Campaign done. Took me around 25 hours on Experienced difficulty, which was generally easier than I expected but got really fucking tough in some places. Mostly tough grub encounters, the bosses weren't that hard thankfully. Some sections, like those leading in and out of the boss area in Act 2 and the last arenas in Act 3 are some of the most intense fights Ive ever experienced in a videogame.
If anyone is having trouble with the last boss,
Jack is a great addition, but the companion AI doesnt seem to have evolved much from Gears 1. The revival timer is pretty short and it would be nice if you could at least trust them to come running asap when you go down but they dont seem to bother half of the time. You can actually use Stim to revive yourself in case they dont come, I discovered that halfway through.
And I have mixed feelings about the open world questing. While I really enjoyed riding on the skiff, Im not sure if it is the right thing for a Gears game. I used to appreciate them as rollercoaster rides where you didnt have to worry about what direction to go, or what skills to upgrade. At one time in Act 3 I got stuck with a save in the old City Ruins in the north, where I had to make it down to the turntable in the far south, through the windflare, and make it through the entire indoor encounter at the train station with elites, a couple of Scions and a Warden, before the game would save again. I had to repeat this maybe 7 times before I got it right. Incredibly frustrating.
Having said that, its still an incredible achievement and one of the best videogames Ive ever played. And that ending .. god damn. I knew some shit like that was going to happen.