Last week I got hands on with Act One of Gears of War 2 at Microsoft HQ. Want to know what I think? Yeah, c'mon!
In general terms, there is a solid intensity from the outset to the gameplay. You get a few minutes worth of breathing space to get your groove back before things ramp up very quickly and skills get tested. Act One runs at a pretty fast pace, with a good mix of locations and scenarios to contend with. There's even a horror-style tunnel sequence that plays to one Delta Squad weakness -- no flashlight! "I'd rather have an extra gun than carry a light" is the response... you know, because gun-mounted light technology got left behind on Earth.
There's also some more personal storyline in the mix. It may ring a bit melodramatic for some, but it isn't too obtrusive if you just want to bring the pain. And for those eager to get a little more involved with the life and times of Delta Squad, this certainly adds more emotional weight.
Jump for some more thoughts, plus some mildly spoileriffic images. One features a total fucking bad ass you will meet before the end of Act One.What does come across well in the tonal shift is that this mission matters. Cut scenes are used nicely to drive the epic narrative. You're heading out to take the fight to the Locust this time, because humanity has discovered the Locust now has the potential to create the mother of all e-holes. So humanity needs to win on the offensive and fast. Where we left the game was just as we tunnel deep down into Locust territory, Fenix now ready to go kick some butt on the opposition's home ground.
Great battle sequence (though very much on rails) as you ride shotgun through fields of big nasties very early in the piece. Gets the vibe pumping right from the get.
This guy slices a tank with that blade thing and looks like a real BMF. We just got a taste of this guy in a cut scene before the end of Act One, so no mano et mano yet. Look forward to 'exchanging words' with him later in the game.