WorthPlaying: "Visually, Gears of War 2 is certainly a step up. Everything you see is sharper, grimier and more detailed, with the cityscapes and vehicles benefitting the most. Creature design continues along the same lines, though we do get to see new Locusts as well as interact with enemies that were more or less teasers in the first. Aurally, Gears of War 2 is also up to task, with excellent environmental sound effects and voice acting that tops the first. The star of the show is Lester Speight, who serves as the voice of Augustus "Cole Train" Cole. A former football player, Cole is packed with attitude and runs his mouth as often as he fires his gun. Needless to say, the vast majority of Cole's lines had us rolling with laughter.
With the polished controls, fighting through Gears of War 2 is like listening to a symphony of violence. Movement is tight and crisp. Popping in and out of cover is a lot more responsive this time through. Enemies react intelligently to your advances. You'll find them taking cover as well as using flanking tactics when appropriate. The AI is by no means perfect, but it does an excellent job of being challenging rather than simply being hard. This is a key point of differentiation that really stands out on the higher difficultly levels. Playing through the entire single-player experience on hardcore took us about 17 hours. While there were plenty of deaths mixed in there, the vast majority of them felt like honest mistakes. There was never a sense of, "Hey, the game is cheating."