Gears of War 2’s best and worst moments

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.


  • HotSht95 - November 29, 2008 10:12 p.m.

    What about those gay ass gold weapons that looked like toys COD4 pulled it off this failed miserably with the gold weapons this game is to "serious" and mature/gory/violent to have them
  • Spybreak8 - November 27, 2008 3:06 p.m.

    God, yea I died so many times at that ice lake, the first one before I figured out how the game was programmed, stupid. Also felt the Last Boss was a let down, went down to easy.
  • flare149 - November 27, 2008 8:50 a.m.

    Know what you mean. I was just playing and I started off in the boat and played till the beginning of Act 5 and some of it felt lik pure torture. The thing that really got me was how it seemed that for every good fighting section there were a dozen more exactly like it and a quick button mash to top it all off.
  • SCRubS77 - November 24, 2008 5:50 p.m.

    I dunno. The main thing for me is, I appreciate the fact that Epic is actually attempting a genuinely interesting story. THe majority of the moments they tried to pull off hit home with me, especially the whole Maria ordeal. I mean, how bad would that mess a guy up? Finding your wife in that condition? Stuff like that actually makes you think, and the fact that it is in a great game just helps the argument that games are an art form. I can see how some of the things could fall flat, but for me, it was a rare occasion. At first glance, this could just look like an over-the-top gory, well-polished shooter. But throw in some well-developed characters I can actually care about, and I think Epic hit the bullseye with this one. I have faith in these guys, and I think they could pull a really freaking Epic trilogy off here.
  • Gotxxrock - November 24, 2008 3:16 p.m.

    I thought Dom's sudden emotional presentation was a bit too much. The guy was practically suffering from an intense case of Bi-Polar disorder: One moment he would be kicking a car's window out, lamenting for his sudden and intrusive addition of a wife, and the next moment he would grin with great enthusiasm, shoot down a Drone, shout "Gotchya Bitch!" and say "What next, Marcus!?" A game can't just SHOVE empathy and emotion down your throat and say "LOOK AT THIS!! HE'S EMOTIONAL AND DELICATE!! HE'S A MODEST SOLDIER, CARRYING A DARK AND SADDENED HEART!!" Still a good game though.
  • Elbo444 - November 24, 2008 5:30 a.m.

    NO COLE TRAIN RAP?!?!?!?!?! wtf that was like the best part of the first one, well this is now officially off my list of games to get, great job epic great article though
  • Cwf2008 - November 23, 2008 8:55 p.m.

    bah a little romance in a shooter? WTF? I get shooter games so i can-what else?- shoot the crap out of anything that gets in my way, not watch the main characters make googly eyes at each other. If i wanted to see romance i'd get one of those damn Wii games
  • xSaintias - November 23, 2008 6:35 p.m.

    Honestly great campagin. Have to complain about centaur seeing as one falls move on the ice lake and ur dead, I mean wtf is up with that? Tai ah yes i found that part just a little depressing and scary<---:o scaries not really best word but it was just a weird moment for me...
  • FierceMattman - November 23, 2008 5:30 p.m.

    Actually i thought the Campaign sucked! It was soo dark underground and it was like underground or u were in somethins belly like the whole time. Anyone wanna buy a Gears of War 2 game?
  • SpikeDelight - November 23, 2008 8:56 a.m.

    Lol I did forget about Cole on the intercom! That part was amazing! I like how the Locusts reacted to it too like it showed two buddy Locusts like "wtf is that!?" Also I figured out they did have the Cole Train Rap in the game if you go into the arcade in the Day One multiplayer map and stand really close to the Thrashball machine (looks like a foosball table) and turn the volume up. You can hear a remixed but more subtle version of the Cole Train rap coming out. :D
  • Ominustu - November 23, 2008 8:03 a.m.

    You guys forgot about the part when Cole starts screaming into the locust intercom! You surely remembered that?!
  • oreomonkey - November 23, 2008 5:51 a.m.

    never been a fan of gears.. hated number one. might check this one out after readin this
  • vic88 - November 22, 2008 10:58 p.m.

    now thats good satire
  • RebornKusabi - November 22, 2008 7:35 p.m.

    The first entry about Carmine is true as hell- he is the only character besides Maria that I actually felt bad about dying.
  • SpikeDelight - November 22, 2008 4:47 a.m.

    That Skorge part totally fucking broke my spirit. I played through the game on Solo Hardcore (because anything less is for noobs) and that section was completely unbalanced. The locust shooting you could come out behind you, the poison grenades were inescapable when combined with the falling pillar you have to dodge (which didn't always work right) and those fucking tickers would blow the shit out of you in one hit if you didn't dodge them while simultaneously being out of the shooting Locust's line of sight, the falling stalagtites AND miss the 30 poison grenades thrown from the ceiling. That part seriously got me screaming, "Who the fuck made this? Not the same people who made the rest of the game!" As for Marcus and Anya's romance, there was ONE subtle hint towards that in Gears of War the original. When Anya steps out of the chopper in Act 1 Marcus looks at her like he's really interested. This combined with the end of Gears 2 (which may have been successful in showing a love story if Anya didn't do the hammy 'hand to heart' thing) suggests that either Marcus secretly has a crush on Anya and his feelings are confirmed when she shows she's interested OR they have a past. These plot points will make for interesting threads in the sequel if they choose to pursue them, although giving Marcus a love interest goes against Epic's mantra of not giving the main character too much personality because the player IS the main character. Maybe it's supposed to show how everybody kind of gets a little crush on the girl telling them what to do while playing (Cortana, Alyx, etc.) Wow I wrote a lot. OK I'm done. Great article GamesRadar!
  • Defguru7777 - November 22, 2008 3:24 a.m.

    I agree that the new characters weren't developed as much as they should be, and I agree that the Skorge and Lambent Brumak parts were a huge letdown (give me RAAM any day). But I honestly thought that the Reaver and Centaur parts were great.
  • Corsair89 - November 22, 2008 3:23 a.m.

    I was so glad that Cole wasn't allowed to rap in the credits. Whew!
  • crazytar - November 22, 2008 12:25 a.m.

    the locust queen is human imho and i dont think she is the one who actually breeds locust. marcus might be her true, and maybe only, offspring.
  • lucashintz - November 21, 2008 11:11 p.m.

    FIRST!!!!!!1111oneoneone11!1 ahhh.. just kidding, nice article!
  • BlueBasher - December 6, 2008 6:56 p.m.

    Read "Aspho Fields"; It's the only time Anya and Marcus would EVER have had time together, especially considering the massive wars going on.

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