Four months after the Hammer of Dawn incident, you start Act 2 playing as Kait. You and Del are going to a Outsiders colony and recruiting for the CoG. Seeing how these Outsiders live in this fishing village is really interesting. You see a bit of it in Gears 4, but this is on another level. Seeing giant fish and sea serpents really reminds you how this definitely is not Earth.
Side note: In my last post I could not remember what the presidents actually name and role was. It’s First Minister Jinn. My bad.
Your goal here is to get the village to join up with the COG. After meeting with the village chief, who ends up being Uncle Oscar from Gears 4, the village comes under attack from the Swarm.
The interesting bit of this chapter is the end. Kait gets snatched up by a Snatcher, and you hear a voice telling you that you can control the enemies. Now you get teleported into a different enemy till you die. Starting with a Juvie and ending with a giant Warden. The Warden ends up killing Oscar before getting killed itself. This was definitely pretty cool. When I was an enemy I would just attack all the other bad guys as well. Then they would attack me back. It was interesting to see how that worked out.
Side Note: I genuinely had to look up Uncle Oscar. I totally forgot all about him.
This is where we find out JD survived the Hammer of Dawn blast at the end of Act 1. His arm is burned and he is now bald with a beard. Kait is done doing COG work now. She wants answers after she feels like she was forced to kill her uncle. Del decides to come with her, and Marcus gives them intel on where to go. North, to a place called New Hope.
Kait and Del find a new ride, a skiff that was her uncles. The skiff is so rad. It controls incredibly well riding through the snow and across the ice. After exploring a little bit, you finally get to New Hope. Turns out New Hope was a fucked up mad scientist lab. They were suppose to be helping people with rust lung, miners primarily, but they ended up doing tests on them with imulsion, the stuff that created locusts.
You fight a Warden, the same thing that killed Oscar. He charges you and slams down a giant mace. He’s pretty straight forward though, knock off his helmet, dodge, and shoot him in the face. When you kill him, you can pick up his mace. The mace is super powerful. I killed a ton a Juvies all at once with a few swings. The durability doesn’t seem to last long though. Cool for a second, but not a primary weapon to keep around.
Side Note: Gears has some great names for their enemies. Rejects, Warden, and Juvies are solid. Snatcher on the other hand..
Getting deeper into the lab is where that horror element comes back into play. Everything is dark with narrow hallways. You have Rejects, the Swarm controlled DeeBees everywhere. My problem with this is that they make it seem like you can do all of this stealthily, but it seemed impossible. After taking out a few enemies, they all seem to activate and start attacking you regardless. It’s fine, just seems a little lame.
Even further down underground you come across the prison cells where they kept all their test subjects. It is incredibly fucked up. You can pick up lore objects giving you details on a little girl who was their main subject. You can even enter her room, where you find a mirror and camera behind it. The whole thing gave me an uneasy feeling.
Eventually you find Niles. Niles is the head scientist for all of this. Unfortunately, Niles is dead, but his subconscious is put into an AI computer. I got the feeling we were going to get a ton of information from him here, but nope. A Flock flies in and destroys the computers.
Apparently there is a whole other lab in the mountains. This is where the game gets semi open world, a lot like Uncharted 4. Side stuff you can do, but are proposed as completely optional. In my opinion though, they are absolutely essential. It’s the only way to get upgrades for Jack, and you cannot get them anywhere else. So make sure you do these extra side missions. They do not take very long and it is definitely worthwhile.
After doing all the side stuff, searching for this lab is fairly easy. You finally find it under the ice. The only way to get to it is to blow up the ice. Doing one extra mission to get explosives in an abandoned mine gives you what you need to get to Niles underground lab.
Side Note: I was playing solo on experienced difficulty. When I went to do the mine mission, it was so unbelievably hard I straight up quit the game. I found out my brother was at the same part as I was, so we did the mission together. We actually had to drop the difficulty down to intermediated because it was still difficult for us. The worst part about this was it basically started the whole chapter over, so We had to back track a bit. DO NOT BE AFRAID TO LOWER THE DIFFICULTY.
You break the ice and fall into the underground area where the lab is at. After gaining access, you meet Niles again. This Niles is apparently a much more intelligent AI. He gives a big lore dump, essentially telling you that he created the locusts. Making your way through the lab you see frozen bodies of COG, scientists, and Locusts everywhere. Seems like the lab went into some sort of freezing temperature to stop the onslaught of the Locusts attacking.
This is where you learn that Kait is the grand daughter of the original queen of the Locusts, Queen Myrrah. Reyna, Kait’s mom, was Myrrah’s daughter who was stolen away from the lab by some random scientist I guess. Myrrah was the little girl from the first lab where they did all these experiments to. It’s all pretty interesting, but none of it is surprising. You kind of get this feeling at the end of Gears 4, and even the teaser trailers hint at it. It’s a cool story beat, but it was something I was just waiting confirmation on.
Kait wants to severe this link she has with the Locusts. Niles agrees to this, and sets her up on some lab table. This lab table is underneath a giant sphere which houses a monstrous Locust that Niles refers to as the Matriarch. Cut scene ensues, and Kait is getting her ass kicked by this giant monster inside her head. Niles rolls away and Del breaks the machine to get Kait out. They chase down Niles, fighting off all of his test tube Locust monsters.
Eventually you find Niles, but so does the Matriarch. The Matriarch rips Niles in half and the final boss fight of the Act begins.
The whole thing with this boss fight is to freeze the Matriarch in the ice, then shoot a sore spot in its back. The first half is pretty straight forward, but then it changes things up. You have to start hiding from spikes that it throws at you, dodging it’s instant death sprints and jumps, and also combat the constant mind flares that it gives Kait, obscuring your vision.
Side Note: You absolutely need to make sure you have a cryo gun going into this fight. After half of the Matriarch’s health is down, it will avoid going near the ice to get frozen. My brother and I realized this after the fifth time we died. We only ever died from a stupid one hit kill too, which was infuriating. I genuinely don’t know how I would have done this fight on my own.
Congrats! We killed The Matriarch, which almost feels like a final hoss fight for any other game to be honest. Del and Kait find their way topside again, and get rescued by Marcus and Baird in a helicopter. Kait realizes that they need the Hammer of Dawn back up and running again to be able to kill the Locusts. Baird informs them that he already has a plan for that, surprise surprise.
Act 2 was great. The Skiff was fun to ride in, the fire fights were tough but felt rewarding, and I enjoyed learning more lore about the Gears universe. I think the biggest thing I learned though was that it’s okie to play a game at the normal difficulty. Playing on experienced almost made me quit the game entirely, and I really would have been mad at myself for that.
Have you finished Act 2 yet? What was your favorite part? Let me know!