Source: http://www.joystiq.com/2008/10/17/jo...2s-horde-mode/Gears of War 2, that distinction goes to the Horde mode.
We originally met up with staff from Epic and Microsoft (along with a couple dozen other journos) to get utterly neck-deep in the game's multiplayer modes. That quickly turned to mode, singular, as shouts of "Horde!" echoed in response to our hosts' request for a game type to kick things off with. After only a couple of rounds, we could tell where all that enthusiasm came from.
Horde is a mode that can be played on any of the game's multiplayer maps. What sets it apart from everything else Gears 2 has to offer in terms of cooperative or competitive play – or most multiplayer you've experience, for that matter – is the basic concept of facing wave after wave of progressively more brutal enemies as a team.
The basic rule is survival. Horde consists of 50 attack waves broken down into five sets of 10. With each new "tier," the enemies become stronger, tougher, and deadlier. We teamed up with four other players to face off against the Locust in "Blood Drive," a map based on the campaign mode's hospital environment. It was our first time in, and we were among veterans. When the match started, we ran around like (almost) total noobs, wondering where the enemies were. Oh, they were coming.
Each match starts out with a brief lull wherein players can pick up spawned-in weapons and ammo before high-tailing it back to the location the team's chosen to defend. Again, it's not about progression; it's about doing everything possible to stay alive (and being quick to revive your fallen squad mates).
One basic tactic we found was sticking grenades (regular, incendiary, poisonous) around any paths leading into the control point. In our situation, we were defending a room with only two entrances – the fewer, the better. Once the Horde begins its onslaught, the strategy turns to focusing fire on the most dangerous enemies first. If you run out of ammo, that's it – only the truly brave (or stupid) venture beyond the control point to grab extra rounds.
As the waves progressed, we started seeing bigger, nastier enemies. Our tactics changed to accommodate them. One very crucial part of our team's strategy in later waves involved grabbing shields from downed Locust and planting them at the entrances to our control point.
In our time playing, we witnessed many a last-ditch effort to survive while an on-screen indicator ticked away, letting us know how close the wave was to ending. There were also many heroic moments, since only one member of the team needs to be alive to win the wave. Squad members can be heard even when they're dead, so there was plenty of cheering on of the "sole survivor" up against crazy odds.
It's easy to see playing just one map in Horde mode for days with friends, trying to finish off level 50. Those with a serious goal of doing so will want to steer clear of public games, though, since they always start from wave one. Private games have checkpoints after each wave, with the option to restart where you left off next time. The only rub there is that you'll have lost any shields, planted grenades, etc. you would have put in place earlier.
Given that there's also a team and personal point-scoring element to all of this – along with leaderboards for each map in Horde mode – the incentive to FSDHM (forgo sleep due to Horde mode) is abnormally high.
Are people pumped about this game?
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I have yet to hear any negatives about GOW 2. This new Horde mode is the icing on an already delicious cake.
11/7 can't come soon enough.
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