Gears of War 2 takes the formula established by the original and polishes it to great effect. Everything from the pacing of the campaign, tuned difficulty, added weapons and enemies, and slew of multiplayer options demonstrates mastery in design that all action games aspire, yet precious few achieve. Not everything is rosy--chalk the poor story and lame characters as being yet another victim of cheesy game writing. That's excusable, though. What you get for putting up with the one-liners and cowboy hats is one hell of a ride.