Based on the epic sales numbers and robust review scores, we feel rather safe in declaring Gears of War 2 a success. What about the anticipated shooter, however, succeeded the most? What will you remember long after you’ve finished the game? What will you want to see repeated in Gears 3?
Here are our 20 best moments – the scenes, characters, missions and story twists that shone above all the rest. And, since Gears of War 2 certainly isn’t perfect, we’ve also chosen 10 of the absolute worst, disappointing, overhyped moments.
Agree or disagree with our selections? Describe your favorites (and letdowns) in the comments below. Worried about spoilers? You should be – this article is riddled with them. Don’t say we didn’t warn you!
#1 – Carmine returns
In the first Gears of War, he was a mere throwaway of a character... a quick sacrifice to caution you about the danger of snipers. In the sequel, however, his brother helps make the Carmine family an integral part of the game’s universe.
He’s the relatable everyman, reacting to unbelievable events with appropriate shock, curiosity and fear. He’s the comic relief, occasionally cracking even the cynical shells of Marcus and Dom with his “aw shucks” naiveté. And, by the end, he’s a hero. Now we can’t wait for the debut of Carmine the Third.
#2 – Dom’s emotional rollercoaster
He’s always been more than a sidekick, but in Gears of War 2, Dom emerges as the true heart and soul of the series. While most of the other characters remain one-note stereotypes, he experiences a full symphony of moods and feelings. Optimism. Hopelessness. Love. Jealousy. Anger. Sacrifice. Revenge.
His story is also the human anchor in an otherwise big, loud and bombastic sci-fi circus. When a loved one’s life hangs in the balance, all that over-the-top action and gore actually starts to mean something.
#3 – “Some of these patients have rust lung”
Hey, remember how you saved the world in Gears of War? Felt pretty damn good, didn’t it? Yeah, well, about that... turns out you only annihilated the Kryll bird thingies and, by activating that stupid Lightmass Bomb, you may have caused thousands of innocent people to grow violently, fatally ill. Well done!
Seriously, we admire any sequel that forces you to completely rethink the events its predecessor. More importantly, we admire a mainstream shooter that’s willing to hint at the real-life consequences of war, aggression and weapons of mass destruction.
#4 – Into the great wide open
Majestic, snow-covered mountains! Big, bright skies! Lush, full forests surrounding a clear, pristine lake! Are we still playing Gears of War?
With one glorious moment, the game’s universe suddenly felt a hundred times larger and grander. As the city of Jacinto gave way to miles and miles of wilderness, we finally saw the world of Sera as a living, breathing place and not just a series of gritty streets, dark caverns and crumbling mansions. Sure, you can’t really explore all that wide open space yet, but isn’t it nice to know that it’s out there?
#5 – Demolish your first Brumak
You couldn’t kill them in the original game. Hell, you couldn’t even fight the things unless you bought the PC version. Your only option? Run away and pray for the mission ending cutscene to kick in.
Consider this scene your official apology. Not only do you battle a Brumak within the first hour of Gears 2, you tear half the beast’s face off and then drive over its broken body like a discarded piece of road kill. The kill is quick, easy and, after the previous Gears’ copout, incredibly satisfying.