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New XBOX game reviewed

By Ian Guss

Section: Arts

October 17, 2008

With an overall weak retail launch lineup, the XBOX 360 found its must buy game in a new medium, a downloadable title. Geometry Wars: Retro Evolved was a smash hit and was the most talked about game in the first few months of the system’s release. Since that time, in late 2005, we have seen the downloadable game industry flourish, but finally, the much anticipated sequel his virtual store shelves as the first of XBOX 360’s Summer of Arcade series.

The tried and true gameplay is straightforward and has been mimicked countless times since the original release. Players are in control of a ship, and from a top-down perspective, try to destroy waves of enemies which appear in multiplying types and at the same time avoiding them. The basic dual joystick controls are back: the left analog stick navigates the ship and the right analog fires at the targets. New to the sequel is how powering up works. Smashed enemies drop “Geoms;” collectibles which add to the player’s multiplier but only appear on screen for only a short time period. The multiplier does not reset after each death which is appealing to the more casual player.

The first title only offered only one gameplay mode which became increasing difficult as time went on. The developers realized they needed more meat in their game and they delivered. The sequel offers five more modes including “Deadline” players must score as many points as possible before a three minute time limit expires. Another timed mode is “Sequence,” in which all enemies appear at the start, giving the player 30 seconds to clear them all. There are more new modes and each is fun to play.

There is a nice level of progression in the title with each mode unlocking after a short time with the previous mode. Another nice touch is the option to show your closest friend’s high score on the screen at all times.

The greatest downfall of Geometry Wars: Retro Evolved 2 is the lack of online co-op. However, up to four players can battle it out or play cooperatively offline.

This sequel does not reinvent itself but even at double the price point of its predecessor, Geometry Wars: Retro Evolved 2 manages to offer enough new modes and graphical enhancements to make it a must buy for fans of the original.

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