Gears of War 2: Experts weigh in

Charlie Barratt - Xbox 360 Editor, GamesRadar

On Wednesday, with theofficial announcementthat Gears of War 2 was releasing this November, every gamer's life transformed. At least every 360 gamer's. At least a little.

Suddenly, our outlook on the year aheadchanged. Suddenly, we had a massive milestone to anticipate. Suddenly, the holidays looked a lot further away. Suddenly, Halo 3 and Call of Duty 4 lost a bit of their shiny, new luster. Suddenly, the original Gears had to be pulled back out and re-examined.

As the 360 Editor here at GamesRadar, my work life transformed even more. Theannouncement wasjust the beginning. In the coming months, we'llreceive countless screens, endlessvideos and the occasional sprinkle of real, hard information.Myjob will be to dissect, analyze and wildly speculate about it all. I'm looking forward to the long haul, but believe me, it will be LONG.

So for now, let's hear what everyone else has to say. Nintendo guys. PlayStation guys. Official Xbox Magazine guys.You guys.Whatare the firstreactions to Gears of War 2, plus the teaser and tech demo below?

Ryan McCaffrey - Senior Editor, Official Xbox Magazine

Somehow, a one-minute teaser with no actual gameplay managed to elevate my hype for Gears 2 into the stratosphere. But then again, I guess the idea of chainsaw duels and visceral Lancer fatalities can have that effect on a gamer…

Dan Amrich - Senior Editor, Official Xbox Magazine

It was the announcement everyone expected, but it didn't make me any less excited to hear it. At the keynote, when they showed the teaser trailer, it was mysteriously missing Marcus's dialogue; I didn't realize he was supposed to be speaking until the end when I saw his lips move, and Mark Rein said he was supposed to say "Goddamned Locust." I wound up hearing it as intended when I downloaded it from Live.

I was fortunate to have a second private demo at Epic's booth at GDC, so I got to see the destructible environments and "meat cube" demos a second time. Epic won't confirm that anything we saw in those demos will be in the sequel, but they were smiling when they said it, and elsewhere in the same presentation, they said they enhance the Unreal Engine with new functionality when there is a gameplay reason to have that functionality -- so why else would physics effects on cubes of meat be in the tech demo? I think we'll see some interesting fun with corpses and whatnot in the sequel.

CliffyB said he was really happy to be finally be able to talk about what he's been working on for so long. The elephant in the room was finally let loose, or put in a zoo, or whatever the proper ending to that metaphor should be. He told me he was really nervous before going up there, but once he chainsawed his way through the paper wall, he just loosened up and had fun with it, and was just happy to be announcing that the game really existed. It was kind of nice -- he's as excited about the sequel as the rest of us are.

The part that intrigues me most about the trailer -- aside from the obvious hint of new chainsaw mechanics, like duels and the upside-down kill move -- is the line from Dom that was picked out of the first game to appear in the teaser, the bit about "if anything happens to me..." It was clear that Dom was looking for someone in the first game -- it came up when he went to pick up the Junker in the shantytown -- and I guess we're going to find out who it is and why he's looking for her.

Eric Bratcher - Executive Editor, GamesRadar

The trailer has me wondering briefly about chainsaw dueling. How cool would it be if you could lock up with the other guy and a sort of stone-paper-scissors trio of possible follow-up moves dictated whether you slammed it through his chest, sliced off his head, or got cut down at the knees?

I'm not prepared to speculate on the story based upon this - as long as Cole is back, I'm happy.

Now, the demo - that's some super-hotness. Ambient Occlusion is a phrase I'll probably never speak aloud, but if it makes shadows look that good and makes it easier for me to see things when the environment is dark - like that side-by-side Marcus example about 45 seconds into the video has me thinking it will - I'm all for it.

The literal hordes of Locust creeps and super-fancy liquid have me wondering two things. First, what kind of weaponry can the player use to combat those crowds? I'd like to hereby suggest a tank with a giant, horizontally-mounted buzz-saw blade that rotates around its entire circumference like a spinny belt of doom. And secondly: Can I kill so many Locusts so quickly that I actually create a realistic river of blood? That would be soooo metal.

I was really happy to see a layer of rebar revealed when the demoer blew up that concrete pillar. Destructible cover in games is really appealing to me. It'll keep the player moving because they'll never feel truly safe, and when I think about the possibility of just dropping the whole ceiling down on a Locust enemy instead of waiting for him to stick his head out from behind a crate, I smile in a way that might make my dear mother uncomfortable. .

Finally, I pray that there's a multiplayer mode that features the cube of meat in some fashion. That really needs to happen.

Charlie Barratt
I enjoy sunshine, the company of kittens and turning frowns upside down. I am also a fan of sarcasm. Let's be friends!