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E308: Geometry Wars: Retro Evolved 2 hands on

We just got a chance to play one Xbox Live Arcade title that we knew about heading into E3 and the one XBLA game this blogger was most excited to get his hands on, Geometry Wars: Retro Evolved 2. Bizarre Creations takes the ever enjoyable GeoWars formula and brings it into the multiplayer realm, ratches up the graphics and adds new game modes that'll satisfy. Click towards the break to read our hands on impression of Bizarre's geometry arcade shooter. W00tz!

Geometry Wars 2 is broke up into six different game modes, Evolved (just like the original GeoWars with the addition of new enemies), Timed (score as many points as possible within' a certain timeframe), Waves (the orange enemies game as seen in PGR4) as well as the newer game modes King, Pacifism and Sequence.

In King, the goal is to rack up as much score as possible, but players can only shoot once inside a protective, circular "hill". These hills protect your ship from all enemies and enables your ship's shooting abilities. What makes it difficult is the fact that the hills will disappear after a while and respawn at another place forcing the player to try to make his way through the ever increasing enemy ships to another hill. A weird, but totally welcome switch on the GeoWars formula that "just works" and is actually one of the most entertaining game modes to play.

Another gamemode we found both challenging and enjoyable was Pacifism, whose name and overall tone were taken from Geometry Wars: Retro Evolved's achievement by the same name. In Pacifism, players are restricted from shooting where the goal is to make your way through moving gates. So, how exactly do you kill enemies? See, once a player passes through a gate the gate itself explodes killing all enemies in the area. This, in turn, ends up creating a type of cat and mouse dynamic. We actually had the most difficult time playing Pacifism probably because it's the most different of the rest. Not being able to shoot is totally unexpected in the GeoWars universe, but it too has its merits and has a welcome spot among the new game modes.

Thanks to some inquisitive questioning, we were given an exclusive preview of the sixth game mode Sequence. This one is actually pretty simple, because all a player has to do is kill all the enemies that spawn. The difference between it and Evolved is that Sequence goes through various stages where pre-defined enemy patterns and sequences spawn. So, Sequence brings predictable (yet challenging) enemy spawns to the GeoWars universe and, for that, we'd say that it's actually our least favorite game mode if we had to choose. Sorry Sequence.

Other than the new game mode additions, seriously improved graphics and the addition of multiplayer (where each ship has it's own sexy look), Geometry Wars 2 looks to be sticking to the GeoWars script. Which is a good thing with the added benefit of giving enough gameplay variety within' the six modes to allow every player to find their favorite GeoWars experience. We can't help but love it.

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