In this months issue of OXM, they have put in an article about their time with Act 1 of Gears of War 2. When control is handed over to Marcus Fenix, its clear that neither he nor trusted sidekick and fellow Delta squad member Dominic Santiago has had much rest. But, it would seem from their attitudes that neither of them seems to mind. The games 1st playable event is to introduce you to Private Ben Carmine – yes, the brother of the first Gears’ Carmine, and on of four siblings in the COG, a la Saving Private Ryan - and your asked if you want to show the new kid the ropes. It’s a clever way of implementing a training mode. Newbies can take part in it while Gears veterans can pass – though they’d be missing out on the first collectible, a 10-point achievement, and several funny exchanges between the green and Delta and the veterans. Following the optional training, Act 1 is formally under way. With reports of Locust at a nearby hospital, Anya relays orders to Delta to sweep it and investigate it. Your immediately introduced to a new Delta recruit: Tai, that Marcus describes in one scene as “hard to kill”. A few firefights later- one of which includes the acquisition of the new Hammerburst assault rifle, a sawless death-dealer that we’ve discussed in previous issues. The power cuts and the Locust storm in under the glow of the hospital lobby’s crimson red emergency lights. Assuming you take them down, Tai utters “I like the look of Locust blood in this light,” to which Dom retorts “You’ve got a sick mind, Tai.” Outside the hospital, both gameplay and story begin to get serious. Anya gives Dom a status update on his wife, Maria; a plot left unattended to in the first game, the search for her will be a focal point this time around. Anya regretfully informs Dom that intel has lost her position. In a fit of rage, Dom uses his lancer as a club and beats on a nearby car. Sympathizing with his pain and frustration, Marcus gives him a minute before Delta boards the extraction helicopters back to the base. Trigger the next big cutscene, a meeting at the COG HQ where military director. Chairman Prescott, gives a rousing speech about how humanity go on and take fight to the Locust. So you ride out toward the adjacent-to-Jacinto town of Landown aboard “Betty,” a giant armored transport/truck. It’s driven by Dizzy. (the next part in the article is basically the video we have seen with all of the Brumaks and derricks so im just skip to the next paragraph). Once you reach the snowy town of Landown, you need to clear the way for Dizzy to bring Betty through, little by little. Youll get your first taste of tickers here as well as another appearance (in voice only) by Cole, who rides to rescue you in a junker when you get pinned down in front of an imulsion station before regrouping with his squad. To reach the center of town, you’ll have to traverse a pitch-black tunnel. Fortunately, Dizzy’s Derrick has floodlights: “Lemme light up Betty’s t*****s!” he says a little to excitedly. After another wave of tickers and grunts, the end of the tunnel is blocked by a Reaver! Taking aim at the drivers, we brought it down pretty quickly. The tunnels exit cues Gears 2’s first path choice: take the rooftops or cut through a hotel. We opted for the latter, taming more tickers before getting to a roof and discovering one of the sequals most joy-enducing new weapons: a mortar cannon. After holding LT to plant the massive launcher on the ground, you then use the right stick to aim higher or lower, then hold RT to dictate the distance you want the mortar fire to go. After spending a few seconds in the air, the pain rained down on the bad guys on the opposite rooftop before another Brumak emerged from the tunnel and got to DFA (Death from above) it, too! Yes! Proceeding through town, your Derrick is attacked and stopped at the Landown graveyard, where you’ll have to fend off a wave of Locust mortar-firing soldiers, Boomers, and another pair of Reavers. To continue the fight, Marcus and Dom load into the Derricks Grindlifts. Trouble strikes as they can only watch from their sealed lift as a new foe- Skorge, a Predator-like Locust with a giant double-chainsawed bo-staff- leaps in form nowhere and attacks Dizzy. He’s the leader of the Kantus, and he wont go down easily. “RAAM with a sledgehammer” Bleszinski told us. “This guy is a scalpel.” So does Dizzy make it? Where are Carmine, Tai, Cole, and Baird? We’ll have to wait to find out, as that’s where Act 1 ended and our questions began.