I was stuck for what to title this article. A couple of options I ran through were:
“Gears of War II is what GeoW should have been.”
” ‘Gears of War 1.5′, not ‘Gears of War 2′ ”
A tech demo is defined by wikipedia (who else?) as being:
“a prototype, rough example or an otherwise incomplete version of a product, put together with the primary purpose of showcasing the idea, performance, method or the features of the product.”
The original Gears of War was lacking several major features listed in the INX Gaming Manifesto, most noticeably a lack of an offline Instant Action game mode. It also lacked flexibility: there was no skirmish mode, there were in total only 14 enemy types (including Raam and set pieces such as Corpsers, Reavers, Nemacysts, Seeders and Kryll, which don’t really count). It also lacked a fleshed out story line, and balanced multiplayer. But that was a different “article” (rant).
There was no good reason not to include a “horde” mode in GeoW, even a stripped down one would be better than none, although I realise that optimisations to the UT3 engine made it easier to do the way it was done in GeoW2. There was no good reason not to allow us to do multiplayer skirmishes offline. Gears of War 2 doesn’t feel like the sequel to Gears of War, it feels like the game it should have been. Gears of War acts as a tech demo, a sample of the potential that a Gears of War game could have, and Gears of War 2 feels like the game it should have been.
Where were the chainsaw duels in GeoW 1? Where was the horde mode? Where was the variety of scenarios in the story mode that GeoW 2 produced? And above all, where was the flamethrower?