Gears of War 2’s best and worst moments

#6 – “Damn, this is what the Inner Hollow looks like?”

You expect the centers of Locust activity to be creepy, crawly and dank. You do not expect the centers of Locust activity to be lavish, intricate and eerily beautiful. The Hollow, and later the Hive, turned out to be both. The enemy’s civilization truly appeared civilized.

More surprising – and unsettling – is the familiarity of the underground architecture. Marcus and Dom wondered why everything looked so old, but we wondered why everything looked so similar to the equally lavish, intricate and eerily beautiful cities above. Are the two sides merely negative images of each other?

#7 – Meet the new breed

Clearly, the Locust are a diverse and complicated bunch. If their architecture wasn’t enough to convince you of this fact, the high-pitched chant of the monk-like Kantus will do the job. In an instant, you learn the enemy is more than a mindless swarm; they have leaders. When the Kantus revives a fallen Locust from the ground, you realize they may also have a religion.

Every new enemy in Gears 2, however, adds a welcome twist to the combat formula. We loved throwing grenades at the feet of shield-bearing Maulers, smacking Tickers into the air with our shotguns and blasting grunts off the saddles of their slobbering Bloodmounts.

#8 – The return of Cole and Baird

While the first third of the sequel is depressingly devoid of Cole and Baird, the two return to Delta Squad in perfectly appropriate style. Augustus Cole, the former athletic star, rescues the group with a series of hilariously flashy and gratuitously violent sport maneuvers. Damon Baird, the finicky smartass geek, is rescued by the group from a dirty and ancient torture chamber he can’t escape on his own. The scenes immediately reintroduce you to the odd couple’s personalities, as well as remind you exactly why you missed them so much.

#9 – “They’re torturing them in there.”

The best sequels, like The Dark Knight and The Empire Strikes Back, are much darker than their predecessors. The villain pushes the hero to his or her breaking point and the audience is left wondering if evil will triumph after all.

Gears of War 2 starts the push at this moment, with this disturbing icon of torture, slavery and inhumanity. The swinging cages... the twitching teats... the unspeakable thought of what must go on inside. If you don’t feel a newfound hatred for the Locust, or at a newfound urgency to finish the war, you must not be paying attention.

#10 – Anatomy lesson

Some hate the giant worm, finding the missions inside silly at best and stupid at worst. Some abhor the running through teeth, the dodging through acid nozzles, the navigating through gaseous intestines and the carving through anal membranes. Some despise the complete departure from Gears of War gameplay... the switch from shooter to platformer.

We forgive all of the ridiculousness above for one simple reason – blood. Gallons and gallons of blood. So much blood that the squad is eventually covered head to foot in the liquid. So much blood that Marcus can drown in it. So much blood that, upon exiting the worm’s carcass, a shimmering ocean of red is formed.

The scene is absurd comic genius, as well as a fitting and self-mocking homage to what made the Gears franchise famous to begin with. How can you hate that?

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!