Gears Of War 2 is the second game in the Gears franchise in which players once more take control of Marcus Fenix and Delta Squad to battle the Locust Horde. With the story written by Karen Traviss, Gears 2 is set directly after the events of the first Gears Of War, and in this sequel humanity is tasked with a final desperate attack on the Underground Locust City, The Hollow. The original third person gameplay remains, as does the ability to " Roadie-Run" and the infamous " Chainsaw Bayonet". Additionally, players are introduced to both new and old characters, new weaponry, new attacks and new enemies, such as Skorge and the Locust Queen Myrrah.
The enhanced Unreal III Engine allows much larger quantities of enemies onscreen, as well as advanced physics which allows environmental features to shatter and crumble when shot. New combat features include the ability to grab downed enemies and use them as "meat-shields", the ability crawl to safety when seriously injured, and perform a larger variety of finishing moves on fallen enemies. Though portions of the game retain similar small-scale set pieces as seen in the original game, Gears of War 2 also features areas that are much larger in size and scope (thanks to the Unreal III engine). Gears of War 2 also features parental controls, which allow for modifying such aspects of the game as gore and cursing.
The main character of the Gears Of War series. He was thrown in jail for abandoning his squad to save his father (a task at which he ultimately failed) and was busted out by Dom after Emergence Day. He finds himself the leader of Delta Squad early on in the first game and retains that position for the second game.
The second protagonist of the game, Dominic Santiago was responsible for freeing his good friend Marcus Fenix out of the Jacinto military prison soon after Emergence Day. In Gears Of War 2, Dom spends the majority of the game trying to find his wife, Maria.
A former thrashball player, Augustus "Cole Train" Cole is the heavy weapons support member of Marcus' team. He maintains an extremely enthusiastic attitude and possesses a vibrant disposition regardless of the situation the team finds themselves in.
Perhaps the most intelligent member of Delta Squad, Baird possesses a smart-ass attitude which often frustrates his squad mates. He is disappointed when Marcus is promoted instead of him, but learns to live with it. He is an adept mechanic.
In Gears of War 2, the Locust have returned stronger than before. Humanity hoped that the Lightmass Bomb would end the war by destroying the Locust deep underground where they lived, however, the Lightmass Bomb accomplished little beyond wiping out the Kryll breeding grounds, making travel at night somewhat safer.
The single player campaign begins out with Marcus Fenix and Dominic Santiago of Delta Squad being joined by a new member, Benjamin Carmine. Carmine is the brother of Anthony Carmine, a soldier that died early in the first game at the hands of an unseen sniper, a fact that Dominic (Dom) makes direct reference to more than once. Marcus and Dom train the rook which serves as a training sequence for the player. Afterward, they are tasked to defend the hospital they are stationed at from a Locust attack. Along their way through the hospital, they meet up with another Gear named Tai. Tai has earned the nickname "Bulletproof," and maintains a very spiritual approach to battle. They manage to clear out the hospital and are then informed that they are to take part in a counteroffensive against the Locust.
Dom, however, is far more concerned for the safety of his wife than in the battle ahead. Anya, the intel supervisor, informs him that she might have found a lead on Maria but that it's unlikely she's still alive. Dom demands to know anyway and Anya informs him that his wife may have joined with the Stranded, humans that are without support in the heart of Locust territory. Afterward, the crew meets up with Dizzy, a Stranded that has joined the Coalition of Organized Governments, or COG. Dizzy drives a Derrick, one of several mobile platforms used for drilling that play a key role in the upcoming operation. Used as a troop transport that he has nicknamed Betty, Dizzy follows the convoy out to the strike zone where they are expected to launch their offensive.
Along the way, they take on Reavers and Brumaks, beasts of burden used by the Locust as air and heavy ground support, respectively. They eventually arrive at Landown, the designated strike area for the Derricks, and fight their way through to clear it out and make it safe for the operation to begin. As they prepare to load themselves into the grind lifts for insertion underground, an unknown Locust General appears and wreaks havoc amongst their ranks. Being already strapped into pods, Marcus and Dom are forced to watch helplessly as the pod begins the launch sequence and hurtles them away. Deep underground, they find themselves in the Hollow, the home of the Locust. After fighting their way through several caverns and watching as several more pods drop from the surface, they eventually discover the Locust's new weapon: a titanic worm that is boring tunnels large enough to weaken and collapse the foundation of cities on the surface, dropping them down.
Eventually ambushed and outgunned, Marcus and Dom make contact with Private Augustus Cole, a teammate from the previous game. They continue along to find another friend, Damon Baird, the demolitions and intelligence expert. They free him from the Locust storage canister that he was locked in and he tells them the Locust were intending to "process" him, though even he isn't sure what that means as the Locust were never known to have taken prisoners. They soon find out more when they board a Locust Torture Barge intending to take it deeper into the Hollow.
The Barge is a blimp-like vehicle that the Locust use to torture humans. Marcus finds Tai in one of the cells, tortured and scarred both physically and mentally. Marcus hands him a shotgun to help fend off locust that are converging on their position, but watches in horror when Tai turns the gun on himself and pulls the trigger underneath his jaw.
They witness the complete destruction of a city from the surface as it falls into the crater created by the giant worm's digging and are forced to make their way through the still burning ruins in the hopes of finding a way out. They eventually make it to high ground and contact command who send in a chopper rescue squad to extract the team. As they fight their way to the chopper and begin to lift off, the giant worm erupts from the ground and rises towards them. Carmine falls out of the chopper and into the beast's mouth before it swallows the chopper as well.
Since the beast swallowed them whole, the other COGs remain together and in one piece inside the worm. They decide to take it out and look for Carmine. Avoiding stomach acid, digestive teeth, and nearly being crushed by a giant sphere of debris, they discover Carmine fending off a swarm of creatures. Though the creatures are scared off, Carmine has already suffered grievous injuries. Carmine says his final words to Marcus: "Sarge?..(Marcus replies "Carmine..." sadly) I hurt sarge...tell my brothers... tell my ma... tell em I love em, and...and.." and dies. Marcus Fenix collects his COG tag, number 838186-22AO3-SF and a letter that he had wrote to his older brother Clay, to deliver both to Carmine's family.
After Carmine dies, Marcus and the others make their way deeper into the worm, discover its hearts, and sever their giant arteries with a chainsaw bypass, killing the beast. The beast lurches to the surface and collapses as it dies. Delta Squad cut their way through the skin of the worm and are disgorged on a wave of blood nauseating everyone, especially Baird.
Marcus orders a Raven to extract them but is informed instead that they are tasked with a new mission. The incoming Raven drops off a Centaur, a tank with monster wheels. Colonel Hoffman explains to Delta Squad that they must investigate an abandoned outpost recently discovered by the COGs. Though Marcus feels that they've done enough for now, Hoffman insists leaving Delta Squad with little choice. They arrive at the outpost where Marcus orders Cole and Baird to guard the Centaur while he and Dom go inside to investigate.
They find a large security door and a mysterious figure who shows himself on the screens tells them that they need proper identification to enter. Marcus doesn't play around and simply orders Baird to build a large bomb to blow the door open. After fighting off some stray wretches, they return to the Centaur where Baird has the bomb waiting for them. They carrying the bomb back to the door and successfully blast it open. Marcus and Dom head deeper into the facility and make a shocking discovery: Locust-like creatures in glass tubes, apparently mutated from humans. They also discover that the base is abandoned and that the face that has been taunting them is actually an AI that is continuing to run the facility. After finding the data they need, they trip an unexpected system that begins to re-awaken what is in the tubes.
The half-human, half-Locust creatures, dubbed "Sires" by the AI, begin to break out of their containment tubes. Marcus and Dom are forced to fight their way out only to hear from Baird that the bad weather has turned into razor hail, a deadly hail made of ice shards. Using cover as much as possible, they manage to fight their way back to the Centaur where they protect Baird as he fixes the tank. After fighting off a small swarm of Reavers, Baird fixes the Centaur. Delta takes off, leaving the lab behind and heading for the "backdoor" into the Hollow where the Locust Queen may be according to the recovered data.
Reporting their findings to command, Delta Squad is then assigned to take the Centaur and immediately journey to this location in an attempt to take down the Locust Queen and end the war. After crossing frozen lakes and fending off Reaver and Locust attacks on their way up the mountain, Delta Squad arrive at the entrance. They discover a group of Stranded hiding in the caverns there with Franklin, the gas station owner from the last game, among them. He has given up the station in favor of an underground hideout. Marcus orders Cole and Baird to escort the stranded to the surface using the Centaur, but not before Dom asks Franklin if he has seen Maria. Surprisingly, Franklin says that he has, but then says that he thinks he saw her being taken deeper into the stronghold reducing her chances of survival. Still, he gives them a route to a camp where she might be. After that, Delta splits up and Marcus and Dom head deeper into the mountain toward another location that Franklin had mentioned: Nexus, the central stronghold of the Locust.
Fighting their way into the Hollow beneath the mountain, the friends arrive at the Locust highway. Franklin had told Dom he should branch off here to find Maria, but Marcus thinks they should focus on the mission. Dom reminds Marcus that he abandoned his post, the crime for which he was found in prison at the beginning of the first Gears of War, to try and save his father. Marcus is forced to acquiesce when he realizes that Dom is simply trying to do the same thing.
They come across a lake and although the boat they find is already half submerged in the water, and thus useless, the pier they are on breaks free and becomes a makeshift raft. After fending off several assaults, they manage to board one of the Locust gunboats and use it to fight their way further in until they are pulled over a waterfall. Surviving their fall, they believe themselves safe until they are attacked by the Leviathan, a massive water creature that tries to swallow them. Marcus fights it off by lobbing grenades into its mouth, eventually killing it.
After getting to shore and pushing further into the Hollow, they discover a Locust terminal. Marcus orders Jack, their cloaked intelligent robot to do a facial search for Maria. The terminal reveals a symbol linked to a section of the prison camp. Either by fighting their way through or stealthily avoiding the patrols, they eventually find Maria. At first Dom sees what he wants to: his beautiful wife returned to him in perfect health. Marcus, however, breaks out of his delusion and he sees her as she truly is: starved nearly to death and so psychologically broken she seems unaware of his presence. Marcus leaves Dom to whatever fate he decides is best. In the end, he puts his wife out of her misery, vowing to exterminate every single last Locust.
The two Gears head deeper they eventually arrive at Nexus where the Locust Queen commands her legions. Once they find a safe spot, they order Jack to set up a beacon signal so that the other Gears know where to drop down with their grind lifts.
Cole and Baird drop down directly over Dom and Marcus, and Delta squad is reunited. Together, they head towards the Queen. Along the way, however, they start noticing Locust fighting amongst themselves. The Queen is heard broadcasting propaganda which reveals what is going on: it appears that the Locust have been fighting Lambent (Locust infected by exposure to Imulsion) versions of their race all this time, a civil war that has divided the Locust forces and explains their desperate raids against the human settlements. This would also explain why the Gears had a relatively easy time getting inside the lair.
They get ever closer to the queen until they find a recording from Marcus' father, Adam Fenix, telling them they should sink Jacinto themselves, as it would fill the Hollow with seawater and drown everything inside. Marcus considers it eventually telling Control they should do it. He transmits the data so that Control can use them to come up with an appropriate plan on their end. The data secured, the four fight their way to the Locust Queen's throne room. When they arrive, they discover that the queen is oddly human in appearance with Cole remarking that she's supposed to be hideous. She is joined by Skorge, the same Locust General that they had seen on the surface. The queen makes cryptic references to Marcus in saying that he is not following in his father's footsteps, implying she knew him, and leaves Skorge to deal with Delta Squad. Marcus orders Cole and Baird to pursue her, while he and Dom face off against the mighty Skorge.
Skorge, wielding staff with chainsaws on both ends, duels with Marcus who eventually manages to push him back. Skorge flees on a larger version of a Reaver, called the Hydra, but Marcus and Dom pursue him. They find Cole and Baird who inform Marcus that the queen had escaped. Marcus orders them to follow suit and head outside the palace to a stable where a a pair of unmanned Reavers lie in wait. Hopping on and taking control of them, they race through the caverns and eventually across the surface as they head towards Jacinto to begin the steps needed to sink it. On the way out, Skorge pursues them but is successfully fended off and presumed dead. Afterward, Marcus receives a distress call from Anya telling them the Locust have caught wind of their plan to drown them first and are launching an assault on the city to stop them. Delta arrives at Jacinto after nearly being shot down by their own forces for riding a Reaver and with Hoffman's help, buy time by fighting off the Locust assault.
Eventually, they hear about a sinkhole inside the city and are ordered to head in to clear it out so that Ravens can drop a Lightmass Bomb into it to sink Jacinto. They fight through the ruins of Jacinto around the sinkhole and eventually manage to hijack a Brumak by killing its driver. Using the Brumak's superior firepower, they journey into the sinkhole and lay waste to the Locust hordes that stand in their way. They eventually enter a vast cavern and blast the roof supports, dropping the ceiling and allowing the Ravens to come down and drop the Lightmass Bomb. However, the Brumak that they are on begins mutating from standing in the Imulsion that the cavern is filled with. Marcus and Dom abandon the Brumak by getting picked up by Baird and Cole on a Raven. The now-crazed Brumak smashes the helicopter carrying the Bomb out of the air and into the Imulsion. Without the Bomb, there is no way to sink Jacinto. However, Marcus realizes that if the Lambent Brumak explodes, it may generate enough power to substitute itself for the Lightmass Bomb. Using the Hammer of Dawn, Marcus targets the Brumak with the satellite beam weapon, killing the Lambent Brumak and setting off the explosion that tears apart the foundations of Jacinto. Seawater rushes into the sunken hole, flooding the Hollow and presumably ending the war.
However, as the final scenes play out in following the helicopter exodus from Jacinto, the Locust Queen's voice can be overheard talking about "unintended consequences".
Following the credits, a final voice recording of Adam Fenix plays asking people if they can hear him, and then proclaiming: "What have you done?!".
Act 1: Tip of the Spear
- Welcome to Delta
- Rolling Thunder
- The Big Push
- Digging In
Act 2: Denizens
- Indigenous Creatures
- Disturbing Revelations
- Sinking Feeling
- Intestinal Fortitude
Act 3: Gathering Storm
- Dirty Little Secret
- Rude Awakening
- Brackish Waters
Act 4: Hive
- Hornets' Nest
- No Turning Back
- The Best-Laid Plans
- Royal Inquisition
Act 5: Aftermath
- Desperate Stand
- Free Parking
- Tenuous Footing
Weapons: All weapons from the original Gears of War will be returning, but the following have been changed:
- Hammerburst Rifle: A semi-automatic gun that fires almost as fast as you can pull the trigger. It's stronger than the Lancer in terms of firepower, and is the only rifle to feature pistol-like zoom. A gold-plated version of this gun was available to those who purchased the game during the midnight release.
- Lancer Assault Rifle: New chainsaw animations have been added and a gold-plated version is available to those who purchased the collectors edition of the game.
- Longshot: A sniper rifle with extreme zoom capabilities and powerful shots. The power bonus from the active-reload has been removed therefore doing a perfect reload, unlike with the other weapons in the game, doesn't affect its damage in any way.
- Torque Bow: The Torque Bow is back with a vengeance. If the player manages to head shot an enemy, the arrow will pass through the first enemy, killing him in the process, and potentially stick to other enemies behind him.
- Frag Grenades: Can be stuck to surfaces to create an explosive proximity mine.
- Smoke Grenades: Explodes and may stun the player for 2-3 seconds. Can also be stuck to surfaces to produce proximity mines, pairing the different grenades together make for lethal combos(e.g. the Smoke and Ink grenades). NB: Since the update, smoke grenades no longer stun players, and is used to obscure field of vision with smoke.
- Boomshot: The grenade launcher now has an increased clip size. NB: After the update, the clip size is now reduced to two shots.
- Boltok Pistol: As in the original Gears of War, the Boltok is still the most powerful pistol in the game. An active reload allows for firing bullets in a much more rapid succession. Well placed shots may produce a headshot, taking the enemy's head clear off.
New weapons introduced in Gears of War 2:
- Mulcher: A chaingun that requires cooling after protracted use. It never needs to be reloaded, but may run out of ammunition. Can be fired from the hip or mounted on cover for more accuracy.
- Mortar Launcher: Long-range explosive weapon that explodes overhead and rains down cluster bombs. The distance can be adjusted before firing. The Mortar can also be blindfired to reach enemies under cover.
- Ink Grenade: Spews out a greenish-black haze that brings down everyone who stays in it for too long.
- The Scorcher: A flamethrower that gains increased range for the following shot if successfully active-reloaded.
- Gorgon Pistol: A very powerful pistol carried by certain Locust which fires in short bursts. The gun is strongest at close range.
- Boomshield: Can be deployed anywhere and used as cover, also combined with a pistol to use as a normal shield. Can be kicked down by opponents.
Gears of War 2's multiplayer offering has been greatly enhanced from the first - the player count has been increased to ten, the number multiplayer modes has been increased to seven, and ten of the fifteen maps in the game are new. The game also features a whole new party system, allowing the player to match up with friends quickly and easily using a matchmaking system. Bots may also appear in matches to fill empty player slots. Weapon spawning mechanics have also been modified, modifying the spawning of power weapons so that the Longshot and Torque Bow alternate between each round, as well as the Hammer of Dawn / Boomshot and the Ink / Frag grenades.
Co-op multiplayer is still limited to two players, but with individual co-op difficulties. For example, one player may play on casual, while another plays on hardcore, creating a "communal combat system". The game adapts to give a player at the casual level a challenge equivalent to the player on the hardcore difficulty. The player can maintain multiple save files that work with the drop in/drop out co-op features, and there is the addition of a fourth difficulty level below casual.
Note: November 16th, 2009, Epic introduced a tactical mode to accompany their triple XP weekend. This tactical mode is a modification that reduced each weapon's ammo count, whilst simultaneously increasing their damage. The tactical mode was deemed so successful that Epic chose to permanently adopt these settings to the general multiplayer experience. Although triple XP is no longer available, double XP is always on.
Fight to the death in a last team standing deathmatch where the sole purpose is to wipe out the other team. Once you're dead, you're out for the round.
Identical to Warzone, but with one key difference. You must defeat your enemy with explosives, kill them with a headshot or perform an 'execution' finishing move when they are down. Shooting them from range once they are downed will not result in a kill. If you leave your opponent down long enough without finishing them, they will be able to get back up and return to combat. As with Warzone, once you are dead, you are out for the round.
Guardian is a modified version of Assassination from the original game. Both teams start with a leader which they must protect and can only be finished by execution--however, as long as your leader is alive, your team can respawn. The leader is portrayed by Hoffman (COG) and by Skorge (Locust.) Should your leader be killed, you're down to your last life. The enemy leader's position also appears on the HUD, to prevent camping and hiding with the leader.
King of the Hill
In King of the Hill, players must try to hold one point for the entire match. Once a team gains control of a point, they will begin earning points and must hold it until the score limit is reached. To keep the point, one team member must stay inside the circle, or your team will stop earning points. If your teams currently holds the select point and you die, you are unable to respawn until your team looses the point.
Annex is a variation of King of the Hill where the hill moves to different points on the map after it has been held to a total of 60 seconds. Teams work to capture the "hill" until a set amount of time has elapsed--killing enemies accomplishes nothing except clearing the map of your enemy (who must then respawn). Capturing the hill involves staying in the hill uncontested for 5 seconds (or shorter if more of your team are in the hill). Once captured, you do not have to stay inside the hill area, but an enemy who gets inside the hill even for a split second "breaks" it, meaning you need to step back inside to automatically recapture it. To capture a controlled hill, an enemy teammate needs to stay inside the hill for a small amount of time till it's converted.
Players are split in five teams of two (2v2v2v2v2), Wingman is another last man standing mode but on a more personal level--you and your teammate share a character model. Players earn points for both killing enemies and for being the remaining squad on the battlefield. This mode is about sticking together, living together, and sometimes dying together.
Formally known as Meat Flag, Submission is a variation on the standard "One Flag" found in most games. An AI controlled character runs around the center of the map, defending himself until a team downs him. Once downed, he must be used as a meat shield and dragged back to your teams area. Enemy teams can take the "flag" off you once you have it by either killing you or damaging your meat-shield enough so that he breaks free and then turns on you. Once this happens, the AI character will begin to move back to his starting area. Respawns are on in this mode, but the more you die, the longer it takes for you to respawn.
In such a big multiplayer game it is common for there to be many glitches that are difficult to reproduce. Gears of War 2 has a history of a lot of them.
Sometimes in multiplayer games the lobby will show a player disconnected in the starting game screen, so the game loads in bots. On multiple occasions the game has loaded in bots into matches with a full 5 player team, making the balance a 5v6. This happens most commonly in Guardian mode and is very difficult to notice. The scoreboard will either not show 1 player or not show 1 bot. The only way to really notice this is to be a player on the team with 6 players and hold LB to show where every member of your squad is. This way you can count 5 other members of your team.
Another glitch which commonly occurs on Blood Drive is the colors for some players becoming very saturated. The colors not only become overly saturated but the amount of colors actually decreases. This will stay permanent until someone starts to hit LB. Each time you hit it the colors begin to fade back to normal. So this extremely rare glitch can be fixed by quickly spamming LB. This probably fixes it because when you press LB the screens colors go static (by design) so this probably reverts the colors back to normal.
On multiple maps, but mainly on Ruins, characters have been able to have two lancers at once. This happens when someone who has a regular lancer and a shotgun finds a golden Lancer on the ground. With the shotgun equipped there is a very rare chance that the game will let you drop the Gnasher for the Golden Lancer, thus two Lancers. This has not been known to work with the Hammerburst.
On Pavillion, at the location for the mortar, if a player stands a little bit past the outside of the gate once its lowered they can end up levitating in the air. This happens due to the fact that it looks like you are in the clear and the gate is unobstructed so it will raise up, but your characters collision detection is actually a bit wider than it looks so the gate actually rises and brings the character up with them. There is no real reliable way to get back down. Some people have been stuck up there until they get killed by the enemy, while others have been able to roll out of it.
Horde is the most novel mode in Gears of War 2. Horde features 50 levels, which can be played through by yourself or with up to four other players. Horde takes place on the fifteen multiplayer maps Gears 2 features, and it has the player fending off increasingly difficult waves of enemies. Enemy sets are in cycles that return every ten levels. Each ten levels, the stats of the enemies are also altered, so that their health, damage output and other stats will be doubled, tripled and so on. Horde mode also features a score system. Points are gained for killing enemies and having as many players survive until the end of the round as possible. All fallen players will be revived at the start of the next round, but if all players die at the same time, you'll lose your points, leaving you to start over from zero. If you've completed a level with a friend, that level will be opened up to you as well, so even if you only got to level 20, you can have level 40 unlocked as well, for instance. You can set the difficulty level, but even at Casual difficulty, Horde gets very difficult later on.
Gears of War 2 includes a total of 10 new multiplayer maps, plus a code to download five remastered maps from the original game. The new maps take inspiration from the locations in the campaign, whereas new environmental effects change some of the maps as you're playing. For example, Hail features razor-sharp rain that gradually kills anyone out in the open. Furthermore, Day One has a huge emergence hole in which a beast can take swipes at any surrounding players. Finally, Avalanche is completely transformed when a snowstorm hits, turning it from a multi-tiered level into one flat plane. These environmental effects aren't featured in every map and game mode, but do liven up standard deathmatch-style multiplayer game types such as Warzone when they appear.
Weapon alternations (e.g. Longshot/ Torque Bow) are described as they would appear when playing public matches. This means that one round, using the example stated; the Longshot will spawn on its designated point, and is replaced by the Torque Bow the next round. This is however not the case when playing custom setups, where the host can choose which weapons to include or MLG-matches that also have their own strict rules as to which weapons are to be implemented.
- River - A symmetrical map with a river running through it. The map includes Ink/ Frag grenades, Boltok/ Gorgon pistols and alternating Longshot/ Torque Bow. Below the bridge is the Boomshot, making for a contested area over who controls this power weapon.
- Security - This symmetrical map is filled with deadly security lasers, players may find two buttons on the map to turn these lasers off for 20 seconds. The map includes Ink/ Frag grenades and alternating Boltok/ Gorgon pistol in the middle. Inside is the Scorcher, guarded by lasers that need to turned off to access it.
- Day One - The fighting takes to the streets with a large emergence hole in the middle of the map where a Seeder emerges. Placed in one corner of the map is Hammer of Dawn/ Mortar, and in the other Longshot/ Torque Bow. Boltok/ Gorgon pistol is placed on opposite ends and the Boomshield if found in the "Casino".
- Avalanche - A Map in which an Avalanche periodically (and randomly) sweeps across the map. Anybody in the path of this avalanche will be killed. Weapons found include Ink/ Frag grenades in the middle, Mortar/ Mulcher on the top end of the map as well as a Boomshield. After the avalanche sweep, the Boomshot/ Torque Bow becomes available in the middle of the map.
- Blood Drive - Fight in the hospital that collects donated blood for the COG cause. A symmetrical map with Ink/ Frag grenades on each side. Descending the stairs is the Longshot/ Torque Bow, making for another contested hot zone. In the other end of the map is the Scorcher.
- Hail - This map features Razor Hail, deadly sharp ice shards which can kill the player if exposed to it for too long. In the middle train cart and on top the Longshot and Torque Bow alternate between rounds. In the top middle of the map is the Boomshot/ Mulcher, and near each spawn are Ink/ Frag grenades.
- Jacinto - Go through the final safe heaven for the Human race that is currently still evacuating refugees and cogs. A huge symmetrical map that features all weapons, except the Scorcher. Each team has a tower with Ink/ Frag grenades, and below is the Boltok Pistol. At the far side of the map is the Hammer of Dawn/ Boomshot, and on the other end is the Mortar. Overlooking the Mortar is the Longshot/ Torque Bow.
- Pavilion - An average civilian square that has been turned into a battlefield due to the Locust invasion. This map has Ink/ Frag grenades immediately in front of each team's spawning point. Outside in the pavilion is the Mulcher, and in the low end is the Mortar which can be released by pressing a button. The Boomshield and the Boltoks are found on the other far end of the map.
- Ruins - Take the fight back in to the Hollow in this immulsion ridden battleground. Each side has Frag Grenades/ Boomshield spawn, a Boltok/ Gorgon pistol and a Longshot/ Torque Bow spot. Through the map is a bridge linking both sides of the map together, and on top here is the Scorcher.
- Stasis - Battle in the old security center of the abandoned COG research center. Ink/ Frag grenades are found as the teams descend the stairs from their spawn. In the middle below is the Longshot/ Torque Bow, and on top is the Boomshot/ Mulcher. On the sides is the Boltok/ Gorgon pistol.
Flashback Map Pack - Downloadable Content
- Gridlock - The original map is being taken back by nature as moss grows over buildings and the like, battle through the once city landscape as it rusts and decays. In the middle tower is the Longshot/ Torque Bow, overlooking the Ink grenade/ Boomshield. The most contested power weapon tends to be the Boomshot, placed under an arch.
- Canals - The waters that once ran through these canals are now frozen, and the bridges built around them are slowly succumbing to the icy cold. Placed in each end is the Longshot from some cross map sniper battles. Rushing the middle bridge makes for some bloody battles over who controls the Torque Bow/ Boomshot underneath the bridge, and the Ink/ Frag grenades on top of it.
- Mansion - Another map that has become overgrown with plant life, it now also features a daylight setting rather than the dark and rainy night of the original map. Teams can rush outside area to fight over the Boomshot and Ink/ Frag grenades or go inside the mansion to pick up the Longshot/ Torque Bow.
- Tyro Station - Tyro Station has also been given a daylight setting, the original map featured an orange tint to its lighting. When played in Horde mode, the usual train that passes by is removed completely. On the track itself is the Hammer of Dawn, making for a potentially deadly pick up if not timed correctly. Each walkway overlooking the track has the Longshot/ Torque Bow and in a room underneath the track are the Ink/ Frag grenades.
- Subway - The subway is now even more decrepit than it once was, trains ever still. The only destination those waiting on the platform shall receive, is a bloody grave. Close to one of the spawning points is the Longshot/ Torque Bow, overlooking the inside of the subway station where the Scorcher, Ink/ Frag grenades and the Torque Bow/ Mulcher are found.
These maps are remakes of maps from the original Gears of War. Every non-used copy of Gears of War 2 purchased has a unique 25-digit token inside the case, this token can be redeemed to download this map pack, free of charge. These remade maps have received graphical touch-ups, they are nearly structurally identical to the original maps with few environmental changes. Originally, the Flashback Map Pack was only available when buying a new version of the game, but the Map Pack is now on sale for 400 Microsoft Points ($5.00 USD)
Combustible Map Pack - Downloadable Content
- Flood - Immulsion slowly engulfs the playing field, players are forced to push inwards towards the center of the map. If they do not, they will most likely be killed by the Imulsion. The middle grounds of this map has the Longshot/ Torque Bow and the Hammer of Dawn/ Mortar. Scattered around the middle are the Ink/ Frag grenades and the Boltok/ Gorgon pistol.
- Gold Rush - This old Imulsion refinery has now been turned in to an intense battlefield with weapons galore to be found around the maps many tiers. This tiered map features a Boomshot/ Mortar and Ink/ Frag grenades on the bottom level, and the Longshot/ Torque Bow and Boltok/ Gorgon pistol on top.
- Fuel Station - An old abandoned fuel station with two explosive gasoline trucks that can be shot by players to cause havoc to the enemy team. On top of the fuel station itself is the Scorcher, and just outside of it the Mulcher. Next to one of the explosive trucks are the Ink/ Frag grenades and on one end of the map, the Mortar.
The Combustible Map Pack retails for 800 Microsoft Points ($10.00 USD).
Snowblind Map Pack - Downloadable Content
Epic announced four brand new multiplayer maps for Gears of War 2 on March 13, 2009. They are:
- Grindyard - An industrial map with many walkways players can use to observe the battlefield, it has a long rectangular shape. In the middle building is the Boomshot/ Mulcher, and just outside of it the Ink/ Frag grenades. In the middle of the walkway the Scorcher is placed and close to each spawning points is the Boltok/ Gorgon pistol.
- Under Hill - A garage area set next to an enclosed highway bridge, players can come in and out of the garage as they please. The mortar is very useful at the top of the bridge, being able to pick your targets from a fair distance. In the middle of the map is also the Longshot/ Torque Bow, whilst on each side of the map are the Ink/ Frag grenades. Inside the garage is the Schorcher, the Boomshield and the Boltok/ Gorgon pistol.
- Courtyard - A large map set in a Courtyard, there is a tall vantage point which can be accessed via a set of stairs for Longshot Rifle users. There is also plenty of low cover that can be used for those below this vantage point. The Longshot alternates with the Mortar on top, and just below the stairs is the Boltok/ Gorgon pistol. Underneath the stairs are the Ink/ Frag grenades and on the other side of the map, right next to a statue is the Boomshot/ Torque Bow.
- Fuel Depot - This map is a remake of one of the more popular maps from the original Gears of War, to fall in with the "Snowblind" name, the map has been given an icy makeover. As in the original the Longshot is found inside a truck on both sides of the map, it however alternates with the Torque Bow in Gears of War 2. Ink/ Frag grenades are found close to these trucks, and inside the main depot is the Hammer of Dawn/ Mortar. Leading out of this hangar is the Boltok/ Gorgon pistol.
The Snowblind Maps were released a week after the third Title Update.
Dark Corners Map Pack - Downloadable Content
- Allfathers Garden: Don’t get caught up in the beauty - the sacred grounds of the Coalition founders can be a tremendously deadly place. Powerful weapons catalyze fast and furious action at this COG landmark. Each side has the Longshot readily available for some sniper on sniper combat. In the middle of the map is the Scorcher and the Boomshot/ Torque Bow. Ink/ Frag grenades are also found between the Longshot spawning points.
- Memorial: It’s all about the heavy weaponry in Memorial, set near the Eternal Flame at the Tomb of the Unknowns. Take a moment to remember your fallen comrades before using your flanking and evasive skills to take control of the Boomshot and the battle. Overlooking the Boomshot is the Longshot/ Torque Bow, whilst the sidewalks contain Boltok pistols. Outside in the courtyard players fight over the Hammer of Dawn/ Mortar, and the Ink/ Frag grenades.
- Sanctuary: Tight paths, blind corners, and an arsenal of weapons—the Locust-ravaged temple in Sanctuary is no longer the haven of reflection and remembrance it once was. Teams fight over the Boomshot/ Mulcher that is found on the side of the map. Also included is the Longshot/ Torque Bow in the middle of the map, Ink/ Frag grenades on the side of it and Boltok pistols
- War Machine: In this abandoned train station, players need to master the Longshot, Mulcher, and Boomshot to advance the fight while evading fire from the platforms above. This is also a remake of a map found in the original Gears of War. The map also has Ink/ Frag grenades to help out in retrieving the power weapons.
- Highway: Take the fight deep into the Locust Hollow in the complex passages of this underground highway system. Stick together, separate the enemy, and have an exit strategy ready, or it’ll be a one-way trip. Each side has a tower where the Longshot/ Torque Bow is found, and in the middle are the Ink/ Frag grenades as well as the Boomshot/ Mulcher. On top is the Mortar, overlooking the center of the map.
- Way Station: In the limbo between death and “processing,” you'll find Locust way stations like this one, filled with COG soldiers. Tread lightly and practice patience—it’s best to sacrifice firepower for stealth while navigating this minefield of hidden grenades. This map also has a bridge in the middle that links both sides of the map together, players must however press a button to use it. Inside is the Longshot/ Torque Bow and on top is the Scorcher. Close to each teams spawning points are also the Ink/ Frag grenades.
- Nowhere: Set in the middle of the desert, Nowhere is exactly how it sounds: barren and devoid of life. The open air and long lines of sight prove useful for Longshot devotees, but expect some fierce, close combat in the stairwell. Smack in the middle are the Ink/ Frag grenades, and on top of a building overlooking the center is the Mulcher/ Mortar. Inside two smaller buildings you can find the Boltok pistol.
Beyond the default characters in MP, there are additional playable characters in that are unlocked as you achieve certain milestones within the campaign:
Dizzy: Unlock by completing Act 1 on any difficulty
Kantus: Unlock by completing Act 2 on any difficulty
Tai: Unlock by completing Act 3 on any difficulty
Flame Grenadier: Unlock by completing Act 4 on any difficulty
Skorge: Unlock by completing Act 5 on any difficulty
Additionally, you can unlock the following characters by playing the original Gears of War and unlocking the associated achievements:
Anthony Carmine: Unlock by completing Act 1 on any difficulty.
Minh Young Kim: Find 10 COG tags.
RAAM: Unlock by completing Act 5 on any difficulty.
There are also golden versions of the two main assault rifles in the game; the Lancer and the Hammerburst. The Lancer is included with every Collector's Edition, and the Hammerburst was only available to those who purchased the game at midnight on its release.
Title Update 3
While the first two title updates focused on improving matchmaking and fixing glitches. The third update, made available on March 24, 2009 introduces a new ranking system. Players now gain experience after each match to make it through the 100 levels. You lose 1500 experience for quitting a match. These points are taken away after the player's next completed match. Each game type gives different amounts of experience. Game types with many respawns such as Annex or King of the Hill give players experience equal to about a quarter of the amount of points that they get. Warzone, for example has a 1:1 points to experience ratio. Horde mode would not grant any experience points until a later update. There are also achievements for reaching levels 5, 15, 25, 50, and 100. The last two are only available to those who have purchased the Snowblind Map Pack.
Other changes made by title update include:
- Adding bots to replace players that have quit a match.
- Saves Horde mode high scores after each wave.
- Adds a delay between roadie running and melee attacks to prevent a tactic commonly known as two-piecing.
- There are now only two modes per playlist.
Gears of War 2: Limited Collector's Edition Limited Edition As with the original Gears of War, Epic is releasing a Limited Edition version of Gears 2. This Limited Edition, while naturally costing more than its standard counterpart, is packed full of Gears goodies. These goodies include: A collectible Steel Book DVD case A 48-page hardback book named "Beneath The Surface: An Inside Look at Gears of War 2." A bonus DVD containing making-of footage and interviews with the Gears of War development team. A special, gold-plated Lancer which can only be used when playing Gears of War 2 multiplayer online. A Dominic and Maria Santiago keepsake photo. Hardcore Edition UK Hardcore Edition with gold-plated Lancer Gears of War 2 will also be available in a limited "Hardcore Edition." This edition of the game is available at Amazon.com exclusively in the United States and comes with a full-size replica of the Lancer assault rifle for $139.99. This will come with a normal edition of the game, however, so anyone wanting the Limited Edition goodies will have to pay extra for it. In the UK there will be 5,000 copies of the Hardcore Edition available at Gamestation retailers. This will come with the Limited Edition version of the game and a world-exclusive, gold-plated replica of the infamous Lancer for £129.99; was only available through pre-order. The gold-plated Lancer is only available from Gamestation in the UK. It is thought to be gold to clearly indicate that this is not a real weapon, subject to new laws passed.
Game Of The Year Edition
Epic announced a Gears of War 2 Game Of The Year edition in late August and it was slated for a September 1st release. It includes the content of the All Fronts package along with the retail version of the game for $40 in the United States.
The All Fronts Collection
Epic originally intended to release a retail version of Dark Corners DLC, which would also include all of the previously released downloadable content, entitled "Gears of War 2 All Fronts Collection" for $20 / £15 / €20 . It was meant to be available for a limited time. However, Epic has since announced that there will now be no retail version. Instead it will be obtainable only through the Xbox Live Marketplace. Epic has also stated that the people who already bought the previous map packs can buy the Dark Corners DLC and all new 7 maps for 1200 Microsoft Points or $15. Those who still want to be up to date with all new DLC and previous map packs can still buy The All Fronts Collection for 1600 Microsoft Points.
All Fronts Collection contents:
- The brand new DARK CORNERS DLC that releases the same day. This includes all 7 new maps and the Single Player content available in the download.
- The previously released Flashback , Snowblind and Combustible map packs
- A premium Xbox 360 Gears of War 2 Dashboard Theme
The maps and premium theme are downloaded via a code on a card in the box. It should be noted that via the Epic forums, Rod Fergusson confirmed that the maps will be one download (so one code, not a code for each map pack), but you can delete your old map downloads to save space once you have downloaded with your All Fronts map pack code.
- Return of the Omen
- Hope Runs Deep
- Green As Grass
- Finally, A Lead
- Armored Prayer
- Hold Them Off
- Derrick Chase
- Building Thunder
- Hell Breaks Loose
- Racing To Extinction
- If They Can Ride 'Em
- Unexpected Changes
- March of the Horde
- Denizens of the Deep
- With Sympathy
- Insurmountable Odds
- Bump in the Night
- Autumn of Mankind
Xbox 360 Game Installation
Gears of War 2 requires 6.3GB of space to install on an Xbox 360 HDD.