically because I enjoy being that asshole who picks you off with a sniper rifle across the map. That’s an opportunity not well represented in Gears of War’s frantic setting, so it’s nice to see Epic mix it up. Watch your melon shaped head.
Connoisseurs of Gears of War 2’s multiplayer will find the All Fronts Collection worth the MS points, with Road to Ruin an added bonus. With the previously released maps and seven all-new battlefields, All Fronts should keep gamers’ chainsaws covered in blood and guts for hours, but players looking forward to the new campaign should skip this pack.