How a sequel should be done.
Think back to the first Gears of War. Awesome graphics, fluid and easy, yet very tactical controls, as well as big dudes with big weapons splattering blood all over the place. Well guess what, it's all back for round 2, and it's all improved. The visuals of Gears 2 are stunning, with extremely detailed environments and characters, and epic battle scenes that really suck you in. The controls are all familiar, and still work, and new gameplay options add more tactical decisions to be made. And yes, there are still big dudes with big weapons, and all new ways for you to paint the town red.
Of course, the plot and writing is not something that can be ignored either. Where most shooters are content to creating characters for the purpose of being action heroes with no personality, the Gears of War games have very good writing in both dialogue and plot. The characters are fully believable as individuals, and while they may be rough around the edges, you really get a sense of their feelings and emotion.
But of course, gameplay is the real source of discussion here. Gears of War 2 takes everything that worked well from it's predecessor and made it better, while adding a lot of new things that work equally well. New weapons, including the addition of heavy weapons, as well as new tactical choices, such as shields, swithc-operated cover, and using downed enemies as meat shields, all add to what was already a goldmine of superb gameplay options. The multiplayer is back too, of course, and all the things that make the single player good also lend themselves to the multiplayer. But Epic Games even went one step further, adding new multiplayer game types, including a cooperative game type called Horde where up to 5 players fend on wave after wave of ridiculous enemies.
In the end, there are too many good things about Gears of War 2 to go into any detail in a review, but suffice to say, if you like shooters at all, then you will find something to like about this game.