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Gears of War 2: More guts, more emotion

Now, the Locust are producing city-sized emergence holes, and perhaps not surprisingly, the world is somewhat miffed about it

Gears of War 2 just sold 2 million copies in its opening weekend, a figure made more impressive by the fact that it's exclusive to Xbox 360. Having just completed it, I can almost guarantee every one of those 2 million copies are now living in happy homes.

Gears 2 continues the storyline from where you left off, with just six months having passed since you defeated Raam and nuked the Locust's underground complex with the Lightmass bomb. Now, the Locust are producing city-sized emergence holes, and perhaps not surprisingly, the world is somewhat miffed about it.


The triumphant return of Marcus Fenix

Enter you. It's time to annihilate an even more massive Locust threat than before, using a radical new arsenal of weapons -- including the soon-to-be-historic Mulcher. It's a more detailed, engaging and dynamic environment than the first title even came close to delivering, as unthinkable as that sounds.


It's raining bombs! Hallelujah! It's raining bombs! Amen!

Controlling Marcus, your weapons and vehicles are largely unchanged, but certain new weapons require new skills. There's a great new weapon for raining bombs on a large area of enemies, and you get to ride a Locust Brumak, crushing hundreds of the ugly mothers on the way. Epic to say the least.


Enemies can be torched with a powerful flamethrower

Perhaps the most notable difference from the first title, aside from radically improved graphics -- particularly when you look at lighting and shadows -- is the emphasis placed on character development and story, most notably with Dom. Without ruining his storyline, there's one moment that could almost be described as moving, which is unexpected in such a gung-ho action game.


Emotion and drama plays a surprising role in Gears 2

Overall this is one of the finest shooters on the Xbox, with oodles of depth, miles of intestines and a much longer campaign. And new multiplayer modes and offline battles against local bots add icing to an already delicious cake. It's sure to be this season's killer app, and the best £40 you can spend right now.