I was able to go to Alana's house and play some Gears 2 yesterday. Horde mode is fun and frustrating. I liked it a lot, but I probably won't be getting it until at least Christmas.
One thing we did notice when we sat down to play was the 2-player limit on co-op play. The game won't even let you have a third gamertag signed in. It warns you that you can't have more than 2 tags signed in and you have to sign the third one out to even continue. Bullshit.
The fact that there is no 4-player split screen in Gears 2 made me think of some of the other games that have glaring omissions. Features that should be required in all games this generation.
The first game to come to mind that was missing a required feature is Call of Duty 4. The first time the three of us tried to play some online deathmatches, we realized that two people can't play online on the same Xbox 360. WTF?! It boggles my mind that Halo 2 on the original Xbox featured 4-player split screen over Xbox Live, yet Call of Duty 4 limited you to one player per box. Ridiculous!
Another game that I've really been a hater of is Burnout Paradise. Now, I've been playing it on the PS3 and I have to take back a lot of the hate I've spewed about the game. That being said, I still hate the fact that you can't automatically re-start an event or jump to races. It's obviously a concious decision by the developer, but at what point do you just give us what we want? It's really the only thing holding this game back from greatness, in my opinion.
And, of course, the afformentioned Gears of War 2. I cannot get over the fact that a AAA title like Gears can't manage to include 4-player horde mode on the same console. We have had four player split screen since the N64 days. Yes, it wasn't co-op, but it still worked just fine. And if that's not enough, Halo 2 and 3 has 4-player split screen with zero issues.
I really think that these missing features boil down to nothing more than developer decisions. Basically, it's not an issue of console power or coding prowess. The devs made the decision to not put these features in the game. In the case of CoD4 and Gears 2, it smacks of the dev wanting you to go out and buy another console and another copy of the game if you want to play with more than one or two people in the same place.
What really hits this home for me is the fact that Forza 2 came with a mode that allowed you to to use three screens, three Xbox 360's, and three copies of the game to play across the three screens. Maybe .001% of people will ever use this feature, but it's there.
So, tell me again why Gears 2 doesn't have 4-player split screen?