15 October 2009 | Ben_Horror
A sadly forgotten gem of the late 90s
I first played this game many eons ago in 2001 and was instantly blown away by it. Heavy Gear 2 concerns a brutal war between Earth and a planet called Terra Nova which is run by human colonists. As it's thousands of years in the future, warfare has evolved to such an extent that the opposing forces are fighting it out in massive, bipedal robots or 'Gears' as they're called. Cue loads of bangs, wallops and explosions galore. Strangely for a game, the story is told from the point of view of the colonists and not the Earth forces. Earth is painted as the enemy. For the most part, Earth forces come across as greedy and aggressive imperialists.
This really is a certifiable forgotten gem. It has everything you could wish for in a game: great voice acting, magnificent graphics (for its time and they still hold up today), brilliant sound effects, fantastic and colorful environments, and a solid array of weaponry. You can choose to play the multi player mode, the large campaign game or the separate missions. There's even a neat feature where you can design your own battles, lowering or increasing your opponents' AI and weapon strength accordingly. If I had one fault, it would be the controls: they take a while to get used to and you will develop contortionist skills in your fingers by the time you master them. But having said that, it's worth the effort. Once I got the hang of it I couldn't put it down.
There is also a lot of imagination at work in this game. The stories that run in the background are very rich and compelling. It feels gritty and cannily realistic. In fact there is more than enough material here for a trilogy of movies and the Gears themselves have more appeal and charisma than all the Transformers put together.
Even though I actually played this before Heavy Gear 1, I ended up purchasing the first game as a result, but I needn't have bothered. Heavy Gear 1 suffers from very dated graphics and the gaming is not really compelling. I heard it was rushed out to compete with battling robot games like Mech Warrior and it shows. But that doesn't matter: I would actually discard it anyway as the sequel is superior to it in every way.
While there was a TV series made of it in 2001, it was very kiddie friendly and turned the war aspect of the game into a competitive sport instead. I'm still convinced, however, that there's a really dark and exciting movie in here somewhere. Just make sure and base it on the dark, brooding sequel and not the sluggish original.
So, in conclusion, if you like shoot 'em games, you could do worse than to track down a copy of Heavy Gear 2. They're hard enough to find, but worth the effort and money if you're lucky enough to get one. If you can't find one, then locate a torrent and download it. I'd highly recommend it.