Gears of War 2 leads way to a mediocre corridor shooter with sub-par improvements to be considered in light of something considered a delicate sequel. While Gears of War 1 provided great cinematic gameplay, and the first new combat effective shooting style, Gears of War 2 takes root in that formula too strongly and ends up becoming the simple continuation of a decent story that the first game sadly lacked with depth. The campaign is entertaining, but the stop and shoot gameplay just seems hashed. The multiplayer offers upgrades, with four new modes and a bump up to support 3 additional players for a count of 10, but there is yet again anything that vastly differs. While Gears of War 2 intends to refine most of its concepts from the first title, it downgrades the experience as a result of a game just intending to fix mistakes that the first one made without seeking any real improvement. Add in a equally bad ending, and you have a game that is only worthy of a footnote.
Gears of War 2 does have considerably different atmosphere compared to the previous one. The first game was characterized by cities and crumbling monuments, a good portion of the sequel takes place in huge outdoor spaces and underground caverns. You will see fluorescent lights, snow-capped mountains, and incredibly sized enemies. There are more vehicle sections but these can be a pain to use and are infrequent. The traditional stop-and-gun gameplay did great things two years ago, but it comes off more hashed as a result of trying to make the combat work with the new types of environments. Some enemies require you to fight them from the inside, and just borders on a little ridiculous.
Multiplayer comes with newer modes with traditional gameplay design, but there are problems inevitably with the need for better pacing. Warzone, Assassination, Execution, and Annex modes all make a return, along with King of the Hill, first introduced in the PC version of the game. There are also three new standard multiplayer modes called Submission, Guardian, and Wingman. Submission is a variation on Capture the Flag, Guardian is a team-based game with a designated leader, and Wingman splits players into teams of two, with the emphasis on working together to kill and revive. The three new modes are definitely welcome to have and are a great addition, but the changes for multiplayer are expected when a sequel is announced. Unfortunately, the three new modes do not do well in terms of additional delivery and seem more like add-ons.
Gears of War 2 has similarities to its predecessor. Sadly, it borders on the same thing even given new environments, and different story pacing. Newer weapons combined with new melee attacks, make for an interesting campaign, but one that does not sound like it is worth another $59.99.