There are many franchises that are huge, and iconic to most gamers that I have never played. I never played Halo, or the uncharted series, and until a few weeks ago I never played Gears of War.
To be honest, I didn’t ever really WANT to play Gears of War. When I was in college, my roommate was one of those loud, multiplayer only gamers. He’d play Gears online versus matches and scream at everyone while he killed and was killed.
Then I got nearly all the Gears of War games on Games With Gold on XB1/XB360, and decided to add them to my backlog. The rules of my backlog is that I play the games on my list in random order, but was contacted by my friend Erik, https://www.twitch.tv/buddybuserik and he wanted to run me through the entire Gears of War series. Warning: Spoilers ahead.
I’m soooooo glad I agreed. These games were made to be played co-op with friends, and they are really good. Some more gooder than others, so I figured I’d talk about all four in one blog. (Let’s not talk about Gears of War: Judgement… that’s not a good one.)
Gears of War 1 – VERY ambitious and a great way to start the series. After playing through this game, I can see how this became a series. Through the entire series you play as a group of rough and gruff COG soldiers on a mission to kill the evil Locust aliens. To me the BEST thing about this game is the Kryll (scary swarms of bird-like monsters that kill you INSTANTLY once you step in the dark). This entire section of the game forces you to find and create sources of light, in order to avoid insta-death and is soooooooooooooo…. well thought out and satisfying. It’s a real shame the Kryll never returned in future games. Throughout the game the COG are threatened and thwarted by the main antagonist of the game… General RAAM. Who is an awesomely designed villain, made forgettable by a boring boss fight. Luckily, after you beat RAAM and finish the game, the Queen of the Locust says we ain’t all dead yet! And the game is set up for a sequel.
Gears of War 2 – To me this game was the weakest in the series. I don’t remember much about the plot, except for a sad scene involving Dom (that I kinda laughed at). What I DO remember is that this game’s setting is horrible. I understand the Locusts are underground burrowing alien monsters, and that the surface of the planet is ravaged by war and destruction… but this is the most brown/gray game ever. 90% of the game takes place underground and in caves… and it bored me. So here’s a spoiler gif!
Gears of War 3 – The best thing about this game is that it upped multiplayer co-op campaign to four players. Throughout the rest of the series, the COG soldiers generally ran in groups of four anyway… so making the game four played co-op was a smart move… RIGHT GEARS OF WAR 4!?!?!? When I played through this game, I played with three friends and we played with modifiers (infinite ammo, super strong melee, and active reload = strong bullets) so the game was a ton of fun. The game had a great plot and characters too. There are memorable scenes with Marcus and Dom, and with the main antagonist Queen Myrrah. There is ONE character that steals the show… and needs to return in Gears of War 5 (and he might! Today is Microsoft’s conference for E3…). BRING BACK GRIFFIN! He is voiced by Ice-T and is one of the best characters in the entire series. The game ends on a satisfying note, and could have been the end of the series… but………….
Gears of War 4 – Remember when I said four player campaign co-op was a move in the right direction? Well for some reason this game goes back to two… even though in 90% of the game you are in a squad of four. You fucked up Gears of War 4! This game takes place 25 years after Gears 3, and you play as Marcus’ son, JD. JD and his crew are considered COG deserters, AND the Locusts are back and have evolved into the Swarm (with some much scarier variations… fuck you Snatchers). You team up with old man Marcus, to fight the COG robots, and the new Locusts on a rescue mission and to save the world again. This game’s strength is it’s writing. The plot is interesting, trying to find out about these new Locusts… where they come from, and what they want. The characters are likable and memorable and feel like fully fleshed out people. The game is also REALLY funny. I remember myself and Erik laughing out loud multiple times throughout the entire campaign.
The game even ends on ANOTHER cliffhanger, and makes me excited to play Gears 5 when it’s eventually released. (also Horde mode is fun)
So if I had to rank these games… I’d say four is the best, then three, then one, and finally two. However, they are ALL worth a playthrough. I just recommend you play ’em with a friend.
Next up on Woodyman’s Backloggery… Electronic Super Joy