Gears of War 2 is a much better game than the original in every way. It's longer, the story's slightly above mediocre, the graphics are better, and the environments have great variety.
Gears of War 2 picks up right where the first one left off. You (Marcus) and Dom set off the light mass bomb (I think that's what it's called), and make it out crippling the Locust army in the process. However, they strike back with a weapon of their own that sinks an entire city (don't want to spoil it even though the game came out 2008). So it's up to you (Marcus for the last time) and Dom to figure out what's going on and how the Locust are sinking the cities and find Dom's wife in the process.
That's the story now to the gameplay. Gears 2 plays pretty much like Gears 1 with enhancements meaning it's still as fun as ever. The gore factor is higher, and the weapons feel as powerful as ever. The game looks amazing, although it still plays it safe with a mute color pallet with a sprinkle of color every now and then. Gears 2 takes everything into full throttle as you encounter wave after wave of Locust with little to no rest. The AI is as good as ever and they will duck run and roll to cover and try to flank you as often as they can (especially on harder difficulties). Gears 2 has also set the player up for set pieces that are give and take (boss fights aren't as wowing as they were in the first game), but overall the single player experience is much better than the first game. One thing I'm thankful for is that they kept the co-op through the entire single player campaign. More games need to do this, because I fell developers are starting to forget that gamers like to play games with their friends in reality as well as online.
Online is pretty much the same deal with enhancements. The online features 5 vs 5 battles with more maps, and 3 variations of standard online match types. Guardian is basically Assassination from the first game. You search for and kill the target on the opposing team, in order to win, however, the opposing team can still fight when the target is killed they just can't respond anymore. Wingman sets up 5 groups of 2 an you and your partner duke it out with the other groups. Finally Submission, which is basically capture the flag or in this case capture the enemy and bring them back to the checkpoint. All of this is fine, but where multiplayer really shines is Horde mode. Horde mode puts you and a team or 4 other Gears on a map where you must fend off wave after wave of Locust all the way up to level 50, and trust me it gets hard VERY HARD. You have to work together as a team or you won't make it, and being all for co-op this mode easily gained most of my time playing Gears 2.
Overall Gears 2 is a very solid game with an amazing online mode. While the dialog is still mindless, it doesn't take away from the fact that there's actually something to enjoy about the story and characters this time around other than killing hundreds of Locust. Epic hyped how you could ride enemies, but I must say the segments weren't as mind blowing as they made it. Gears of War 2 is one of the best games on the Xbox 360, and while not as Epic (get it :) as other games out there, I must amend Epic for making it Bigger, Better, and more [email protected]$$ than the first game.