Ahh, the original Gears trilogy - one of our absolute favourite collections in the Xbox library. We had so much fun on these games back in the day, and this week, the second game in the series celebrated a rather substantial birthday. Gears of War 2 is now 15 years of age, and it was a pretty influential game for its time, looking back.
Take Horde mode for instance. This was the first time a wave-based PvE mode was added to the Gears series - and it was also a pretty novel thing for the genre generally. Now, this sort of game mode is an absolute mainstay, not only in Gears but for plenty of other first and third person shooters in the AAA space.
In fact, for our money Gears 2's Horde is still one of the best variants of the mode. It's this writer's favourite version in the entire Gears saga, and it's also up there with the likes of Halo: Reach Firefight, Call of Duty: Black Ops Zombies and so on. Gears 2 kept things simple but managed to maintain a satisfying gameplay loop in Horde mode - we still return to it every now and then to this day!
Part of that is because man, Gears 2 looks awesome on Xbox Series X. You get full 4K / 60FPS with this second game in the series, and it's a real glow up on current-gen compared to the game running on Xbox 360. This impressive setup also extends to the game's bombastic single-player campaign, which took things in a much-more cinematic direction than the first game. These sections of Gears 2 are well worth returning to, and remember, the title is of course on Xbox Game Pass if you don't have an old disc copy lying around.
Unfortunately, multiplayer is basically dead these days - you'll have to move up to Gears of War 3 to have much chance at finding regular players online. Still, the campaign and particularly Horde mode stand up to scrutiny in 2023 - and generally speaking, Gears of War 2 has aged very well during its 15 years on Xbox.