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New Gears 2 multiplayer details emerge

Numbers, weapons, moves, modes.

Gears of War 2 will feature online battles for two teams of five, with plenty of fresh modes, weapons, moves and more fancy additions to mix things up.

You'll even be able to respawn this time around, although the focus will still be on the old-once you're-dead-you're-out way of the world, according to a preview in X360 magazine.

Guardian is the first of the new modes. Each team gets a leader appointed and once they're killed, it's game over and victory for the murderers. All other regular team members can come back to life as many times as they like, and Guardians will be marked on the HUD to cut to the chase.

Wingman sounds interesting: you and a friend share a body and try to fend off four other dual-bodied teams to be crowned as winner. There's no word on exactly how this will work.

Meatflag is the last of the additional modes. You have to capture a computer-controlled character and take it back to your base like a living flag. It sounds as if it's some sort of berserker that romps around the map killing anyone that gets close, so to drag it home you will need to down it and then pick it up as a meatshield - that new ability activated by pressing A when they're on their knees in front of you.

Once you have hold of a meatshield you will be limited to a pistol and move at a much slower pace than normal and, if the other team can shoot your flag-hostage-thing enough, then it will go berserk and start battering any close at hand.

Incidentally, in more regular multiplayer bouts you can snap your meatshield's neck to dispose of it, or simply wait until it absorbs enough bullets and perishes. There's also another new finishing move that is linked to the Y button; once pressed it has you flip over your downed opponent and pummel their face until death, which sounds rather lengthy. Curb stomping and weapon butt-hitting return as finishers, too.

You can also pick up metal bullet-shields to use as cover that you can plant down to make your own portable walls with, although other players can kick them over if they get close enough. Ducking behind cover now tucks your limbs in to stop your enemies being able to work an angle at a muscular hunk of exposed flesh.

Using a bullet-shield also slows you down and puts a pistol in your hand, too, but there is a fresh pistol-type that means this may not be as bad as it sounds.

It's a Locust weapon called a Medusa and apparently it lets loose multiple rounds per shot. It sits alongside the Scorcher flamethrower and a modified Hammerburst as the arsenal additions. Shooting people or vehicles should slow them down in various ways, too.

The Lancer - the one with the chainsaw - is back and you can duel your enemies with it online. As you know, the victor is the one who can pound B the quickest, although shooting the person your team-mate is duelling with is said to help them a fair bit.

Different weapons may spawn in the same place now as well, although we're told some - like grenades - will be at fixed locations.

Grenades have been spruced-up and can be stuck to walls or people when you fancy it, and then used as makeshift proximity mines. Smoke grenades will now stun people caught in their blast radius, and the fresh Poison explosives will drain anyone's health who happens to be caught in the area.

Gasp, pant.

There are a dozen maps on the disc at launch, with presumably more to be added as DLC over time. Gridlock is back but with more plants, River is a map with a house and sniper tower separated by water, and Security is a long and thin scenario with laser-bar barriers you can disable temporarily by hitting the big red button in the middle of the map.

Which all sounds very promising, especially with the Halo-style matchmaking system being brought in. It won't have a persistent, experience-based levelling system like Call of Duty 4, though.

Gears of War 2 is apparently 65 per cent complete, and is due out exclusively for Xbox 360 this November.

Grunt your way to our Gears of War 2 gamepage for the first shots and trailers.