Gears of War 2’s best and worst moments

#1 - New characters fall flat

With some obvious exceptions (detailed in the preceding 20 “best moments”), we really couldn’t care less about the additional characters introduced in Gears of War 2. The game tries desperately to impress you with Tai’s supposed indestructibility, but showing us his legendary toughness instead of merely telling us about it might have helped. No, escaping a small vehicle fire doesn’t count.

Meanwhile, Dizzy disappears after no more than about two cutscenes and a dozen lines of hillbilly dialogue... and all we can guess about Chairman Prescott is that he has better posture and nicer clothes than everyone else.

Finally, how can we become invested in new characters if they’re always doomed to die? When will the Gears franchise truly surprise us and kill off Dom, Baird, Cole or even Marcus?

#2 - Fighting the Sires

Their introduction is creepy as hell. As the half-formed test tube mutants banged restlessly on their fragile prison walls, we almost imagined we were playing a survival horror game instead of a shooter. What would they do if they broke out? How could we possibly escape so many?

Then they actually did break out, and after the briefest instant of panic, we discovered just how unbelievably easy escape would be. Got a chainsaw? Know how to hold down the “B” button? You’ll be fine. In fact, you might even be a bit bored.

#3 - No Action Research Facility

While on the subject of Sires, how much of a drag is their home, the New Hope Research Facility? We loved the mood, the atmosphere and the mystery; we didn’t care so much for the looooooong lull in action. Proper pacing requires ebbs and flows, obviously, but a few extra rooms of Wretches or Tickers would have been appreciated.

On the other hand, this sequence does build towards flamethrowers and razor hail, so we won’t dread replaying it too much.

#4 - Tanks for nothing

First, you’re welcome for the pun.

Second, did anyone actually enjoy these ice lake sections in Gears of War 2? We found the Centaur tank mission more fun than the Junker mission in the first game, but these tightrope walks should never have left the testing room floor. We didn’t particularly like the timed, trial-and-error maze at the end of Halo 3; we don’t like experiencing two more in the middle of Gears of War 2. Adding new and unwieldy controls to the mix, plus a pair of Reavers, merely guarantees the player’s repeated failure and frustration.

#5 - How long have we been down here?

Remember when we talked about how much we admired the architecture and design of the Locust civilization? Yeah, well, that didn’t mean we wanted to move there. Unfortunately, Delta Squad spends at least a third of the game underground, and the desensitizing darkness makes that third seem like a half or more.

The cruelest part is that, before sinking you into these endless shadows for endless hours, the sequel shows you what kind of vast, bright beauty it’s capable of with the mountain scenery in Act I. Don’t be afraid of the light, Gears of War... your characters can still act depressed and downtrodden in the fresh air and sunshine!


  • 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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