Brothers to the end.Gears of War
is a tactical Third-Person Shooter
video game developed by Epic Games
and published by Microsoft Game Studios. By Word of God
, gameplay emphasizes tactical maneuvers rather than More Dakka
, and is the recent Trope Codifier
for Take Cover
-style gameplay, forcing you to shoot carefully and outflank as much as you can (though Regenerating Health
makes it a little easier). There isn't a jump button and everything is angled towards making the combat as personal and violent as possible (the main gun used has a chainsaw built into the grip, called the chainsaw bayonet
). You can give your squadmates orders, but if one them goes down, you have to pick them up and get them back on their feet. Finally, there is an Active Reload
system that buffs your damage output if you hit the right timing window but jams your gun if you mess up.
The general story centers on the soldiers of Delta Squad
as they fight to save the human inhabitants of the fictional planet Sera from a relentless subterranean enemy known as the Locust Horde
. The Coalition of Ordered Governments
(COG) is fighting back with their own soldiers they call "Gears". The Locust are relentless, vicious, can pop out of the ground almost anywhere and seem to be numberless, but the COG have superior technology and the capital city of Jacinto is located on a plateau of solid granite, making it the one place the Locust can't tunnel up.
The player assumes the role of Marcus Fenix, a battle-hardened former war hero. When in cooperative play, the second player takes control of Fenix's best friend and fellow soldier Dominic "Dom" Santiago. Alongside them are fellow soldiers from another squad who they seem to frequently join with: former pro athlete Augustus "Cole Train" Cole and smart-mouthed Damon Baird.
Besides dealing with the humanoid footsoldiers there is a great deal of focus on monstrous creatures you have to face such as the dinosaur-like Brumak (with a cannon on its back and chainguns on each arm), the crab/spider-like Corpser and the "monkey-dog" Wretch
. Alongside that, the games are about building atmosphere and drawing you into the moment, investigating abandoned warehouses and exploring a labyrinth of underground tunnels. These are not games to play in the dark.
On the way, they do manly things
like blowing stuff up
, delivering one-liners
and growing beards
Gears Of War
Dominic Santiago: Welcome back to the army, soldier.
Marcus Fenix: Shit.
Released on November 12, 2006, the Locust Horde has been rampaging across the planet for about 14 years. Marcus Fenix was imprisoned for dereliction of duty four years earlier, but was pardoned when the Locust assaulted Jacinto Plateau and invaded the prison. Marcus was reinstated and assigned to Delta Squad alongside Dominic Santiago. His first assignment involves a priority mission to assist another group, Alpha Squad, to deploy a device that would help deliver a final strike against the enemy.
The game was praised for its beautiful visuals and innovative gameplay system. The most common complaints were a dull color palette but most especially an uneven storyline.
Gears Of War 2
Marcus Fenix: This is it, Dom. This is everything we've been fighting for.
Dominic Santiago: Yeah, well Maria is everything I've been fighting for.
Released on November 7, 2008, the Locust re-emerge several months after the events of the first game, except more desperate and far more dangerous, while on the surface, many human refugees and Gears have fallen sick with a disease known as Rustlung, an Imulsion sickness. COG forces return to action in an attempt to make an assault on the enemy's home turf, while Dom embarks on a personal mission to find his missing wife Maria, putting him in conflict with his other responsibilities as a member of Delta Squad.
The second game received similar accolades, with many complaints of the first game addressed. The graphics are better than ever, a larger weapon variety is given and the story is epic while more personal. However, it still holds many slight flaws, but that doesn't reduce the amount of fun there is in playing the game. The multiplayer set-up has also been cheered, with the new "Horde" mode receiving the most attention; while it didn't invent the concept, Gears 2
is the reason most shooters have a wave-based survival mode now
Gears Of War 3
Augustus Cole: "Do you ever feel like you're dead, but nobody ever told you?"
Released on September 20, 2011, the ending of the second game has left both sides decimated, with Marcus and Delta Squad trying to keep their head down as there's no place left on Sera that is safe. Anya Stroud
has joined the team as a soldier
, Dom has grown a Beard of Sorrow
and the approaching summer has the squad wearing lighter versions of their normal armor. The story picks up 18 months later when the COG leadership (what is left of it) approaches Marcus with some new discoveries about the Locust. Unfortunately, the Gears don't just have to contend with the Locust Horde: a new faction, the Lambent Locust, have emerged from the underground and are hostile to both sides.
With the added benefit of a multiplayer beta to iron out the kinks (including dedicated servers), Gears of War 3
ended up the best reviewed of the trilogy with a very bright color palette, crisp visuals and fluid gameplay. A very full game release, it has a very long campaign where you can play with four characters at all times (including a co-op online arcade version), Horde Mode 2.0 (with some Tower Defense
-like strategy), Beast Mode (a reversed Horde Mode where you play as Locust creatures attacking the COG), loads of features to track your gaming history and a single leveling system that works under all modes. The game was also built to be heavily modifiable, with a Downloadable Content
pack called "RAAM's Shadow" containing an entire mini-campaign.
Gears of War: Judgment
Baird: ...To survive out there in the field, you have to know how to adapt. And I'm an adaptable man.
Released March 19, 2013. It is prequel from fifteen years before Gears of War
with Baird taking over as the lead protagonist. The game focuses on his time as a lieutenant in Kilo Squad, with Augustus Cole and others under his command. In the tale, taking place early in the Locust War, the squad is accused of treason for stealing COG experimental technology on a mission. The game uses In Medias Res
as Baird explains what they were doing and why, and along the way the campaign has various "Declassified" segments that adds a new wrinkle to the gameplay that are optional but provide a replay bonus along with a player competition. The characters are younger and (slightly) less cynical than what they later become, with a focus on the specifics of Baird and Cole's backstory that is only hinted at in the main games.The reveal trailer can be found here.
Development was being outsourced to Epic's subsidiary studio People Can Fly, the makers of Painkiller
. The gameplay was shifted up, as while Take Cover
is still vital the speed of the characters is increased significantly and there is a more vertical factor with the maps. Multiplayer will get another new mode called "OverRun", a sort of Horde-meets-Beast mode-meets regular multiplayer
, where you switch off between player teams of Locust creatures and COG soldiers with an objective goal and uses a class-based system. Horde Mode was technically removed but replaced with a new, related gametype called Survival, which integrates the same class based system as Overrun and introduces vital new objectives to maintain as you hold out for 10 waves.
A film adaptation is currently in the works, though plagued with Development Hell
, and the third game will be the last to feature Delta Squad. A series of comic books expand on the backstory and what happens between the games
, alongside a collection of five novels by noted sci-fi scribe Karen Traviss
The games provide examples of:
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- Abandoned Hospital: The New Hope facility and the multiplayer level "Blood Drive".
- Abnormal Ammo: Nemacysts are huge, flying, squid-like creatures who constantly vent toxic sludge, and are fired as flak or hunter-killer missiles from Seeder arthropods. The Ink/Smoker grenades are actually baby Nemacysts tied to a Bolo Grenade handle. The Digger Launcher in the third game fires a small burrowing creature which digs through the ground ignoring any cover in its path, popping out from the ground if there's any enemy in its trajectory then detonating itself.
- Action Bomb: Several. Most Lambent enemies, as well as Reavers, explode upon death. Tickers are a straighter example, as they deliberately blow themselves up, though they appear to be outfitted with the bombs.
- Action Girl
- Locust Berserkers are really female Drones. They're far more dangerous and deadlier than the males and more feared by the Gears. They're also invulnerable until you hit them with an orbital bombardment or set them on fire.
- In the third game, Anya has ditched her Mission Control role in order to fight on the battlefield with the male Gears, alongside another female gear, Samantha Bryne, as well as a veteran of the Pendulum Wars who fought with Colonel Victor Hoffman, Bernadette "Bernie" Mataki. Alicia Valera in "RAAM's Shadow" rounds out the gender ratio in Zeta Squad. Lampshaded by Hoffman in the Anvil Gate novel when talking about Anya, Sam and Bernie; he says that he pities any Stranded "that run into that gang of harpies".
- Judgement includes a new female Onyx Guard character model in addition to the Kilo Team member Sophia. By this time the Gears Of War series outnumbers almost any other shooter game franchise when it comes to named, story relevant female soldiers.
- Adaptational Badass: In a variation, each succeeding Carmine in each game is more badass than the previous one, or at least lives longer. Clayton Carmine goes so far as to survive the entire game!
- Adrenaline Makeover: Anya
- Adult Fear: All of the named characters have had family and friends, and some of them had children - and they all lost a great many of them on E-Day and during the war that followed.
- Dom's life, especially, is practically made of this trope - after losing his brother and kids, the only thing that kept him going was the possibility of finding his missing wife, Maria. In 2, he does find her - after she had suffered years of torture, malnutrition, and lobotomization that drove her into irreversible insanity. The only way to save her is via Mercy Kill, which Dom has to personally deliver. Imagine crusading for years to find someone dear to you in the midst of a global warzone, only to be forced to kill them immediately afterward.
- After the End: The visual design is built like this, the story is about what has to happen for something to be After the End. Before Emergence Day, human civilization endured the Pendulum wars. After about 85 years of destructive, sometimes nuclear war, Sera could be described as post-apocalyptic; the people left are just fighting for the ashes. Gears of War 3 embraces it in full, and it's likely to the point that even if the fighting stopped instantly there wouldn't be an infrastructure left to rebuild the civilization they once had.
- A.I. Is a Crapshoot: Niles Samson's "semi-sentient security program", which is a little bit obsessed with cleaning up "filth"., though it doesn't seem to actively attempt to kill you, and even makes an effort to protect you by advising you not to mess around with the main computers, which wakes the Sires. Nice Job Breaking It, Hero.
- All There in the Manual: The first game throws you right into the conflict with little elaboration. The opening cinematic doesn't play when you press start; it kicks in if you idle on the title menu, making a lot of eager gamers miss it altogether. The most comprehensive backstory detailing is in the concept art book that comes with the collector's edition. The key events that are not explained within the game involve: this is not Earth but a planet called Sera, the Pendulum Wars was a world-wide conflict over control over a super-fuel called Imulsion (started before the characters were born), Emergence Day was so devastating that the COG turned the Hammer of Dawn on their own cities just to fry the Locust and keep them at bay and leaving pockets of survivors called the Stranded.
- Fortunately, the comics and novels are doing this job for everything, even to the point of introducing new characters. For those who haven't read those, Epic was nice enough to put a "Previously on Gears..." video in Gears of War 3, which describes the relevant events over all the games, books, and comics. The video doesn't, however, cover characters who were introduced in the comics and novels. In the end, though, Epic had to resort to posting explanations for some of the unanswered questions from Gears of War 3 on their official forums.
- Alphabetical Theme Naming: Anthony Carmine, Benjamin Carmine, and Clayton Carmine. Since there are four Carmine brothers in total, the last one will most likely be D. Carmine.
- Always over the Shoulder
- Ambiguously Brown: Samantha looks vaguely Hispanic, but her accent is Claudia Black's own British/Australian mix. Otherwise the games are pretty good with being clear about various character's ethnicity.
- In game, she's described as being Kashkuri, the in-universe equivalent to the Australian Aborigines.
- And This Is for...:
- And Your Reward Is Clothes: Judgment offers Normal, Rare, and Epic prize boxes after a certain amount of enemy kills, ribbons attained, and levels gained respectively. Inside the prize boxes can be a little extra experience, weapon skins, or player armor skins.
- Anyone Can Die: The games make an effort to introduce major characters and have them die along the way, as this is an unrelenting war. It was invoked by Cliff Bleszinski regarding Gears of War 3, as being the final game all bets were off and even the core characters were at risk.
- Apocalypse How: Class 2 in the backstory. All major civilization is knocked out besides the COG and a few pockets of stranded civilians living in the ruins of cities. Gears of War 3 indicates that things are coming dangerously close to a Class 3. Firing Adam Fenix's superweapon at the end pushes it close to a Class 4, though some humans remain.
- Armor Is Useless: In 3, there are unarmored skins of Marcus, Dizzy, Anya, Jace (campaign only), and one of Cole in Thrashball pads, who can take just as much damage as the armored COG characters and the rock-skinned Locust.
- Artificial Stupidity
- In the first game, combined with Suicidal Overconfidence: your A.I. teammates will often vault over a perfectly good piece of cover to charge straight into enemy fire, resulting in them being shot full of holes. Locust Drones also do this sometimes, but they can pull it off since they're Made of Iron, whereas your teammates are not.
- By the second game the friendly A.I. has been vastly improved and can hold its own even without your help, and it's possible for you to sometimes play whole sections without expending a single round of ammo!
- In the third game, during the fight with the Lambent Beserker at the point where it starts leaking Imulsion, the first thing Marcus says is to avoid said Imulsion. Your AI teammates will ignore this piece of advice and spend the rest of the fight walking into the Imulsion and screaming for help. Especially frustrating on Insane difficulty.
- Ascended Extra: Of a sort, while not technically the same character the Carmine brothers through the three games have identical personalities and much more screentime in each installment.
- Ascended Glitch: A glitch in the second game allowed players to use any weapon they wanted (read: the Gnasher) while holding the Boomshield, instead of being limited to their pistol. Although it was patched quickly and wasn't present in the third game at all, it showed up as a legitimate feature in Judgment.
- Ascended Meme
- Attack Its Weak Point: Plenty
- Flamethrower-equipped Locust carry their unfortunately bullet-vulnerable fuel packs.
- The Locust have yet another developmental oversight, what with their warbeasts having soft, unarmored bellies ripe for crosshair focus.
- The expediency of a helmetless Corpser takes a sudden drop when they can't see.
- The bigger Lambent foes broadcast their soft and soon-to-be bullet-ridden weak spots with glowing tumors, and in the case of the more mutated Drudges, shoot the tentacles.
- The otherwise nigh-invulnerable Armored Kantus is kind enough to pause and heal its fellow Locust with its screams, giving you ample time to stuff its mouth full of lead.
- They actually do that each time they take damage from a blast but not enough to kill them.
- The Tempest is fought the same way. When it takes enough shots on the mouth, it will be stunned long enough for you to use the Hammer of Dawn.
- The Atoner:
- Marcus...sort of. He's more concerned with proving himself a reliable soldier once more than trying to apologize.
- Chairman Prescott in Gears of War 3 comes back after being AWOL for almost 2 years, and delivers the MacGuffin that gets the game going.
- Adam Fenix is revealed to be like this, since he was the driving force of the Hammer of Dawn, which is what the COG used to scorch their own cities. Of course, he still ends up committing genocide in his attempts to atone, but he makes it very clear there was just wasn't enough time...
Adam: "Don't worry, I'm an old hand when it comes to weapons of mass destruction."
- Authority Equals Asskicking
- General RAAM personifies this trope. Skorge, a bit less so, but cutting a tank in half is still pretty badass.
- Colonel Hoffman, to a lesser extent, as he's on the same level as the rest of Delta Squad, but when you consider how much of an achievement it is in this universe to even make it to your mid-thirties (Word of God has him at age 60 in Gears of War 3) and he's no coward or stranger to frontline fighting makes him pretty hardcore.
- Marcus plays with this: prior to the games, he was a decorated soldier and war hero, but after abandoning his post to try and rescue his father, he gets sent to prison. At the start of the trilogy, he's technically only a private, though within an hour, he gets back up to sergeant.
- Ax-Crazy: Anthony's very popular character for multiplayer, likely because of his very enthusiastic quotes while fighting, practically to the point of this trope. The tendency of many players to use the chainsaw bayonet at every possible opportunity also counts.
- Badass: Pretty much every plot-important character.
- Badass Beard: An Easter Egg in Gears of War 3 allows everyone to have a Dom beard, even Anya and Clayton Carmine's helmet.
- Bad Boss: In Gears of War 3, Aaron Griffin is the former CEO of an Imulsion energy corporation, now the leader of a Stranded group taken up residence in the high rise Griffin tower. Within the campaign he talks a lot about keeping his "employees" safe and doesn't like the COG because they tend to bring the Locust war with them. But an in-game collectible carries a note from one of his Stranded members who comments that Griffin always refers to them as Employees, which many resent because they were obviously not getting health insurance anymore. Plus he largely kept the best stuff for himself (gold plated weapons can be seen in his office) and everyone was afraid of being chosen for the next near-suicidal Imulsion run.
- Bald Black Leader Guy: Griffin in the third game. Former energy magnate, current ruler of a post-apocalyptic city, always ruthless.
- Bash Brothers:
- All of Delta Squad, but especially since cooperative play allows you to be Marcus and your friend be Dom.
- In-universe, Baird and Cole were really tight before they ever met Marcus or Dom, and still are as far as can be seen.
- Gears of War 3 takes this to the logical extreme, where there's four player co-op for the entire campaign.
- Bayonet Ya: The third game features the "Retro Lancer", first-generation Lancers from the Pendulum Wars with much higher recoil and a heavy bayonet. The blade itself doesn't do much more damage in melee strikes than other weapons, but it allows for a nasty charge attack that can impale any regular infantry.
- Beam Me Up, Scotty!: Invoked when Cole revisits his hometown. "The Cole Train don't go woo woo. It's WHOOOO~!"
- Beard of Sorrow: The new beard Dom's sporting in Gears of War 3 is this. In the "Ashes to Ashes" trailer, the way he just lies back and waits for the Drone to finish him off shows he doesn't give a shit about anything anymore since having to Mercy Kill his wife Maria. Overlaps with Death Seeker.
- Bee People: The Locust Horde society is structured with a Queen at the top, and lots and lots of disposable drones.
- Benevolent Architecture: As Yahtzee stated, chest-high walls are the key to victory in the war.
- The Berserker
- Naturally, Locust Berserkers. Your first time through the game, this creature is absolutely terrifying. The kicker? A Berserker's really a big, normal drone... only female.
- Gears of War 3 introduces the Lambent Berserker. Everything that is makes the originals tough is there, only it is capable of surviving multiple Hammer of Dawn attacks, has tentacles that gives it a longer reach, will jump and land like an Imulsion bomb and eventually start leaving Imulsion trails and toxic vapors limiting your movement. All the while still screaming and rushing at you.
- Cole has tendencies toward exhibiting a few traits, but is more in tune to the Boisterous Bruiser.
- Gears of War: Judgment introduces the Ragers, a breed of locust who is normally visibly slimmer than regular drones and usually relegated to the role of mid-long range support using breechshot rifles....that is until they take enough damage to piss them off, at which point they drop their weapon and morph into a miniature version of a Berserker (still larger than a regular drone) and charge the player shrugging off considerable amounts of damage thanks to their newly armored skin while trying to rip anything non-locust to shreds bare handed. Some might ask "if Judgment is a prequel then where were the ragers during Gears of War 1 to 3?" Well apparently their tactics were so suicidal that they went nearly completely extinct. One has to wonder if they actually were "teenage" female locusts who had yet to reach full berserk maturity.
- Ragers appear in Aftermath. They may have simply been retconned into the entire series. Several different types of Locust as well as a few weapons that did not show up until the second or third game have been in both Judgment and RAAM's Shadow, so we can assume this is the case for all of them.
- BFG: Virtually every gun in the game is oversized, and it wouldn't do to list every gun that isn't a sidearm here, so we'll just list the most notable:
- The Retro Lancer, (the one on the right) a rifle with a bayonet the size of a cutlass that looks like a hybrid of an FN-SCAR-H and an M60, which could double as a mounted machine-gun turret when a few are strapped together.
- The Boomshot, an enormous grenade launcher with a 60mm bore that shoots grenades in four-round bursts.
- The One-Shot, which can only be described as a sniper cannon.
- The Mulcher and Vulcan Cannon, which are both man-portable miniguns.
- Big Bad: Myrrah. Note that Epic Games use the term "Big Bad" to refer to the final bosses of each game (General RAAM in the first, and Skorge in the second), but they are more like Dragons in trope-speak.
- Bigger Bad: Imulsion itself, which is really a single, planet-wide parasitic organism, and has, aside from causing the wars on the surface due to being a "miracle fuel" that every Seran wants, also forced the Locust to expand to the surface and ignited the Locust War with lambency.
- Big Damn Heroes:
- Cole has a one man Big Damn Heroes moment in Gears of War 2. Dom has one in Gears of War 3, albeit one that doubles as a Heroic Sacrifice.
- Clayton shows up during the final battle of Gears of War 3 in a King Raven and starts tearing into the Lambent and Therons with a gatling gun. He gets shot down by Myrrah's Tempest but survives.
- The Command Center fortification for Horde 2.0 gives you the opportunity to call in support, starting with a quick sniper support and being able to upgrade through mortars and the Hammer of Dawn. Unsurprisingly it is quite satisfying to call in for help and see the screen light up with kills.
- Big NO: The major one in the entire series is the one Marcus gives when he realizes that Dom's rescue of Delta Squad from the Lambent horde will end in Dom's death.
- Biological Weapons Solve Everything: An eleventh-hour cure is also used to destroy both the Locust and the Lambent.
- Bittersweet Ending: The second and third games feature victory and ultimately survival, but at a great cost. Myrrah is dead, the Lambent are destroyed for good, and the last stand of organized Locust falls, yet Marcus has lost his best friend Dom and his father Adam Fenix in the struggle. Not to mention that most of humanity is gone, what's left already has limited resources, and the vast majority of the planet's surface was destroyed and is largely unusable. Cynically lampshaded by him in the (chronologically) final game's final line of dialogue:
Marcus: What's left, Anya? What have we got left now?
Anya: Tomorrow, Marcus. We've finally got a tomorrow!
- Black and Gray Morality: The more the Expanded Universe sheds light on the COG, the less light you want shed on them.
- Black Dude Dies First: Although subverted and never stated outright, Marcus is seemingly paranoid of this in the first game. Every time he orders Delta Squad to split up, he never tells Cole to come with him. By the second game he appears to be over this and does have Cole come with him. In fact, Cole, Jace Stratton and Samantha, all dark-skinned people of color, make it out of the trilogy alive. Dom doesn't.
- Blade Brake: General RAAM does one after falling from his first Reaver in RAAM's Shadow.
- Blatant Item Placement: The game is based around cover after all, but there are times when bombs specifically reducing buildings to chest-high walls becomes very obvious.
- Blood Sport
- The fictional Thrashball is more tame than most examples, but it still requires players to wear some fairly heavy armor, and management discourages but does not ban acts like "accidentally" stomping on prone opponents or "accidentally" punching opponents in the face, neck, or groin when diving for a catch. It's worth noting that Cole broke nearly every record the sport offered, including the most number of injuries in one play.
- In Gears of War 3, there is a small Easter egg where you can peek in through a window and see a group of Savage Locust watching a cockfight between Feral Tickers.
- Body-Count Competition: At one point in Gears of War 2, Marcus and Dom see a long line of Locust drones walking far below them. Dom makes a comment about practicing with their sniper rifles, and for each successive kill, Marcus numbers his kills.
"That's one." BLAM!
"That's two." BLAM!
"That's four!" BLAM!
- Body Horror: Quite a bit in the games, and tons of it in the Expanded Universe. Not to mention the Gorn.
- Bond One-Liner: "Look, ma, no face..." and many more.
- Bond Villain Stupidity: In 3 Myrrah discovers Delta Squad emerging from the underground corpser nest while she is riding her flying, death-dealing beetle. This thing is so vicious that it is ultimately the big boss fight of the game. Instead of attacking them with it while they are cornered in a box canyon, she calls some piss-weak Shriekers to do it and flies away.
- Book Ends:
- The opening of Gears of War 3 is very similar to the opening scene of Gears of War, only Dom's role is filled by Anya instead and there are Lambent Polyps instead of Locust Wretches. It turns out this is simply a Flashback Nightmare.
- In another case, spanning outside of the games, the original advertisement for Gears of War features Gary Jules' cover of "Mad World". Fast forward several years to Gears of War 3 and an instrumental version of the song plays during Dom's Heroic Sacrifice.
- Bowdlerise: A rare in game example. A feature in games 2 and 3 gives the player the ability to turn off the blood, gore and strong language in the campaign and multiplayer, despite being Rated M for Manly.
- Breaking the Fourth Wall
- After losing a multiplayer match on the COG side in Gears of War 2, Chairman Prescott will deride you. He might say: "Reload, refocus, respawn!".
- Failing an active reload and causing the gun to jam as Griffin in multiplayer in Gears of War 3 may have him say "Fuckin' noob!", clearly at you.
- Bullfight Boss: Berserkers
- Bulletproof Human Shield: Anyone can take an enemy as one if they have been downed (see Critical Existence Failure). The game considers an enemy dead by all means, meaning there's no way to help them while they are being held (in multiplayer, their respawn timer starts), and when they are no longer held, they're practically a corpse. Maybe justified due to the armor all Gears wear, as well as the Locust being naturally tough.
- Calling Your Attacks:
- Boomers and their many variants (Grinders, Maulers, Flamers and Butchers) always yell out an attack-related phrase (i.e. "Boom!" for Boomshot-wielding Boomers and "Grind!" for Mulcher-wielding Grinders) before opening fire. This is a good tell that lets you know when to Take Cover.
- Every character does this when they announce they are throwing a grenade.
- Camp Unsafe Isn't Safe Anymore: In Gears of War 2, a Stranded says the surface isn't safe anymore. The Locust, Kryll-infested, razor hail suffering surface.
- Canned Orders Over Loudspeaker: In Gears of War 2 you can hear Myrrah spouting Locust propaganda in the later Nexus levels. Once Delta Squad finds a microphone, they offer a rebuttal.
- Canon Immigrant: Jace was an Expanded Universe character who got an audio cameo in Gears of War 2 and apperances in the graphic novels. He shows up as part of Delta Squad in Gears of War 3. Likewise Samantha and Bernie first appeared in the novels, and are fully playable in the Gears of War 3 campaign. In a variation, Michael Barrick, who was Killed Off for Real in the comics, is available via Downloadable Content. Alex Brand is also going to be a skin in Gears of War Judgment.
- Captain Obvious: Dom becomes this in Gears of War 2. This is the title that goes with the onyx "Spotter" medal in Gears of War 3.
- Celebrity Survivor: Cole. In the third game, you go back to his hometown and even fight through his old stadium.
- Chainsaw Good: The Lancer assault rifle, with the aforementioned chainsaw bayonet. Not to be outdone, Skorge in Gears of War 2 wields a staff with chainsaws on both ends. The canon reason for this is the natural toughness of Locust hides led to bayonets being worthless. The Real Life reason is Cliff Blezinski had always had a dream of a gun with a chainsaw on it.
- Chekhov's Gun
- Imulsion irradiated wretches called "Lambent Wretches" in the first game return with a new angle in the second.
- Dom's combat knife in Gears of War 3.
- Chekhov's Gunman: Adam Fenix
- Chunky Salsa Rule: In Execution Mode of multiplayer, if an enemy is downed, all further damage inflicted from beyond a certain distance away is negated; you have to get close to them in order to finish them off. There are some exceptions, however: aside from the typical explosives, shooting the victim's head with a pistol, shotgun, or sniping weapon will blow their head off, finishing them off from any distance.
- Clipped Wing Angel: The final boss of Gears of War 2 is a regular Brumak who walks into Imulsion and mutates into a massive Lovecraftian Lambent Brumak. It's basically a giant tree that stands still in one spot, and lasts all of 2 or 3 seconds as you vaporize it with the Hammer of Dawn.
- Color-Coded for Your Convenience: COG forces have subtle blue highlights on their armor, and have blue lights on their weapons. The Locust focus more on reddish and bloody colors, and have red lights on their weapons. What makes it really funny is the colored lights on the weapons and even on vehicles immediately change color depending on whether a COG or Locust is using it. Justified in fluff as the lights are called "COG Identification Markers" and since the Locust are ripping off COG technology as much as they can, the lights on the weapons would be changed by them too.
- The Comically Serious: Marcus. The guy never cracks a smile. He does smirk occasionally, but it certainly isn't meant to be a "nice" smirk. Word of God states Marcus pretty much never smiles. Even at his birthday party, he didn't smile when they gave him the cake.
- Command Roster: Technically, until the third game most of the group consists of multiple squads, largely Alpha and Delta. But they still come together sometime into the story and stay together as though they were one group.
- The First Game
- The Second Game
- The Third Game
- The Captain - Marcus
- Number Two - Dom, Cole also takes on a leadership role when out looking for supplies
- The Scientist - Baird again
- Mr. Fixit - Baird and Dizzy
- The Marine - Cole, Jace and Carmine (Clay)
- Friendly Sniper - Sam
- The Medic - Anya
- Communications Officer - Anya
- Mission Control - Switches up depending on who is out in the action. Anya, Bernie, Baird, Dizzy and Adam Fenix all take on this role.
- Reasonable Authority Figure - Hoffman, Marcus also seemed to have a lot of respect for Captain Michaelson.
- Obstructive Bureaucrat - Prescott, although in this case he was trying to undo all the government secrets he had been hiding
- Compilation Re-release: The Gears of War Triple Pack, which bundles the first two games, as well as the "All Fronts" map pack.
- The Computer Is a Cheating Bastard:
- Skorge is a fairly tough boss only because he's unaffected by any form of attack other than a chainsaw duel. It's certainly there to show off the new chainsaw duel feature but it comes across as a frustrating Gameplay and Story Segregation. It's not a terribly difficult fight otherwise, unless you're bad at dodging falling pillars, ink grenades, and Tickers. The pillars don't just fall in a straight line: you have to run to the other side of the hall, because these things will alter the direction of its fall to the point that it will somehow fall completely horizontally from a vertical position to kill you.
- Insane difficulty is just a license for the game to be a cheating bastard.
- This can actually be used to the player's advantage in campaign. AI squadmates never run out of ammo and can trade weapons with the player. This means that players can trade empty power weapons like the Torque Bow and Boomshot to an NPC, wait for the NPC to reload it, then take it back. Alternately, just give all your squadmates Boomshots and watch the carnage.
- Continuity Cameo: Marcus makes an audio cameo in Judgement when it's revealed he is part of the battle of Halvo Bay, although not mentioned by name it is quite clear who he is supposed to be. Interestingly, his voice is noticeably less scratchy than the later games and is a little more in line with his voice from the first Gears game.
- Continuity Nod / Call Back:
- Gears of War 2 explicitly refers to things said in the last game as jokes to each other. Therefore...
- It seems like half the dialogue with Benjamin are nods to his brother Anthony's death.
- Clayton himself is one towards his brothers. During the trek at Hanover, he gets shot in the helmet by a sniper rifle, but survives unlike Anthony; ironically, he tells the shooter he's lucky that he wears a helmet. Later, he seemingly dies in a Raven crash similar to Benjamin's but survives.
- At the Lethia Imulsion Facility in Gears of War, Marcus tells Cole, "I'll take that under advisement". In the sequel, when Delta Squad starts debating on rescuing the Stranded in Mount Kadar, Cole tells Baird, "This is the part where he tells you he'll take it under advisement".
- "Don't start with that juice shit again!"
- "Hey, Colonel, I guess we ARE the support, huh."
- "Yeah, but he [Skorge] made RAAM look like a goddamn pushover."
- The third game's campaign opens with a scene almost identical to the prologue of the first, down to identical dialogue, with Anya in place of Dom.
- One of the earliest collectable pickups in the third game is twenty bucks that Dom owed Marcus from when they bet on a Thrashball game Cole was in. The money is a few years too late, and currency is pretty valueless with no governments left to honor it, but the thought still counts.
- Dom wears a combat knife on his armor during all three campaigns. It isn't used until Mercy, when Dom lets Marcus borrow it to un-jam a lever. Marcus stabs Myrrah with it in the final scene of Gears of War 3, saying it was for Dom, and everyone else she killed.
- A RAAM's Shadow achievement "Foreshadowing" requires players in multiplayer to execute opponents playing as Kim while using General RAAM as a skin, calling back to the same event in Gears of War.
- Convenient Color Change: Gun color changes depending on the holder.
- Copy Protection: Cliff Bleszinski has stated with no small amount of vitriol that piracy of Gears of War stopped any chance of Gears of War 2 on the PC.
- What Could Have Been: Players hhacking into an FPS made by an Epic-affiliated Chinese company, Passion Leading Army, discovered scripts of ''GOW2'' that indicated the developement had already went into advanced stages.
- Corpse Land: The area where the Hammer of Dawn was used on the Locust to halt their attacks. In a disturbing mirror of Pompeii, there are ashen remain of every man, woman and child who were unable to reach the safe zone.
- Crapsack World: Sera is reduced to a total hellhole in the aftermath of the Human-Locust War; the planet's surface has been scorched to cinders and its water sources contaminated by orbital Hammer of Dawn bombardment, nerve gas killed whatever the satellites didn't, fallout from the end of Gears of War causes terminal respiratory illness in the survivors, all the human cities have been destroyed, and according to the official tie-in novels, 99% of the human population was killed in the war. Becomes a World Half Full at the end of Gears Of War 3 though. The Locust and Lambent are all dead, the parasite in Imulsion is destroyed, and the world actually has a future now, as it is implied that humanity can now recover.
- Critical Existence Failure:
- Played straight to an extent, as explosives will blow apart someone when it kills them, but not if the damage isn't enough. The games use invisible Hit Points, and when characters lose them, they become "down, but not out" in multiplayer, meaning they can only lay on the ground to bleed to death unless someone revives them, or they are finished off. Enemies can be downed in the campaign (though not always); likewise, so can characters. In Gears of War 2, downed players can crawl away instead of being totally immobile. Curiously, bots that manage to get chainsawed in the campaign will generally be downed. The same is not true of players who are chainsawed. This is likely to compensate for Artificial Stupidity.
- Generally, any explosive that is in range to damage a downed player will gib them.
- Troika gun turrets cut the player off at the knees or otherwise splatter them into Ludicrous Gibs in two seconds. Just getting grazed by one is Only a Flesh Wound, however. Fortunately, this is averted by the turrets in the third game, and you'll go down first before dying to them.
- Cross Playing: Enforced Trope for male gamers, as Gears of War 3 has playable female characters for the first time and a medal for playing as them in a very large number of matches (required for 100% Completion). Also, Queen Myrrah is the Locust leader in the Capture the Leader mode.
- Custom Uniform: There are some slight variations in the armor designs between major characters (regular COG Gears look exactly like Carmine), but in the first two games they were all similar enough that it was likely there was some mild customizable options (Dom has a shoulder light and combat knife to distinquish him from Marcus). In Gears of War 3, everyone has made significant alterations to their armor that takes it further away from being a uniform, including color coding. Marcus has orange highlights, Cole green and Baird blue as always. Hoffman has several medal-like markings on his suit to represent his command authority.
- Cute Monster Girl:
- Heavily subverted with the female Locust Berserkers, vicious and fugly 10-foot tall stone-skinned monsters.
- Played straight in Gears of War 2 with the Locust Queen Myrrah, who strangely looks like a human woman wearing a squid on her back. Although this appears to be a plot point, this is never explained in game. On the forums, it was revealed that Myrrah was a child of one of the scientists of the New Hope facility. The facility she was in got destroyed, with her being the only survivor. She ended up leading the children of the Sires, which were the first Locust.
- Damn You, Muscle Memory: It will become quickly apparent to those who play Judgment that People Can Fly thought the button scheme that worked for THREE WHOLE GAMES was not good enough anymore. Many shouts of angry frustration were yelled when trying to use TAC/COM (Right Bumper in Gears 1-3) instead threw your grenade. The D-Pad was once used for switching between weapons is now used for your TAC/COM, and the Y button now used for swapping weapons.
- Dark Action Girl: Myrrah, the Locust Queen, takes to frontlines in Gears Of War 3, heaving stripped herself of her squid-dress from the second game. In fact, her combat outfit looks very nice, too. She acts as the Locust leader in multiplayer.
- Darker and Edgier: Gears of War 2 carries a darker, more personal story than the last, with various named characters dying, though none of them came from the original game, but were advertised as being in the sequel. Gears of War 3 takes this Up to Eleven.
- Darkness Equals Death: The Kryll in the first game are a race of near-unstoppable flesh-eating bats who swarm anything not covered in light. It made this true for pretty much anywhere dark.
- Deadly Fireworks Display
- The Lambent Brumak in the second game.
- Most of the large Lambent in the third game, particularly Lambent Berserkers and Gunkers.
- Deadpan Snarker: Marcus, though his general attitude is The Comically Serious and exacerbated with a voice that occasionally sounds like Eeyore. Baird plays this trope the straightest. By the third game, it escalates into World of Snark, with everyone throwing insults and one-liners at each other.
- Deal with the Devil: Adam Fenix makes one with Queen Myrrah before the events of the trilogy. Myrrah promised Adam that she would not invade Sera should he find a way to destroy the Lambent. He fails to do so, thus Myrrah is forced to kick-start the Human-Locust War.
- Its highly, highly implied she was going to do it anyway.
- Death from Above:
- The Hammer of Dawn satellite laser, required to use with a laser marker.
- In Horde 2.0 the Command Center fortification allows you to upgrade to calling in a mortar or Hammer of Dawn strike. Since you have no direct control over where it drops, it can surprise both you and your teammates.
- Death or Glory Attack: The Sawed-Off Shotgun. It has only one shot per reload and one of the longest reloads in the game, and its kill range is shorter than the Gnasher. So if you miss your shot, you are in deep, deep trouble. That said, it deals enough damage to one-shot anything up to a Reaver (on lower difficulties, whereas the Gnasher can only One-Hit KO up to a boomer).
- Death World: Sera. Even the weather is trying to kill you.
- Degraded Boss: Gameplay-wise, Grinders are essentially weaker versions of General RAAM with less health and no Kryll protecting it. Story-wise, they're two entirely different beasts (RAAM's an ascended Theron Guard while Grinders are Boomers with a Mulcher), yet their tactics are more or less the same.
- Deliberate Values Dissonance: Word of God states the reason women typically weren't COG infantry is because fertile women were needed for a more important duty vital to the survival of the human species. Infertile women, on the other hand, were sent straight to combat duty; if Alex Brand is any example, they make sure they really are infertile first. The dissonance also applies in-universe as Marcus clearly states to Alex that some of the practices implied by this trope are not one he agrees with by any means. Brand, for her part, decides while she should and is justified in being judgemental and pissed, when the fate of what remains of humanity is on the line, holding a grudge is probably not the best thing for everyone; she'll wait until after. It's stated outright in the novels that Anya can't have children, but never stated one way or the other for Sam, who is at least 32 during Gears 3.
- Didn't See That Coming: Kilo Squad was this to General Karn (a brilliant strategist), with a little bit of Spanner in the Works thrown in as well. Everything would have been almost perfect for karn if only Kilo had followed orders.
- Disproportionate Retribution: Not only is Marcus' abandoning his post to save his father considered the worst form of treason, but the manual states Dom was demoted for daring to defend him in his trial. Justified as disobeying orders and what not is generally a bad thing in the military for a variety of reasons, as well as the fact Marcus leaving his post with the Hammer of Dawn targeting laser lost a good chunk of Jacinto.
- Do-Anything Robot: JACK is a much more subtle version. It's equipped with various devices for communications and repairs but is primarily used to burn the locks off doors and hacking terminals. In Gears of War 3, Baird gives it an upgrade late in the game allowing it to shock and stun enemies.
- Does This Remind You of Anything?: Niles of the top-secret New Hope outpost is obsessed with cleanliness, despite the place being very unclean, and seems to be practicing some rather amoral experiments for the good of our future. Sounds very much like the "scientist devoted to a certain fascist government's advancement" type; even lampshaded by Dom, saying the place looks like "...an internment camp."
- Double Entendre: "RAAM's Shadow" has a particularly snicker-worthy one.
Valera: Thanks for the assist.
Barrick: You know me, Val... I'm always watching your ass.
- Dressing as the Enemy: Subverted. Marcus briefly mentions doing this to sneak into the Nexus in Gears of War 2, but he and Dom decide to go in guns blazing instead as revenge for Maria. Can be played straight in the "Deleted Scene" DLC if you can take the sneaky option.
- Driven to Suicide: Tai Kaliso was captured by the Locust in Gears of War 2. When he's found, we see him covered in large cuts and wounds. Marcus hands him a shotgun to arm himself so they can move on, but Tai shoots himself in the head with it. The damage is not seen.
- Drought Level of Doom: The first half of Gears Of War 3 is an example, mainly if playing with 4 players. Especially during the segment where you control Cole's team. Weapons are scarce, half the Lambent don't use guns, everyone will be using the same ammo, and most enemies are rather durable. You will find yourself low on ammo a fair amount of the time. Once you start running into more standard enemies from the rest of the series., guns and ammo become much more common.
- Dynamic Entry: In the first two games Locust can enter the game space via Emergence Holes, stable channels to their tunnel network. However in the third game, they do away with that and practically explode out of the ground. There is an award for taking out a Locust while it's airborne.
- Early-Bird Cameo: Some of the Locust were seen in promotional renders of the Unreal Engine 3 before the game was announced. Likewise, some of the character designs in Unreal Tournament III are close enough to be predecessors of the various Gears.
- Earn Your Happy Ending: In Gears of War 3, despite Marcus' cynicism at the end of the game, Anya heartwarmingly tells him mankind has earned its tomorrow.
- Easter Egg: There are a bunch of silly gags that can be found, such as a toaster ("Who wants toast!"), a cowboy hat wearing Corpser and a giant Lambent chicken!
- Elaborate Underground Base: The Hollow and Nexus
- Eldritch Abomination: The Lambent, especially the Lambent Brumak and Drudges. For Druges if they take too much damage but do not die, they will either mutate into three different forms ( Mutation 1 is when its head surges upwards as its neck elongates, forming a thick serpent-like appendage. The head itself mutates into a gaping triangular mouth, which could spray a stream of Imulsion at close-medium range, causing significant damage to enemies. Even when it is killed, the head would continue to function, acting like a snake-like predator on the hunt for enemies (hence the term "Headsnake").; Mutation 2 is when its arms mutate into grotesque, over-elongated limbs with giant claws.; Mutation 3 is when its legs grow in length and fused together to form a trunk, which placed the upper body on an high pedestal above the battle.).
- Elevator Floor Announcement:
- Elite Mooks: In the first game it was Theron Guards, tougher Locust Drones with the Torque Bow. In the second game it is the Kantus Priest, wielding a semi-auto pistol, can heal enemy troops and can summon explosive Tickers. In the third game it is the Armored Kantus, immune to virtually any small arms fire and thus requiring explosives to take down
- Enemy Civil War: Gears of War 2 reveal the struggle of the Locust Horde against the insane Lambent Locust mutants. Not much use to the player, as the game mostly has them both trying to kill you instead of fighting each other. This is made MUCH more prevalent in the third game.
- Epic Flail:
- Bolo Grenades are really explosive maces. Epic Flail indeed, though they can only be used to blow things up, and the melee animation to stick grenades onto enemies looks like a swing, but it doesn't do any damage aside from sticking the grenade and watching them explode spectacularly.
- Played absolutely straight with Maulers. These Boomer variants with Boomshields and heavy armor carry what appear to be larger versions of Bolo Grenades. Much larger...and reusable...and they don't throw them: they simply run up and hit you explosively with it.
- Establishing Character Moment: Nearly everyone of Delta Squad gets their moment, but no one beats Cole's introduction in the first two games. The first game has him challenging an entire squad of Locust by himself until he gets reinforcements. In the second game, well, he is the reinforcements. Nobody stops the Cole Train, baby!
- Expository Gameplay Limitation: The game limits the player's movement to a slow walk in places to allow dialogue to play out.
- The Faceless:
- The Locust Queen Myrrah, up until 75% of the second game, that is.
- The Carmines play the straighter example: each bear a striking family resemblance... considering their tendency to wear helmets. The third game actively teases us with it: the final scene actually shows Clayton picking up his helmet, dusting it off, and putting it on... without showing his face.
- In multiplayer if a COG soldier or one of the Carmines receives a headshot it can cause the head to split in two down the middle. You can see their faces using the Ghost Camera.
- Face-Revealing Turn: In Gears of War 3, the group enters Mercy, which is mysteriously desolate and the sole survivor they find is quickly killed by unseen monsters. Eventually in the sewers, they find a sobbing woman, and when Marcus approaches she turns and screams, revealed to be a Lambent human, setting the level as a Zombie Apocalypse.
- Fake Longevity: The first game has achievements for 100 multiplayer games with a kill with each weapon and 10,000 multiplayer kills in total. Gears of War 2 takes it to ludicrous extremes with "Party Like It's 1999" for playing that many multiplayer rounds (with or without bots, and with or without even being online) and "Seriously 2.0", which requires 100,000 total kills across all game modes. For reference, playing through the campaign once gets you about 1000 kills. The third game takes this Up to Eleven, introducing several longevity awards with absurd requirements: the "Doorman" medal requires you to grind opening doors, which would take dozens if not hundreds of campaign run-throughs to achieve; the "Allfathers" medal requires you to play 15000 matches (not rounds, matches) of multiplayer; the Founder ribbon requires you to be the one who founds the first base in Horde 2.0 hundreds of times, and so on. In addition, this article details how "Seriously 3.0" in Gears of War 3 might be the toughest achievement to ever unlock.
- The Federation: The COG is actually a subversion, despite coming across at times like both The Alliance and Multinational Team. In its aesthetics, politics and culture, it's more along the lines of The Empire, at least before Emergence Day.
- Five-Man Band
- The Hero - Marcus
- The Lancer - Dom, Jace after Dom's death.
- The Big Guy - Cole, Clayton in Gears of War 3 at times. Some Stranded even refer to Cole as "the big guy," during one mission.
- The Smart Guy - Baird, who lampshades this by explicitly identifying himself as "the smart guy".
- The Chick - Anthony and Benjamin in their respective games, Samantha and Anya in Gears of War 3.
- Team Pet - Jack
- Done again with a different band in "RAAM's Shadow":
- Five-Token Band: It's actually pretty well done to where it doesn't seem like marking off a checklist. Cole, Franklin, Jace and Griffin are all black, Dom and Maria are Hispanic, Tai is Samoan, Kim is Asian, and Sam is Ambiguously Brown. The majority of other characters wear helmets.
- Finishing Move: Characters who've lost their Hit Points will often be incapacitated instead of killed, allowing for a stress relieving curb stomp. The second game introduced unique finishers with individual weapons. The third takes it up to eleven where you can continue them to gain more experience as well as giving each weapon an unlockable special execution.
- Flamethrower Backfire: Flamethrower Locust mooks go up in flames after a few shots to their fuel tank. The Player Characters thankfully have no need for the thing.
- Follow the Leader: Gears of War inspired a wave of third-person shooters and/or Take Cover games that is still ongoing, like Army of Two, Mass Effect and Transformers: War for Cybertron. Similarly, it's also almost unthinkable these days to play a shooter without a "Horde"-inspired 'endless waves of enemies' mode.
- In Gears of War 3, a shot of Adam from behind in his lab zooms out and lingers on a vial of Imulsion and a syringe behind him before the game returns to Delta Squad. Adam states later he had to inject himself with Imulsion in the creation of his superweapon, and knows fully well that activating it will kill him.
- In Gears of War 3, an early level features Marcus in a dream defending his father. Take a look at everyone in that dream. Two are already dead, two will die, and two will survive. Have fun guessing.
- For Massive Damage: The Lambent have glowing tumor-like growths of Imulsion in their chests or stomachs that serve as targets to quickly kill them. Shooting Drudges in their growths is the only way to take one down without it metamorphing into a nastier variant after taking enough damage.
- Four-Temperament Ensemble: Marcus is Choleric, Dom is Melancholy, Baird is Phlegmatic, Cole is Sanguine.
- From Bad to Worse:
- Let's just go over life on Sera for Humans. First, Immulsion is discovered, which seems to be a solution to any possible energy crises... until nations start warring endlessly to get it, resulting in the creation of various superweapons like Kill Sats. Then, just when peace starts to happen, the Locust invade most major cities on the planet, killing millions. Then the COG deploys aforementioned Kill Sats onto most of the planet, wiping out most of everything. If you survived that, then you have the emergence of the Lambent to deal with, and the fact that Immulsion itself is sentient and trying to kill us all. Things do start looking up in the end of Gears of War 3, though.
- Most of the plot of the series is like this too. First game has humanity having been driven into the Jacinto Plateau with the Locust holding all the territory around them. The next game, despite causing significant damage with the Lightmass Bomb, has the COG suffering from an outbreak of rustlung due to all of the vaporized Imulsion, not to mention the Locust are starting to dig through Jacinto. That ends with the Hollow flooded, but the survivors of Jacinto homeless. Gears of War 3 had the COG dissolved between the time of 2 and 3, with humanity scattered around Sera in isolated pockets fighting the remains of the Locust and the Lambent. When you get to Mercy in 3, the whole level is nothing but this.
- Fungus Humongous: The Inner Hollow in Gears Of War 2 has mushrooms that are slightly shorter than Delta Squad, and some slimy stuff on the walls that might be fungi.
- Funny Background Event: A Black Comedy example. In "RAAM's Shadow", Zeta team discovers the remains of an evacuation center in a high school gym. Among the carnage is a charred body jammed in a basketball hoop.
The Books provide examples of:
- Animal Reaction Shot: Bernie's dog Mac gets a few of these.
- Ate His Gun: General Bardry Salaman, who was unable to live with himself after having helped carry out the Hammer of Dawn counterattack. At least, that's the cover story that was given for his relocation to Azura.
- The Atoner: Hoffman. He feels horrible about leaving Marcus to die in prison, but can't bring himself to apologize. He makes up for it by ignoring Marcus and Anya breaking regulations and having a relationship.
- Bad Ass: A ton, just like the games, but some notable ones are Captian Miran Trescu and Major Helena Stroud, both of whom most of the other characters really admire for their fighting skills.
- Child Soldiers: Delta captures a fifteen-year old Stranded insurgent on Vectes, though Baird insists that his age makes him an adult.
- Continuity Nod: Many between all the books. Considering that each is written by the same author and each has a flashback storyline and one set in the present that relate to each other, it really isn't any surpise.
- Could Have Avoided This Plot: At one point Queen Myrrah remarks that the Locust could have cooperated with the Humans to save both species, but decided to go to total war instead because supposedly Humans Are the Real Monsters who "only understand dominance and ownership". Not to mention violent to an extreme. Then again, if you first encountered the Seran humans after 100 years of war (and untold years before hand of unrest) which included nukes and kill sats on their own species, you might be a little wary of approaching them as a completely different species altogether.
- Crapsack World: If the games didn't make it clear, the horrible event in the books really will show how terrible a place Sera is, even before the Locust emerged.
- Deadpan Snarker: A lot of the characters, but Baird does it the most.
- December-December Romance: Hoffman and Bernie.
- Fantastic Racism:
- While the townspeople of Pelruan and the Gorasini have every reason to hate Stranded, thats no reason to be mean to and attack Dizzy and his daughters.
- The COG also heavily discriminated against any non-COG ethnic groups, and even some of those allied with them.
- Gunship Rescue: Many times, just like in the games. Subverted once as well: during a Lambent assault on Pelruan, KR-33 attempts to take out a mutated Leviathan. It's quickly destroyed by the Leviathan shooting explosive polyps at it.
- Heroic BSOD: Friendly Sniper Padrick Salton begins suffering one after the death of his spotter. It becomes even worse after he scouted the areas hit by the Hammer of Dawn counterattack that killed most of the human population.
- Heroic Sacrifice: During the Battle of Aspho Fields, Helena Stroud, Anya's mother, sacrifices herself to take out an Indie anti-aircraft vehicle so COG air support could assist in the battle. Somewhat averted in that she didn't mean to die on the Asp; her armor just caught on the vehicle, which exploded before she could cut herself free.
- Jerk with a Heart of Gold: Baird. However much he may claim he doesn't care about anyone else but himself and maybe Cole, he sure takes a lot of risks he doesn't need to for others, and even attempts to comfort them in his own unique Jerk Ass way.
- Killed Off for Real: Helena Stroud, Rory Andresen, Bai Tak, Carlos Santiago
- La Résistance: The Union of Independent Republics to the COG.
- Ludicrous Gibs: Whats happens to Helena Stroud and Carlos Santiago.
- Machete Mayhem: The Pesanga scouts are fond of this.
- Professional Butt-Kisser: Major Aleksander Reid will do anything to get in Chairman Richard Prescotts good graces.
- Rape as Backstory: Bernadette Mataki, with Angst? What Angst? in regards to it on her part. Or so she claims.
- Roaring Rampage of Revenge: Bernie went on one against her rapists. She got real good with using her knife during it.
- Skeleton Government: Basically all that is left of the government 15 years after E-Day is Prescott.
- What Happened to the Mouse?: Federic Rojas was a young Gear who joined Delta in Aspho Fields, and the younger brother of a Gear in Gears of War 1 who was in Alpha Squad. He is never mentioned in any of the books or comics that take place after it.
- You Say Tomato: Bernie is questioned about her accent several times, mostly about saying "arse" instead of "ass".
The Comics provide examples of:
- Bad Ass
- Disposable Pilot: Delta's Raven pilot gets blown up in his cockpit, prompting Jace Stratton to take the controls and sort-of land the chopper.
- Does Not Like Men: Most members of the Grievious Bodily Love, with good reason.
- Exactly What It Says on the Tin: The Stranded town of Fucked. "That's what this place is, so that's what we call it."
- Eyepatch of Power: Lt.Draper
- Guns Akimbo: Happens several times, most notably with Michael Barrick and shotguns.
- Heroic Sacrifice:
- Michael Barrick stays behind in the Hollow to allow the rest of Delta Squad to escape.
- Matron detonates a bomb in Jilane to allow Delta to escape with the survivors of a Locust massacare.
- Samus is a Girl: Alex Brand, which surprises Delta after she saves them from a sniper nest.