When did each of you start playing Gears?
TrebM3: My start with franchise was with the launch of Gears 1. When Gears launched in the Fall of 2006, the console gaming industry was given an amazing gift. Never before had we gotten a cover shooter that was done so well and innovative in so many areas.The graphics were revolutionary for the console and many gameplay mechanics were templates for games moving into the future.
Porshapwr: I was heavily invested into the 360 from launch so when I heard about this major new franchise coming, and saw the reviews it was getting, I was immediately intrigued. The Mad World trailer only peaked interest further and I bought the LE at launch. When I first played it, it blew me away in several areas but the graphics and art direction immediately stood out.
What is your favorite game in the series and why?
TrebM3: 1 year after the 360 released, Gears 1 came out, immediately it drew me and my friends in as we were looking for great MP games to play socially after loving Halo 3. I found a lot of gaming for me had moved into the social realm with even local friends. Gears 1 didn’t offer much into why the COG was fighting against the Locusts or much into Sera. After countless hours of gaming I wanted to learn more about the backstory and more multiplayer options as TDM was the main option outside of campaign co-op.
Gears 2 takes the place as my favorite game in the series. So much more was explained in this title that many people had been curious about from the campaign standpoint. We knew more about Marcus and Dom, what happened to Marcus. New characters were introduced that brought a comedic moments in the game. Baird and Cole are still some of my favorite characters to date. 2 player co-op was back and I was able to complete the game with my friends and take on Insane mode with frustration and a feeling of accomplishment. The game evolved and didn’t feel like a Gears 1.5. The already great cover system was improved.
My favorite aspect of Gears 2 was the introduction of new multiplayer modes. We spent countless hours trying to get to level 50 of Horde and even completed it multiple times with our team of 4. After we finished it we’d try it on a new map the following night. When we didn’t have a solid squad of 4 we would tackle other teams of 2 on Wingman. Guardian was introduced and it was great protecting your leader to survive the fight and learn tactics to push forward to get their leader without leaving yours unprotected.
Porshapwr: While I feel as though Gears 3 is the best in the series and I have many fond memories with it, I would have to say Gears 2 is where my love lies. It’s likely purely nostalgia, but I made several lasting friendships due to Gears 2 and I also feel the map design was the best in the series by far. Classics such as Ruins, River, Blood Drive and others still stand out to me today and I hope we get to see some of them remade for Gears of War 4.
I particularly enjoyed the Gears of War 2 campaign. While Gears 1 introduced us to the Locust, it was Gears 2 that allowed us to visit their settlements underground and that has always stood out to me. Sure there were some absurd moments and it wasn’t as polished as Gears 3 ended up being, but in a game where you use a machine gun with a chainsaw, I would argue that absurdity is expected to some degree.
To echo TrebM3’s comments, I spent hundreds of hours playing Gears of War 2 multiplayer. Despite having my account completely reset, and the infamous connection issues that Gears 2 dealt with, my friends and I continued to play it endlessly. If that doesn’t speak to the love of the game then I don’t know what does.
What single moment sticks out to you the most in the series?
TrebM3: There are very few moments in games that introduce a villain as Gears 1 did with Raam. Story wise the tone is set when he makes his first appearance. Immediately you feel the desperation and the tough battle that awaits you.
That being said, my favorite moment in Gears is also the saddest of the series. Dom seemed to be one of the most loyal but also the most emotionally tortured character of the series. His sacrifice for Delta squad will go down in history as one of the best moments in gaming for me. While watching it you find yourself choked up with everything he’s been through and how much he cares for the situation at hand.
Porshapwr: I think it would be hard to argue that Dom’s sacrifice isn’t the most memorable point in the entire series. I remember getting the game at launch and discussing it with others and it blew everyone away. Nobody who had loved the series since launch could believe it. That said, I applaud Epic for doing it. Too often in this medium characters are represented as invincible and looking back, it was nice to see them humanized for once.
For me personally, I tend to think about going through the Locust ruins in Gears 2. As I said, I was completely fascinated with the setting and the art design. It’s also during those times that you find Maria which is another seminal moment in the series.
What do you love most about Gears of War?
TrebM3: The game for me started out as the best looking game on the 360 and a showcase for what the 360 could do. After spending literally hundreds of hours with the series and gaming for so long I always look forward for the series’s next entry. I even enjoy the cheesy storytelling and it’s become a mainstay. The trailers the series has created have always been a favorite of mine. Somehow the marketing team has been able to target amazing music to accompany a trailer that you echo while playing. How many of us remember how well Mad World meshed with the series? Very few games give you the feeling of accomplishment and gratification when you get a headshot in multiplayer. So many times I’ve made poor choices just to get that chainsaw kill only to have a gnasher decimate me. Gnasher battles have never been a forte of mine but when I win one or sneak up on an unsuspecting opponent it feels so great. Gears has an uncanny ability to always bring something new and fresh to the 3rd person shooter experience that seems to lack outside of the crowded first person shooter market. Very few games bring you into a world that is so dark and hopeless that feels like home.
Porshapwr: Gaming is a big part of my life and Gears is one of my favorite franchises. Over the years, it has brought me countless hours of entertainment and joy. There’s a reason I have a landing in my house dedicated to the series with some of the collectibles I’ve acquired over the years. As I mentioned earlier, I also became a big part of the community at one time and forged long lasting relationships which endure today.
There are many aspects of the games that I love. The settings are gorgeous and I’ve always been fond of the “destroyed beauty” aesthetic. The characters are well developed, memorable, and the relationships between them are felt on-screen which is rare in a video game. While outsiders or less informed players have quoted the games as being “bro” games, the criticism always fell flat and it was clear they didn’t truly invest time to understand the series. For those of us that have, we have true attachments to the characters which is what helps the series continue to be adored today. Beyond that, the gameplay is unique. With so many shooters being first person and mimicking each other in one way or another, Gears has always stood out. Being 3rd person, visceral, and yet maintaining a high skill gap, are attributes that only make me love it more. As a competitive person I love the ability for good players to rise above the rest and for team play to be so important. I could go on and on but in short, I love Gears. I’m glad it’s in good hands. And I will be playing a whole lot of Gears 4. Hope to see you online.
SG : Thank you to both Porshapwr and TrebM3 for sharing their thoughts on Gears of War!