This should actually be called "Hands-on: Gears of War 2Dark Corners DLC -- One Map Only," because Epic wasn't showing off any of the single player campaign when we stopped by, and it only had two kiosks on the side of the Microsoft booth playing the Nowhere map. Even though the other maps appeared in the menu screen, they wouldn't let us select them. What are you hiding from us, Epic?
So here's a tiny review of Nowhere, and a big new video featuring the "Road to Ruin" deleted chapter of the DLC, along with a peek at the seven new maps just beyond the jump.
Gallery: Gears of War 2: Dark Corners DLC | 3 Photos
Nowhere is one of the smaller of the new maps, according to Epic. The company's short description of it reads, "Set in the middle of what was once a destination for weary desert travellers, the land is now barren and devoid of life. Pick off your enemies with the Longshot sniper rifle and make your way to the stairwell with a well-fortified team during this intense firefight." There are scattered low falls and burnt out vehicles throughout the map, which also includes one small building with a counter inside that provides cover. It has two entrances and multiple large windows as well, so it's not very an easy spot to defend, and serves as a grenade magnet.
One of the landmarks on the map is a large water tower, which Epic told us is perfect to hole up under when in Horde mode. We'd prefer to go up the lone staircase in the map to the rooftop, so to better fend off the Blood Mounts. Seriously, those things are creepy. There are the usual weapons scattered around the map, although during our brief time with it we didn't learn the spawn points for the more powerful ones. As mentioned in Epic's description, the Longshot comes in very handy in this level, particularly when you're on the roof.
One thing to note: the smoke grenades still cause you to choke and be disoriented for a moment, rather than knocking you back concussively, which happened during the recent Memorial Day weeekend event. Epic told us they have no plans to change back to the knockdown smoke grenades, which is good news if you like the new gameplay, bad news if you hate it. If you really want to follow along, check out the Epic formus on the issue. We'll just keep waiting for more info on the other maps until the game comes out in July.
One fun note: they brought all of the actors back in to record new dialogue. Which hopefully means no more emoting from Dom.