Thursday, July 31, 2008

Geometry Wars 2 Impressions

So I've downloaded Geometry Wars 2, played through all the modes and gotten a few achievements. Overall, I think the game is quite good despite my initial reservations, I think that anybody who enjoyed the first Geometry Wars will certainly like this game. In some ways, its easier and more accessible, and it other ways it is decidedly more hardcore.

The game has 6 modes and runs in 1080P native - if you have the equipment to handle that sort of thing, Im sure it looks spectacular because at 720P the game looks great. In resolutions lower than that it becomes a bit more difficult to follow all the action on the screen, especially the Geoms, the teeny tiny bean shaped objects which enemies now release and you must pick up to increase your multiplier.

Of the 6 modes, I found the first one, Deadline, to be totally boring as there is no tension whatsoever in that mode. You get unlimited lives and a 3 minutes timer. Waves is OK - lines of enemy shapes dart back and forth across the screen, Pacifism is pretty cool, you evade enemies without weapons while destroying them by passing through gates, and the other two modes are great: King and Evolved. King has you darting between protective barriers and Evolved is the same game as the original Geo Wars but with some new enemies and spawn patterns.

Sequence, the 6th and final mode, I have yet to beat but it looks to be the most hardcore and potentially best of all the modes. You progress through 20 timed trials of increasing difficulty, you get 30 seconds to clear each level, and if you die, you are reset to the next level. I havent made it through 4th tier yet, so its clear if you are looking for a serious challenege Sequence is it.

Two things that bothered me, the multiplier doesnt reset when you die, which also killed a lot of the strategy from the first game where you had to save your bombs for tight situations to keep your multiplier going. Now you dont really have to worry about losing your multi, its just about dying, and if Im not worried about losing my multi, dying seems somehow more trivial.

Also, the starting gun is puny, and the lack of being able to upgrade it just seems silly. In a game where the entire screen is often filled with enemies, having a twin shot just doesnt get the job done a lot of the time. If bobbling the right analog stick was crucial in the first game, its critical in the sequal.

But the problem is that the puny starting gun doesnt even have enough to spread to do an effective bobble, that is to say even if you are bobbling the right stick enemies can still slip through the bullets, which never ever happened in the first game. The alternative is to bobble the left analog stick, which steers your craft, but this results in a smaller spread which enemies cant pass through, but its still an inferior solution as you cannot do it continuously while piloting through the battlefield. Really, the lack of a gun upgrade strikes me as just a silly omission, seeing as though the first game had it, and every other good 2D shooter on the market has upgrades; the bigger the gun, the more the fun - but not in Geo Wars 2.

The Playstations 3's Super Stardust HD is the superior game, but that doesnt mean Geo Wars 2 isnt fun. Its just been passed by while it sat on the shelf. Its not even quite as good as Geometry Wars Galaxies for the Wii, which can be thrilling with the classic controller, and is a bigger, better, more blah blah blah game. The new modes are interesting, but overall dont add as much to the mix as one would hope. The local multiplayer, while certainly crazy and fun is just a bit too hectic and jumbled with colors and explosions too be played competitively - the best way to enjoy it is after smoking a rather large spliff with some friends.


BlankVoid said...

I gotta say...i was shocked when i hit a million points in the trial within two minutes. A feat i havent even approached on the first geo wars. I was a bit surprised not to see a weapon upgrade, even when the multiplier hit 400+. I thought it might just be since its the trial version, but reading this im quite glad i didnt buy it.

I was under the impression that multiplayer would be over live. What a let down.

Good review, now i dont regret not buying it.

md galaxy said...

It's... different. I still enjoy it, but I keep waiting for that damn weapon upgrade!