At E3 2008, Epic ended the silence on a new online mode in Gears of War 2, a cooperative match called Horde. In Horde, five-players cooperate against wave after wave of increasingly difficult Locust enemies. "It's Geometry Wars meets Smash T.V. in Gears of War," Epic Games design director Cliff Bleszinski told a group of journalists on July 1st. We got our hands on this unique multiplayer mode and it proved to be equally as fun as Gears 2's other multiplayer modes - Guardian, Submission, and Wingman - if not a bigger, bloodier hit-in-the-making.
You can play Horde on all Gears 2 multiplayer maps with up to four other friends on Xbox Live. The mode begins with you choosing your character class and starting weapon, either the Lancer rifle (which comes equipped with the signature chainsaw bayonet) or a more powerful single-shot rifle, before wave one of the Locust Horde rolls in. You'll have no problem plowing throw the first few waves, which include basic enemies from the single-player campaign, such as Locust grunts and the wall-crawling Wreches. By wave five or so, however, the enemies have increased in number and power: you'll fight grenade-launching Boomers and other tough foes. By this point, you'll need to coordinate crossfire strategies with your teammates and will likely be running low on ammo - it's wise to send players out to scavenge for supplies during the brief lulls between waves.
Horde stops at level 50 and tracks leaderboard scores for you to compare with friends online. In a nice twist, Horde tosses in remixed variations of the enemies you will face in the single-player campaign. For example, you'll fight Boomers armed with meat cleavers or a more fatal explosive flail and shield. We also witnessed a new Wrech-type enemy called the Ticker, which acts as an explosive proximity bomb that chatters it's teeth as it nears. PROTIP: Melee the Ticker to flip it on its back, which then turns the enemy into an immobile explosive barrel.
Gears of War 2 is an Xbox 360 exclusive scheduled for release on November 7.