Gears of War 2: Dark Corners is the first proper expansion of Gears of War 2, as it contains more than just a bunch of new multiplayer maps. This time, we are treated to deleted scenes from the original adventure called "Road to Ruin". It's a one hour chapter where you get to either shoot like never before or try to reach Nexus (it takes place just after Dom's meeting with Maria) using your wits. Since we've all shot our way through the main game, the second alternative was far more appealing to me.
It transforms Gears of War 2 into Stealth of War and puts Marcus and Dom inside Locust armour to sneak in behind enemy lines. And although I can see why the producer Cliff Bleszinski felt it didn't really fit in to the adventure, it's still good fun. The catch is that the enemy can smell you, even when they cannot see you. Therefore, you have to move constantly and avoid getting close to any Locusts.
It actually feels a little bit like a good ol' 8-bit game when I carefully sneak forward and struggle to memorize exactly how the enemies are moving. It's a huge advantage to know their movement pattern so you can advance safely. As soon you get discovered, a huge gunfight takes place. Since there are enemies everywhere, the odds for survival aren't all that good. It feels like Epic want you to die, so you can play the level as it was meant to be, stealth stylee.
Of course, Gears of War wouldn't be Gears of War if there wasn't some shooting involved. And in the end of a level, hell breaks loose with a huge gunfight with a lot of extremely strong enemies. I played the level on the "insane difficulty" which was a good idea. The stealth had just about the right challenge and the shoot out turned out to be one of the best in the series so far. And that's saying a lot considering both games are filled with those moments.
Gears of War 2 is still as good looking as always in Road to Ruin. You can't help admire your surroundings as you sneak around the unsuspecting members of the horde. The amount of details is just amazing. And the dialogue between Marcus and Dom rocks as always. Maybe it just didn't fit into the real adventure and it is a little bit unpolished, but to play it as a deleted scene is really cool and I hope more developers follow this example and let us see thing that weren't meant to reach the public eye as downloadable content or perhaps collector's edition bonus material.
Beside Road to Ruin, Gears of War 2: Dark Corners also has seven new multiplayer maps and quite a few new achievements to catch. Even though the whole package is hefty 1200 Microsoft points, it still doesn't feel like a rip off. If you are still playing Gears of War 2 or if you are looking for an excuse to start playing again, Dark Corners is just the right thing for you.
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