Want to know if the Gears of War franchise is for you?
Picture this: It’s 2006, you’re looking for a game for your new Xbox 360. Something that’ll scratch that itch you have. You know that Halo 3 won’t be out for another year, so you’re kinda stuck. Then out of the corner of your eye, you see a dark case with a brooding character on the front holding a gun unlike you’ve ever seen before. You pick it up and read the title: Gears of War. So you decide to purchase it and see what it’s all about. Little did you know, that moment would change your life for the better.
Gears of War has become one of Microsoft’s heavy hitters, putting out 6 mainline games, one remaster, a mobile game, a Turn-Based game, as well as eight books, and 2 board games. Spanning 16 years since its debut, most people are familiar with the game. Some will tell you what game is their favorite, some will tell you what game isn’t their favorite, but one thing that we Gearheads all agree on: Is that the Gears of War Judgment shouldn’t have existed. If you’re reading this and have never experienced Gears of War, I’ll break down the jist of each game and give you my honest unbiased rating for each.
We’ll start at the beginning with the original.
Gears of War
The game starts on Planet Sera where there are two warring factions: the Coalition of Ordered Governments (COG) and the subterranean species called the Locusts. The game officially takes place 14 years after what is known as E-Day (the day the Locust emerged from the depths of the planet). You play as Marcus Fenix a prisoner turned soldier in an attempt to stop the Locusts from conquering Sera. Along the way, they try multiple ways of exterminating the Locust including using a bomb to “nuke” the Locust in their home.
My Rating: 7 out of 10
For the first of the series, it does a good job setting up the world. It doesn’t throw too much at you all at once and it’s a steady ride from start to finish. The pacing is good for the most part and you can play the game from start to finish co-op whether online or split-screen. It does have some kind of repeatable moments like where you have to defend a post for a certain amount of time throughout the game. All in all, it’s a great start to a great series. Gears of War also has a multiplayer online mode similar to you Call of Duty’s, Battlefield’s, and Halo’s ( I didn’t get to fully experience it at launch/during its life cycle). Overall my first outing with Gears of War was a good experience.
Gears of War 2
This one takes place about six months after the first and follows Marcus Fenix as he takes Delta Squad to face the Locust on their home turf. We get introduced to more characters as we fight our way to the Locust stronghold. Along the way, we fight a giant worm that has been sinking cities as well as meet Queen Myrrah. To stop the Locust horde, Marcus and the COG decide it be best to sink the last safe city, Jacinto, to put an end to the threat once and for all.
My Rating: 8 out of 10
Gears of War 2 improves upon what the first game gives us and adds on more. The different characters, enemy types, the array of weapons, and the heartfelt moments all flow naturally with each other. Most if not all the missions in the game weren’t as repetitive as the first, but there were a couple of “defend the position” segments. There are also some moments that really get to you as a player and have you feeling a sort of somberness. Multiplayer is back and had been reworked to run more fluidly so the action doesn’t seem stale. It also introduced us to a new game type: Horde Mode. It’s a game type where you battle 50 waves of enemies that get increasingly difficult over time Overall I enjoyed my time with Gear of War 2.
Gears of War 3
Gears of War 3 picks up 2 years after humanity sank its last safe city and is now taking refuge on ships to evade a new threat: the Lambent. While fighting to defend the ship, Marcus finds out that his father isn’t dead and plans on going to save him. Delta Squad then makes the perilous journey to where he is to rescue him. It’s a lot of ups and downs and a particular scene that made me and my friends cry (like literal tears). After all of the hardships, we finally make it to Azura and met up with Marcus’ dad as well as the Queen. We get one final showdown with Myrrah and end the Human/Locust war.
My rating: 9.5 out of 10
This is honestly the best game out of the franchise. From its storytelling to gameplay, to all the character interactions, it is all so fluid and lifelike. Multiplayer is phonemical with the addition and expansion of horde more. I would give this game a 10 out of 10 if it weren’t for one scene in the game, but even that scene would warrant a 10 out of 10. Since I’m being unbiased I have to knock half a point off for making me cry.
Gears of War Judgment
This game takes place roughly at the start of E-Day and we play as Lt. Damon Baird as he runs Kilo Squad. The game starts out as Kilo Squad is put on trial for disobeying orders and is given a chance to defend themselves. Most of the story is told in flashback format whereas each member of Kilo is given a chance to state what happened. Kilo has seen a massive Locust army being run by General Karn. Kilo decides to nuke him to solve the problem, but the COG wasn’t having it. So they go AWOL, get the missile and the codes, nuke Karn, and get arrested.
My rating: 6.5 out of 10
Let’s face it, some prequel games are amazing, some are not as amazing. Some shouldn’t have been made. Judgment is one of those games that was good for what it was. I felt Epic saw what Bungie did with Halo and was like “We can do that”. The attempt was there but no one was really looking for a “Baird centric story” Gameplay was more or less the same as Gears of War 3, just a couple of new weapons added. Multiplayer didn’t really add anything new apart from a free for all mode and OverRun (a downgraded version of Horde). Overall it’s a game that’s kinda just… there.
Gears of War: Ultimate Edition
This one isn’t so much as a new game but a remaster of the first game. It upgrades the graphics and has the game running smoother than before. This one pretty much overhauls everything. Running native 1080p with 60fps. Sounds were enhanced as well. Adding some quality of life changes such as being able to spot enemies and change weapons while running. It also adds some new content that wasn’t previously in the first game. Five extra chapters that were previously just in the PC version are in this version as well as an extra boss fight. You can also see Queen Myrrah at the end of the game instead of just hearing her.
My rating: 7.5 out of 10
Apart from the fresh coat of paint, the quality of life updates, the new campaign missions. It is still the same game. Yes, it runs better than the original and looks prettier, but to me, it is still the same game.
Gears of War 4
Gears of War 4 is set 25 years after the 3 installments and is the first game to be developed by The Coalition. You play as JD, Marcus’ son as he tries to figure out what’s causing these violent “Windstorms” and whos been taking hostages. Come to find out it’s a new enemy dubbed the “Swarm”. Now they have to try and stop another war after Humanity just started recovering from the last war. With help from his friends, Del and Kait, as well as his dad, JD fights the Swarm and uncovers something truly shocking. Also, Kait’s mother gets kidnapped and they have to also rescue her from the big boss the Speaker.
My rating: 8.5 out of 10
Coming in after Judgment, the expectation of the next Gears title was set kind of high. Luckily the fourth installment did not disappoint. It introduces new characters as well as have old and familiar faces. It has the same combat style we’re all familiar with but throws in some new weapons to make you rethink your playstyle. It’s not too overwhelming but it does give a challenge. Multiplayer is as good as its ever been as well as Horde 3.0. Overall it is a good jump-in point for The Coalition’s run of the games.
Gears of War 5
The next and last mainline title is Gears of War 5 (shortened to just Gears 5). This time around you play as Kait as she and Del try to round up people to join the reformed COG. To get an edge against the Swarm, Bair wants to relaunch the COG’s superweapon: the Hammer of Dawn. He sends Kait and Del to find an old acquaintance of his. Along the way, Kait starts having these visions about her mother and who her grandmother was. JD comes along for a little reunion as they get the Hammer back into orbit and set up for an assault on the Swarm.
My rating: 8.5 out of 10
For the most recent title, it doesn’t come as a shock that not much has changed. The only noteworthy change is that you can use abilities like having a shield or becoming invisible. Other than that, it plays just like Gears of War 4. I will admit it took me a bit longer to beat this one. I was playing co-op with a friend and we wanted to finish it together. Apart from that, it was a fun experience. Multiplayer was the same more or less, just adding in some new game modes. A new mode called Escape was introduced and it turned out to be a fun challenge. Overall this was a fun experience that I think I’ll revisit in the near future.
To recap my ratings( or for those who just skipped to the end):
Gears of War: 7/10
Gears of War 2: 8.5/10
Gears of War 3: 9.5/10
Gears of War Judgment: 6.5/10
Gears of War: Ultimate Edition: 7.5/10
Gears of War 4: 8.5/10
Gears 5: 8.5/10
There you have it! This is my personal opinion of course. Not everyone will think the same and that’s okay. I based this rating list on how I felt playing each game. I love Gears of War and it’s in my top 5 favorite game series. If you haven’t played any of these, I would suggest playing in release order.
I’m just a Gamer Dad as well as avid Anime watcher, Comic enthusiasts, Music enjoyer, and all around nerd