By Nathan Meunier
Beyond Brumaks, why not introduce some even bigger, nastier creatures at regular intervals? The smaller-scale (and damn near indestructible) mini-boss Berserkers were a force to reckon with and a few larger boss battles were excellent in the first game, but Epic will have to pull out the big guns in Gears of War 2 to top their initial efforts and make up for the current glaring lack of Brumak slaying on the Xbox 360.
3. Immense Locust Assaults:
Many of the battles in Gears of War against the Locust Horde consist of series of firefights against groups of five or six soldiers at a time. For the most part, these encounters are well-paced, and they're often stacked to make the encounters feel bigger than they really are as additional waves of soldiers move in on a player's position. In a recent tech demo featuring updates and improvements to the Unreal 3 engine, Epic showed off a screen featuring 100 Locusts parading through a Gears of War environment smoothly in real-time using clocking technologies.
Undoubtedly, we'll see this implemented in Gears of War 2 in some fashion. This is an invasion after all, and we'd like to see encounters ramped-up to the point where players are practically overwhelmed with screens full of Locust soldiers. This could be implemented in a number of different ways. We'd love to see large-scale vehicle levels where players get to run down and blast away throngs of Locusts. Hell, even tacking on extra enemy soldiers in the background of a firefight to make the action feel bigger would be an improvement. In the latter event, the attack sequence A.I. of these extra units could kick in as the Locust soldiers in the immediate vicinity of Marcus Fenix are taken out. The improvements seen in the tech demo are certainly encouraging, and we expect they'll greatly improve combat situations in the sequel.
2. More Firepower, Cooler Weapons:
Overall, the weapon variety in Gears of War is made up of fairly standard fare equipment with both human and Locust variations. There are a few light pistols, some mid-range automatic and semi-auto assault rifles, a shotgun, a basic sniper rifle, bolo grenades, and some high-caliber explosives launchers. There are a few unique exceptions: the gruesome chainsaw bayonet on the Lancer is pretty slick (we'll get to that next); the Hammer of Dawn is adequately destructive, but it's often useless; the Torque Bow is explosively fun; and the cool UV Turret utilizes light to vaporize deadly Kryll. The staple weapon sets do the trick adequately, but some added variety on the armament front would be a welcome addition in Gears of War 2. A few vehicles wouldn't hurt either.