1 Days Left to Support a Troper-Created Project : Personal Space (discuss)

Video Game / Gears of War
aka: Gears Of War 3

Brothers to the end.

Gears of War is a tactical Third-Person Shooter video game developed by Epic Games and published by Microsoft 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.

In January 2014, Microsoft officially purchased the rights to the Gears of War franchise from Epic Games, officially becoming an internal, first-party property. They handed the reins of the franchise over to Black Tusk Studios, which would go on to rename themselves "The Coalition" (a reference to in-game mythology, following the trend of official Halo developer 343 Industries). Their first work on the series was a remastered version of the first game titled Gears of War: Ultimate Edition was released August 2015 for Xbox One and PC (via the Windows 10 Store) March 2016. The first original work from The Coalition will be the fourth core installment to the Gears of War series, due for a late 2016 launch.

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.

The game was remastered for the Xbox One under the title Gears of War: Ultimate Edition, with a graphical overhaul to bring it up visually to the later games in the series, done in the same vein as the work for The Master Chief Collection. The remaster even got a new "Mad World" trailer.

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 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.

The final Gears of War installment developed by Epic Games, released March 19, 2013. It is a 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 and Bulletstorm. 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.

Gears of War 4


Kait: I'm beginning to think we're not the hunters anymore...

Announced at E3 2015 with a release date of October 11, 2016, it is the first original work of official Gears developer, The Coalition. Like Gears 3, it will have a multiplayer beta, which will be available on April 18 to anyone who has played Ultimate Edition, April 25 to the general public, and will end on May 1.

The game is set 25 years after Gears 3. The main character is JD Fenix, the son of Marcus and Anya, who first ran away from home to join the COG against his father's wishes and later went AWOL from the COG after being involved in some kind of Noodle Incident that will apparently be explained in the game. He is joined by his Black Best Friend and obvious Dom-Expy Delmont "Del" Walker, who went AWOL along with him after being involved in the same incident; and Kait Diaz, a young girl who is one of the Outsiders, essentially the new version of Stranded, though it's confirmed that the COG-Outsider relationship will be different from the COG-Stranded one. The campaign will have 2-player co-op, with the second player getting a choice between either Del or Kait. Other confirmed characters are Reyna, Kait's mother and leader of the Outsiders; and Oscar, Kait's uncle, a former Gear, and an expert survivalist (level of craziness not yet confirmed).

The enemy faction is the Swarm, who are just as unknown to the characters as they are to the players. Since JD and Del are defectors, the COG will function as secondary antagonists who may or may not actually engage you in combat, but certainly won't be helping you out either way. However, the biggest enemy in the game is probably going to be the weather. Adam Fenix's weapon at the end of Gears 3 apparently had the nasty side effect of turning Sera's already-deadly weather Up to Eleven, and throughout the game the trio will encounter "wind flares", essentially fire and lightning inside a tornado. The strong winds will even affect the trajectory of bullets and thrown grenades. Also, it's been implied that they happen at random, not at predetermined points in the story. Multiplayer, however, seems safe from deadly weather (at least for now).

The game is bringing back some of the horror and suspense elements of Gears 1, rifles such as the Hammerburst and Lancer now have stocks, and the latter has an attached flashlight to assist in navigating through dark areas (looks like Dom got his wish). Also, the Gnasher now has a rack of shotgun shells on it, which serves no purpose other than looking cool. Two new weapons revealed are the Buzzkill, which rapidly fires buzzsaws as long as the trigger is pressed, which bounce off walls and can easily kill the wielder if it is fired in a small room; and the Dropshot, which launches a drill similar to a Digger Launcher, except it travels above the ground for as long as the trigger is held, falling down to the ground and exploding when the trigger is released. Characters now possess the ability to whip out a knife and stab an enemy for an instant kill, either after performing a mantle kick or reaching over a piece of cover to pull the enemy over to their side (another newly added ability).

The story will take place over the course of one night as humanity has its first encounter with the Swarm, who have shown up out of the blue and started abducting people, and the three try to find out more about these new monsters and their motivations. It's already been confirmed to have a cliffhanger ending.

Watch the trailer.
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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     Tropes A-F 
  • 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 turned her into a catatonic Empty Shell who does not respond to Dom at all. 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 Brilliance: Judging by the beta so far, Gears 4 is aiming to achieve this. Bots in general are much smarter than in the previous games, with them intelligently taking cover and firing around and over it to kill you and enemies instead of charging out in the open and actually attempt to get away from you if you rush them from the side of their cover; in direct contrast with Gears 3 bots that would stupidly stare at you from cover even on Insane if you walked up to them. However, the improved A.I. is the most noticeable in the Co-op Team Deathmatch mode, which pits a team of players against a team of Hardcore-level bots. The bots play very disturbingly like real players! They will employ nearly identical tactics that players do, firing at you with rifles from a distance as you rush to the power weapons and have shotgun battles with you when you close in on them. They even know when to quickly finish players rather than stupidly doing extended executions in the middle of a firefight. They are also incredibly good at flanking players and very accurate with power weapons unlike the Artificial Stupidity tendencies of bots mentioned below. If you're not careful, a team of bots can sweep the match out from under you. A marvelous A.I. improvement over the previous Gears titles.
  • 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.
    • Multiplayer bots in Gears 3 are noticeably terrible at using explosive power weapons and Frag Grenades. Bots will usually pick up a Boomshot, Torque Bow or Digger Launcher and immediately fire it into the nearest wall or piece of cover and spectacularly blow themselves into meaty chunks. The Torque Bow is particularly hilarious, as bots tend to prime the arrow and immediately go into cover, only for the arrow to stick the cover and kill themselves.
  • 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
    • The third game actually features the characters reacting with joy to see backup and saying, "It's Carmine!"
    • One of the Stranded in Char asks "Show me that two piece again!" Two-piecing was the Fan Nickname for the melee -> shotgun combo that dominated the original Gears of War multiplayer.
    • When playing as Adam Fenix in multiplayer, and beating the crap out of someone with the extended face punch, he'll sometimes say: "Your mother is a classy lady!"
    • Lieutenant Kim's "I've got the code" shows up twice in Gears of War 3: as the Onyx medal for interacting with objects and as a Continuity Nod in "RAAM's Shadow".
      Barrick: Do you have the code?
      Kim: Heh, just help me with the door.
  • 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.
  • Babies Ever After: Going by the story and trailers for Gears 4, this happened for Marcus and Anya. A flashback features Marcus planting trees at their homestead while Anya and their son watch. In fact, their son, JD, is the main character of the game.
  • 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.
  • Barehanded Blade Block: Kim's updated death cutscene in Ultimate Edition has him attack RAAM with his chainsaw bayonet. RAAM catches it. Granted, his hands are covered by his armour, but it's still a chainsaw.
  • 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. It also comes equipped with More Dakka, as it has a satisfyingly high fire rate.
    • 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, 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.
  • Bloodier and Gorier: Kim's death at the hands of General RAAM in Ultimate Edition is much more brutal than it was originally, with RAAM booting Kim to the ground instead of backhanding him in the face, and stabbing him multiple times instead of just once. This is most likely because RAAM now has the events of RAAM's Shadow to be pissed about. To Kim's credit, he manages to at least try to fight back this time, instead of being taken by surprise like before.
  • 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.
    Marcus: BLAM! "That's one." BLAM! "That's two." BLAM! "That's three." BLAM! "That's four!" BLAM! "That's five, motherfuckers!''
  • 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.
    • She's even worse in the final chapter, where after having her Tempest killed and surviving Adam Fenix's weapon, she has the gall to start mouthing off to a VERY pissed off Delta Squad, deriding Adam for thinking he had all the answers and "nothing but clever ways to kill". Unsurprisingly, the second she's up in Marcus' face, he guts her with Dom's knife and kills her when she had a pretty good opportunity to escape.
  • 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. There was an option to turn off the gore from the very beginning, and starting with 2 a separate option was added to turn off the swearing, despite the game 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.
    • In Gears 3, picking up a weapon as Cole may have him spout "Oh, hell yeah! They gotta stop handin' us toys to play with!" Those weapons have to be placed by someone...
  • 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.
  • 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.
    • Crapsaccharine World: While life before Emergence Day wasn't exactly much better, the COG tried aiming for this.
  • 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:
    • 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.
  • 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.
  • Deleted Scene: In the first game fans expressed disappointment that you never got to fight a Brumak, as one showed up dramatically after visiting the Fenix estate and was never seen again. There was intended to be a foot battle against one shortly afterwards before boarding the train in the final act, but was cut for lack of development time. The battle did happen in the PC version of the game, released a year later, and included in the Ultimate Edition. In Gears 2 there was line that suggests a divergent path option would be available, but nothing came of it. It was another sequence that was cut for time and later released as a deleted scene in DLC, where the two have the option of Dressing as the Enemy to sneak around a checkpoint for a bit of gameplay variation.
  • 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.
  • Early Installment Weirdness: While not exactly weird, per se, the first Gears of War was noticeably different from future games in a few different ways. For starters, there were only 3 difficulty levels: Casual, Hardcore and Insane and even on Casual, this game was noticeably harder due to the lower health pool that you had. Next, the only collectibles were COG Tags and they were only useful for earning 3 achievements and didn't even unlock anything (although Ultimate Edition changed it by having them unlock comics as well as achievements). Next, you could give orders to the rest of Delta Squad to change their combat behavior by making them more aggressive and advance on enemies quickly, or have them hang back and supportively fire at enemies; a feature that is absent from every other Gears entry. The Hammerburst and Lancer shared the same sound effects and both had a more muzzled and cupped sound while also holding ridiculous amounts of ammo with the Hammerburst holding up to a whopping 780 rounds while the Lancer capped at 700. The Active Reload system was also harder to pull off with the white and gray segments being much closer to the first third of the reload bar rather than closer to the middle in the later games. Also, barring the unique encounters with Wretches, Kryll, Berserkers and Seeders, there were very few variations in the Locust infantry units. You only fought Drones, Snipers, Grenadiers and Theron Guards with Boomers being the only real different infantry enemy. In addition, the Locust were frighteningly durable as well. Drones alone took nearly a full clip of Lancer fire to kill them on Casual and Boomers took around 3 whole clips to kill. Also, going "down, but not out" would drop you to your knees and you could not move at all. Lastly, executions were practically non-existent; the only execution was the curb stomp and it's animation was very different; it involved simply lifting your foot over an enemy's head and quickly bringing it down in contrast to later entries having you flip the enemy on their back and crush their skull through the front of their face. The future Gears of War games would greatly expand on the first's shortcomings by introducing an expanded arsenal, weapon-specific executions and meatshields, giving players and weapons better health and damage outputs respectively, slightly reducing the durability of the Locust to combat the Made of Iron tendencies of basic enemies and improving the tightness and mobility of the controls to incorporate a more fluid, energentic and fun sense of gameplay.
  • 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:
    Baird: Bottom floor! Sporting goods, lingerie, and one bitch-ass queen!
  • 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.
  • Expy:
    • Cole is the soldier version of Terry Tate, Office Linebacker, a joke character from a series of Reebok commercials. Of course, they're played by the same person.
    • The Kryll bear more than a little resemblance to the nocturnal creatures in Pitch Black.
  • 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.
  • Foreshadowing:
    • 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.

     Tropes G-L 
  • Game-Breaking Bug: A bug currently making the rounds in Gears Of War 3 will accidentally dump a 5-man Horde team into Wingman mode. Since Wingman's typically played by 4 teams of 2 in a free-for-all setting, dumping an entire group of 5 onto a single team is slightly unbalancing.
    • Another rather irritating bug from Gears 3: When starting a Horde match, if the current host of the match quits just as the match starts, the results screen will come up and say that the team has failed Wave 0. Since this game mode is supposed to start you from Wave 1, this is very problematic. When the host changes, the team will respawn on the map as usual: still from Wave 0. Even though you will hear the Locust's cries that signify the enemies spawning, no enemies will actually spawn, leaving you to wander around the map with no way to progress the mode. The only way out is to quit the match and hope you find another match with a team that won't quit at the drop of a hat.
    • There is an incredibly nasty bug in Gears of War 3 and it is by far the worst out of any of the glitches. Without warning, when you start up the game, there is a chance that your Player Data file can become corrupted which will result in ALL OF YOUR DATA BEING WIPED FROM THE GAME! What's in the Player Data file? Just every last one of your ribbons and medals that you have pain-stakingly earned throughout your total investment in the game! Oddly enough, your Campaign collectables and achievements will still be intact, but imagine being one of the unlucky souls starting up the game to have some fun only to mysteriously see that your level has been reset back to 1 and every one of your ribbons and medals are GONE. The worst part is that this glitch has apparently been in the game since launch and nobody quite knows what causes it. It is believed that it is the result of faulty Epic or Microsoft servers glitching out at the EXACT moment you press Start, but it can apparently happen if you so much as sign in after you start the game. Also, Epic and Microsoft will do nothing to reset your stats back to what they were because the second you enter the main menu, your Player Data file gets overwrittten and basically pretends that your old data never existed. The only way to combat this is to hope that you have played Gears 3 on another console that hasn't been hit by the bug so that you have an uncorrupted Player Data file. Then, you must transfer that data into a Memory Unit or Flashdrive and beam it back into your Hard Drive to replace the corrupted data. Only have one console? Congratulations, all of your hard-earned data is Lost Forever and your only option now is to start clean again from the beginning! Bugs, huh?
  • Gameplay and Story Integration: An interesting example of this can be found in the first Gears of War and also doubles as Fridge Brilliance. Normally, Marcus (technically, the player) is able to give orders to the rest of Delta Squad and change their behavior by making them more aggressive or having them battle more conservatively by hanging back. However, you cannot give orders for the entire first act because Marcus is only a part of Delta Squad as a Private while Liutenant Minh Young Kim is the current leader. It's only until Minh is killed by General RAAM towards the end of the act that Marcus gets promoted to Sergeant and becomes the leader of Delta Squad, allowing you to give orders for the rest of the game.
  • Gameplay and Story Segregation: The chainsaw bayonet was developed because the standard bayonets of the Retro Lancer weren't strong enough for the Locust's thick skin and kept breaking too easily. Not so when you finally get to use one for yourself.
    • In the campaign for Gears 3, Clayton Carmine gets shot in the head with a Longshot round and is completely unharmed afterwards. This is most certainly not the case for players if they receive such a fate in gameplay, multiplayer or campaign.
  • Gatling Good: The hand-cranked Mulcher is man-portable and can... well, mulch soft targets at close range. The Silverback mounts what seems to be a more powerful variant, and gatling turrets appear occasionally in COG bases. There's also the Vulcan Cannon, which is more like an actual modern-day gatling gun and sounds like a cross between a chainsaw and thunder.
  • Gang Up on the Human: In the first game, all enemy A.I. units would instantly auto-target the player the moment you pop out of cover to shoot, completely ignoring your A.I. teammates even if they had been locked in combat just moments before. This was especially noticeable on Insane difficulty, and made it impossible to actually flank or ambush enemies. Thankfully, this was removed in later games, creating a more natural flow of battle.
  • Gender Is No Object: The first two games and the novelizations subvert this. Only men do the fighting; all fertile women are used for reproductive purposes, while non-fertile women serve in support roles. The third game, however, plays this straight. Almost all women fight alongside the men. Totally justified because humanity is down to its last throes and needs every available body to fight.
  • Genius Bruiser:
    • When Baird is asked to improvise a bomb with few parts available, he replies, "Regular or extra strength?"
    • Marcus, too, is meant to be an "intelligent badass" by the design team, though it only really comes across in Karen Traviss's novels. Baird is more of a techie, but Marcus is very well-read and smart, though in his case its more that he can come up with complicated military tactics on the fly in stressful situations, and he definitely has motivations beyond those of the average Space Marine action hero.
    • In fact, most of Delta Squad applies according to Baird himself, as he states the reason he sticks with them is because they're the only people he knows who have above a single-digit IQ.
    • Then there's Adam Fenix, the man himself. Back-story shows he's both a super-genius Omnidisciplinary Scientist (generally considered "The Smartest Man On The Planet"), as well as a former military officer and war hero. Granted, he's aged quite a bit and by the time he's mentioned in the games, he's more of a Badass Bookworm.
  • Genocide Backfire: It's been revealed by Word of God (namely David Nash and Karen Traviss, viewable here) that Myrrah was a descendant of the scientists who were running New Hope, and the Locust were created in an attempt to find a cure for Lambency.
  • George Lucas Altered Version: The Remaster of the first three games in "The Gears of War Collection" includes a hands on remodeling of the first game akin to "The Master Chief Collection", giving it a similar color palette to the sequels vs. the very dusty gray it originally was.
  • Getting Crap Past the Radar: A medal that can be earned in Gears of War 3 multiplayer is "Loot Courtesan".
  • God Save Us from the Queen!: Myrrah
  • Gorgeous Gorgon: Myrrah
  • Gorn: It certainly goes into this trope at times... and then there's chainsawing your enemies... and then there's chainsawing your enemy simultaneously with your allies. The games THRIVE on its extreme violent content. There's hardly a death in this game that doesn't end in copious amounts of blood, meaty chunks or bones cracking, not to mention the way blood splatters on the camera. Special note of a certain line from the second game:
    Baird: "Oh man... this is just wrong. I'm coughing up blood that ain't mine."
  • Goggles Do Nothing: Played straight with Baird until the second game, where he wears them on two occasions, once when he repairs the tank, and once when he pilots a Reaver, as well as when he wears them for intimidation in the books. Played straight again in Gears of War 3. It is explained in the backstory that goggles are worn to prevent shards chainsawed enemy bones from flying into the wearer's eyes.
    • Subverted with the Locust Horde, who, having eyes sensitive to light from living underground, occasionally wear tinted goggles to protect their vision.
  • Grand Finale: Gears of War 3 brings the series' plot to a decisive and suitably epic conclusion. While a few questions about the world's backstory are Left Hanging, for the most part it neatly wraps up the storyline running through the entire series.
  • Green Rocks: Imulsion. Originally not that bad, but Gears of War 2 starts to elevate it to this status pretty quickly as it's implied that not only does Imulsion turn living beings into explosive versions of themselves, they mutate them. Gears of War 3 further implies that Imulsion overexposure and mutations forced the Locust to invade the surface, starting the war. It also acts as a super-fuel and is used in the construction of death rays from space, though as it turns out it isn't a mysterious magical substance. It's a parasite and the mutations are its primary purpose. The fact that it can be used as a super fuel is just incidental.
  • Grievous Harm with a Body: in the third game, during a cutscene, a locust drone is seen ripping off a Gears' arm to beat him to death with it.
    • This can also be done in multiplayer by any Locust player to a COG player. Hell, you can even keep tapping the Y button to extend the execution for more "juicy" points. Very satisfying to use on the last enemy while in a standoff!
  • Gun Accessories: Chainsaw bayonets!
  • Gunship Rescue: Used several times with the King Raven helicopters, but subverted just as much. Notable in that King Ravens are gunships even without the specific "gunship" upgrade appearing in Gears of War 2; of the actual King Raven gunships (distinguished by their stub wings mounting gatling guns and missile launchers) you see in action in Gears of War 2, one is lost after its Gunship Rescue moment, one causes as much trouble as it cures but can later be seen in the background being a Gunship Rescue for other Gears, and the other survives.
  • Hand Cannon: The Boltok revolver is obviously high-caliber (it can blow off limbs, and headshots cause the head to simply vanish in a geyser of gore and the top of someone's skull!), and the Gorgon SMG is basically a fun-size one-handed automatic rifle, but surprisingly the champion of this trope in this series is the humble Snub pistol, sadly discarded or ignored by many players, which is chambered for .50cal and possesses both a high rate of fire and a 12-round magazine. No wonder it can decapitate armoured Boomers and Therons.
  • Have I Mentioned I Am Heterosexual Today?: Have we mentioned Dom's married today? To a woman? With breasts? And other lady parts? Who's not a guy? Making Dom not gay? Meaning he and Marcus aren't like that? Because Dom's married to a woman? Oh, Marcus looks at Anya longingly, too.
  • Helmets Are Hardly Heroic: The easiest way to see if someone is going to die? He wears a helmet. Except Clayton Carmine. His helmet actually saves him from friendly fire.
  • Heroic Sacrifice: Sadly, Gears of War 3 has Dom of all people pulling one of these at the end of Act 3 to save Marcus, Anya, Sam, Dizzy and Jace from the never ending hordes of Lambent. Adam Fenix dies not long after reuniting with his son by using himself as a test subject in his quest to eliminate Imulsion, then activating a world-affecting bomb that he knows will kill him as well as all Lambent and Locust.
  • Heterosexual Life-Partners:
    • Marcus and Dom. Long time friends who always stay close together. The novel Aspho Fields give a bit of backstory of Marcus and Dom growing up, as well as shedding light on quite a bit of angst between Marcus and Anya prior to their Relationship Upgrade. Their argument in Gears of War 2 comes close to a break-up. Yahzee made a joke of this part. "[Marcus] is aided by his best friend - AND NOTHING ELSE - Dominic."
    • There's also indications in the opposite direction; more than one scene in Gears of War 2 and production interview gave us signs that Marcus and Anya have more than a strictly professional relationship between them. Naturally, the novelizations and subsequent Gears of War 3 outright confirm this.
    • Baird and Cole are also very close, to the extent that Cole was the only person Baird really cared about before he met Marcus and Dom.
  • Hide Your Children:
    • Lampshaded by Baird, who remarks in one of the collectible intel items that it's strange despite fighting straight into the heart of the Locust civilization, there are no Locust children running around to shoot. Presumably a case of assumed Human Aliens - if they're Bee People, they wouldn't have children, just hatch fully-formed from eggs.
    • Averted in Gears of War 3 while visiting Char. Many of the ash-corpses are too small to be adults.
    • Averted again in the "RAAM's Shadow" DLC. A fair chunk of the campaign takes place in a high school which has been attacked by the Locust. Many corpses of civilians who are at the very least teenagers are shown in several rooms.
  • High-Pressure Blood: In Gears Of War 2, it seems as if the characters lose blood that would be enough to kill someone when they go into a downed state alone from the impact of bullets against them. Not to mention the extra pints they lose from crawling around.
  • Hijacking Cthulhu: In 2, Delta rides a pair of Reavers, followed by a Brumak.
  • Holiday Mode: Several of the multiplayer events in 3. Halloween saw the players with Pumpkin heads, Thanksgiving unlocked an exploding turkey / chicken launcher, Christmas gave everyone snowmen heads, and Super Bowl week unlocks a Locust Drone in football pads.
  • Honor Before Reason: There are several scenes, especially in the second game, of Marcus taking the extra effort to ensure the safety and well-being of civilians even when it complicates the mission. Baird calls him out on this, but Marcus always gets the final say.
  • Hope Spot: After the decades-long Pendulum Wars in the backstory, it was believed that peace had finally come to Sera. Then Emergence Day happenred.
  • Hopeless War: The games have a very strong feel of this trope until the end of the trilogy, which presumably ends the war once and for all.
  • Hulk Speak: The Boomer family of Locust all speak in this. "Boom!" "Grind!" "Meat!" "Bash!"
  • Hurricane of Puns: It's not that many, but there's a few: the soldiers of humanity are called Gears, the largest government on Sera is called the Coalition of Ordered Governments, and there are COG tags instead of dog tags. The Pendulum Wars count as well. In fact, one track on the first game's soundtrack is entitled "I Will Kryll You".
  • I Call It "Vera": Derrick drivers with their derricks. Dizzy's rig is called Betty. Baird mentions over the radio that the one he's riding on is called Marilyn.
  • Immune to Bullets: Berserkers require a satellite laser cannon to kill, although when its skin is hot and toasty it's just as squishy as the rest of them. The Seeder is this fully; it can't be killed at all except via Hammer of Dawn.
  • Imperial Stormtrooper Marksmanship Academy: In several cutscenes you can see Gears and Locust standing completely out in the open with no cover, exchanging full-auto fire at distances of less than 50 feet, and completely failing to hit each other with even a single bullet. Kim's last stand and the helicopter evac from Ilima City are both particularly egregious. Also applies in game as, by design, the typical combat ranges and effectiveness of weapons in Gears is very, very short.
    • It improves slightly in Gears of War Ultimate Edition, as everyone places more accurate fire on their targets. Kim in particular is shown taking down several Locust with well placed shots, one by one in a matter of seconds. Not that it saves him.
  • Improvised Weapon:
    • In the novelization "Jacinto's Remnant", a brief flashback reveals a battle taking place in a department store, where Tai grabs a circular saw to fight with after his old-school Lancer bayonet breaks. This inspired the creation of the chainsaw bayonet, so if you think the chainsaw is cheap, blame Tai.
    • A lot of Locust weaponry and "vehicles" are kitbashed gear made from animals living in the Hollow, looted COG weaponry, and Locust-engineered small arms. Tickers, for example, are just normal animals with bombs strapped to their backs, Locust "Siege Beasts" are some kind of turkey-like animal converted to launch artillery, and so on. The heavier Locust weapons like Brumaks and Seeders are just massive animals bred for combat with weapons strapped on them; even Corpsers are fitted with helmets to protect their eyes. Locust in the third game make crude Troika turrets out of multiple Retro Lancers strapped together and attached to a Troika mount to make a surprisingly effective suppression weapon.
  • Incurable Cough of Death: Rustlung, which seemed pretty pointless in Gears of War 2 until it turned out to be the first step towards Lambency in humans in Gears of War 3.
  • Informed Ability: The Onyx Guard are supposed to be the most absolutely elite of the COG forces, yet they get slaughtered every single time they're deployed in the games and novels.
  • Ink-Suit Actor: Each voice actor for the four core members of Delta Squad and Anya could very easily be mistaken for the character in Real Life. Especially Lester "The Mighty Rasta" Speight as Cole.
  • In Medias Res:
    • The first game opens with Marcus being busted out of jail. The war and some small details are sprinkled throughout the rest of the game.
    • The story of main Judgment campaign is told in this fashion.
  • Instant Death Bullet: Invoked with the weapon in Gears of War 3 called the "One Shot". It will shred any enemy in one shot and bypasses some forms of cover, including a Boomshield. In addition, it has a sniper zoom, but only has one round per clip, long reload time and is a heavy weapon, meaning it will slow you down like a Mulcher or mortar.
  • Insufferable Genius: Baird could be one of the poster boys for this trope, with Cole as his Foil.
  • Insurmountable Waist High Fence: Generally averted, except on the multiplayer map "Jacinto," where small flowerbeds prevent you from mantling some critically-important walls.
  • Jerkass: Baird. He gets better in the sequels, becoming more of a Deadpan Snarker. It's explained that he was initially resentful that Marcus was given command over him or Cole who, at least at the beginning, ranked higher than either Dom or Marcus.
    • Ezra Loomis in Judgment, on the other hand, is just a complete bastard and makes no apologies for it.
  • Jigsaw Puzzle Plot: Gears of War 2 has a major case of this, introducing multiple unexplained plot elements (the secret COG experiments creating the Sires, a lot of what the Locust Queen was yammering about, Adam Fenix being alive and ticked off you sunk Jacinto, etc.) that are not resolved. Most of these are covered in Gears of War 3, and the remaining questions were addressed in The Slab, where it turned out the Sires were Lambent humans from 100 years ago, and the Locust were their descendants. See here for more information.
  • Jitter Cam: The perfect use of this. Your normal pace is at a quick march but the roadie run is a "keep your head down and run" maneuver. Putting the camera angle lower and with a slight shake to it turns it into a documentary-like experience.
  • Just Before the End: The "RAAM's Shadow" DLC to Gears of War 3 takes place before the first game, early in the Human-Locust War. Though it chronologically takes place after the Hammer of Dawn strikes that destroyed much of Sera (Barrick refers to his old Stranded camp in past-tense; Stranded camps didn't exist before this event), Ilima City's mostly undamaged, the government is still functional, the military well-equipped, and there are active attempts to evacuate civilians wherever possible.
  • Kick the Dog: Particularly Tai and Maria in the second game. It gets worse in Gears of War 3 with Dom's death.
  • Kill It with Fire: The Berserker is only vulnerable to damage when her skin is hot and toasty, and the prefered method is using the Hammer of Dawn to do so. Otherwise the only other method of getting her to take damage is to use the Scorcher flamethrower or Incendiary Grenades, which is a much slower and dangerous tactic.
    • Fire will also make short work of an Armoured Kantus, without having to wait around to Attack Its Weak Point. All that metal armour might stop bullets, but it sure conducts heat very well.
  • Kill Sat: Now in convenient tactical-usage size, the Hammer of Dawn.
  • Knight in Sour Armor: Most of the main cast in all the games have shades of this, but special mention goes to Paduk from Judgment.
  • Large and in Charge: The Locust leaders are much taller than their counterparts. RAAM, a Theron, is even bigger than a Boomer. Even Myrrah is fairly tall for a (apparently) human woman.
  • Large Ham: The Cole Train, baby!
  • The Last Dance: Gears of War 3. Ominously, the "Brothers To The End" tagline fades to just "The End" in trailers and commercials.
  • Last Lousy Point:
    • A number of Onyx medals in Gears of War 3 take a lot of time to get, even if you boost them in private matches. To claim the "Seriously 3.0" achievement, you need to have them all.
    • Ribbons are not exempt from this trope either. While even some of the tougher ribbons can be easily gotten in different game modes that provide better opportunities to get them, there are 4 particular ribbons that are noticeably difficult to get. The "Long Hauler" ribbon requires you to complete all 50 waves of Horde in one sitting. Getting through all the way to wave 50 can easily take you 2 and a half to 3 hours and that's not even counting if you repeatedly fail waves which will lengthen that time even more. Additionally, most people seem to drop out at around wave 20 and if you don't have at least two other players with you, completing the last waves is nearly impossible. Also, if you have to leave in the middle or your Xbox crashes and boots you off, back to Wave 1 for you! There's also the "Trick Shot" ribbon which requires you to score a headshot on an enemy with the Torque Bow and have that same arrow stick into another enemy and kill them. Good luck ever coming across two enemies that will be lined up perfectly for this shot without getting killed beforehand. Even when playing with bots, this orientation of enemies will pretty much never present itself and that's what makes this ribbon so frustrating to get. Next, there's the "Survivor" ribbon which requires you to revive yourself FIVE times in a SINGLE ROUND. Since you'll be forced into Gnasher duels for the majority of matches, the only way this could happen is if you're engaging enemies from a distance behind a piece of cover where you can't be hit from if you get downed there, leaving you to revive yourself in peace. However, since you can only go down twice before dying the next down, you HAVE to die at least twice, then hope that someone doesn't follow you to a good (or the same) spot for this ribbon so you don't get flushed out. Finally, there's the "No Smoking" ribbon which, naturally, requires you to kill someone with a smoke grenade. The only viable way to do this is in Team Deathmatch, Warzone or Execution. You basically have to pick out the last enemy remaining, down them twice, let them get revived and then run up to them (hoping that they don't kill you before you get to them, or you'll be screwed) and stick them with the grenade while you run away. Worse yet, there's an achievement requiring you to have each ribbon at least once. Going for all the achievements? You must get these ribbons one way or another.
    • The "Foreshadowing" achievement added by "RAAM's Shadow": to get it, you must execute players playing as Lieutenant Kim while playing as General RAAM. This cannot be done privately, only in public multiplayer, where nobody ever played as Kim to begin with, even in the last two games, and certainly won't now since doing so will make them a highly sought-after target.
      • And if they do play as him, it's because they are incredibly skilled at the game and want to be a highly sought-after target so that they just have to wait for free kills to come directly to them.
    • "I've Got This!". You must get 10 kills in one round of Guardian while playing as your team leader. Guardian cannot be played privately. You are not guaranteed to get a turn as the leader every match. Leaders cannot respawn. If the team leader is dead, nobody else on the team can respawn either, which means if the enemy leader dies too quickly it will be impossible for you to get the required amount of kills. It also must be done on a map from the "Forces of Nature" map pack. To top it all off, it unlocks a set of weapon skins. It's the Last Two Lousy Points in One.
    • The original "Seriously..." was this, due to the leaderboards recording all of your ranked kills, but not all of them counted towards the achievement for reasons that were never fully explained. You could potentially have enough recorded kills to get "Seriously 2.0" and still be nowhere close. All of the other kill-based achievements had the same problem, but were only for 100 kills to "Seriously..."'s 10,000.
    • Unlocking Richard Prescott for use in multiplayer. To unlock Prescott, you must earn the silver Allfather's medal. Being a silver medal, this doesn't sound too bad; until you see the medal's requirements. The Allfather's medal requires you to have a medal in every available game mode (Team Deathmatch, King Of The Hill, etc.). The bronze medal for any game mode requires you to play 100 matches of that game type (not rounds, MATCHES). Since there are a total of 6 game types that count for the medal, you have to play a total of 600 matches just to get the bronze Allfather medal. The silver Allfather's medal requires you to play THREE HUNDRED matches of every game type, clocking in at a total of 1800 matches just to unlock a character. Even if you set the number of rounds to complete a match to 1 so you can boost them in a private match, you'll be in for a huge amount of grinding. This will be even slower if you only play matches online, as the default number of rounds for winning a match in most game modes is 2, with the exceptions of Wingman (which uses the number of total kills a team gets to decide when the match ends) and Warzone and Execution ( which requires FIVE rounds to be won to conclude a match). It also doesn't help that very few people even play Warzone, Execution and Wingman online. Some players have taken to just leaving the game running in MP while they go do something else, but even then, it will still be a painfully slow process to unlock Prescott and will most likely tank your versus k/d ratio in the process. (Fun fact, this troper still hasn't unlocked Prescott despite having the game since it came out in 2011 and Re-Uping all three times).
    • Also, to a lesser extent, unlocking the Savage Theron Guard. To get the Savage Theron Guard, you must earn the Onyx "I'm A Beast!" medal. To do that, you must complete Beast Mode on all four difficulties. Did I mention that you won't get the medal if you fail a wave? Fail even one wave in your run and you have to start all the way from wave 1 again or the medal won't be given to you. Doesn't help that this mode has a very unforgiving timer if you don't get to killing ASAP. Also, if you're looking to do this on Hardcore and Insane, you have to host a private Beast match so that you can change the difficulty, as it is set to Normal in public matches. Even if you do get enough people to play a private match with you, you'll still be in for one hell of a fight. The humans' AI is absolutely brutal at these levels, having ridiculous accuracy with even short-ranged weapons like the Gnasher and Sawed-Off Shotgun and massive damage output, forcing you to use weak-ass tier 1 locust so you don't burn through your pile of cash (Even if you do this, 5 people getting killed constantly will still use up so much cash that you probably won't even have enough cash to use higher tier locust). Most of the locust units in this mode are either clunky to control (Savage Corpser, Berserker), incredibly slow (Boomers) or are tall easy targets (Kantus and Armored Kantus) and have a difficult-to-cover weak point (Giant Serapede). Normal humans are easy enough to kill, but Heroes and Onyx Guards must be executed or finished with an explosive to be perma-killed. Oh, and they can revive themselves nearly instantly if they aren't taken care of quickly. You'll need a lot of patience and trial-and-error before you can finish this mode without failing on the highest difficulties, insuring that the Savage Theron Guard will be the last locust unlocked for most players.
    • Gears of War: Ultimate Edition brings a new lousy point with it in the form of the "Brothers To The End" achievement. To get this one, you must defeat General RAAM in co-op on Insane difficulty without either player going "down, but not out." Anyone who has played the original Gears 1 will remember just how brutal RAAM's battle was, even with the AI glitch that prevented him from attacking you. This glitch no longer works in Ultimate Edition, so players will need a player just as competent as them and a solid strategy to get through this. Between RAAM's Troika, the Kryll and Reavers constantly pelting you with shots from every direction, you'll be killed if you even think about sticking out from cover to target RAAM. Doesn't help that RAAM is still Made of Iron and the Tyro Pillar is a very cramped battlefield. Getting this achievement is as much of a Luck-Based Mission as it is of skill in the players and a single mistake or stroke of bad luck will certainly lead to a lot of retrys.
  • Limited Loadout: The first three games give the player access to two primary weapons, a pistol, and grenades on a cross-shaped menu. Judgment, ditches this menu and gives you two weapons that you switch between with Y, as well as a dedicated grenade button.
  • Living Gasbag: Gears Of War 3 introduces the Locust Gas Barge as a means of transportation after the flooding of the Hollow.
  • Lost Forever: In 3, the Thrashball Drone multiplayer skin was unlocked briefly to celebrate the Super Bowl. It was taken away after that, and Epic has not revealed plans to ever unlock it again.
    • It was made available again for several events. After the game had run its course and Judgment was released, it was made available permanently.
  • Lowered Monster Difficulty:
    • The Locust have become gradually weaker as the series has progressed. In the first game it took almost a full 60-round mag of Lancer assault rifle fire to kill a single basic Locust drone, making them one of the toughest basic FPS mooks ever. In the second game, it only takes about two dozen assault rifle rounds to kill a Locust drone. By the time of the 3rd game, they can be dropped with only about a dozen bullets on Normal difficulty (about 15-20 rounds on Hardcore), making them on par with "standard" FPS soldier mooks.
    • Boomers are somewhat weaker in Gears of War 2, going down after only 1-2 clips from the Lancer (even on Hardcore) instead of 3-4 clips like in the first game. They're even weaker in Gears of War 3, going down after only a little over 2/3rds of a full mag from the Lancer. This is largely due to the fact that in the first game they were basically Boss In Mooks Clothing and always showed up in pairs. The sequels would have more "Boomer" types (including the Mauler, Grinder and Butcher) and more would appear at one time.
  • Luck-Based Mission: The final battle against General RAAM in the first game. There are so many random factors in this fight (Reavers shooting at you, randomly appearing Kryll, plus RAAM himself and his own pet Kryll) that winning is as much luck as skill, unless you abuse the AI-block glitch.
  • Luckily My Shield Will Protect Me: With the previously mentioned meat shields and with the Mauler's indestructible Boomshields (that also double as roadblocks for larger enemies in Horde Mode). A Boomshield will actually protect you from a charging Berserker in the third game, although the recoil makes you drop it.
  • Ludicrous Gibs: Not so ludicrous in the amount of gibs, just ludicrous in how much the average multiplayer match in it will have.

     Tropes M-R 
  • MacGuffin: The Resonator in Gears of War.
  • Made of Explodium: All Lambent creatures explode when killed with varying degrees of force, which is used by the team when they needed a big bomb and there was a Lambent Brumak in front of them. Regular drones don't harm you much, drudges sometimes run after you when about to explode, wretches are like grenades, Grunkers and Lambent Berzerkers look like a tactical nuke.
  • Made of Iron:
    • In the first game it takes close to a full magazine of Lancer fire just to kill a single Locust Drone on every difficulty setting except the very easiest. Bear in mind that Lancer assault rifles had 60 rounds per magazine!note . No wonder they had to invent chainsaw bayonets before anyone could hurt them.
    • A bit less so in the second game, which has a) a Normal difficulty that falls between Casual and Hardcore, with appropriate enemy strength and b) an improved Hammerburst assault rifle that's actually stable and accurate enough to score headshots at mid-range.
    • Played straight in Gears Of War 2, as everyone seems to lose pints of blood from being hit by bullets alone, but it takes time for it to affect them by having them go into a "down but not out" state.
    • Played straight to this trope's extreme with the Meatflag in Gears of War 2, an unarmored civilian who cannot die whatsoever. You could drop a mortar on his head, blowing everyone around him into meaty chunks, and he'll just be crawling around and complaining afterwards. Makes sense, considering he's the objective for that particular game mode "Submission". Likewise, Prescott and Myrrah are this for the game mode "Capture The Leader" in Gears of War 3.
    • In the cutscene leading up to the final boss fight of the "RAAM's Shadow" campaign, RAAM casually brushes off a chainsaw attack and several dozen assault rifle rounds at point blank range even before he puts up his Kryll shield.
    • Cranked Up to Eleven in the third game. Lambent foes are Made of Explodium, but human soldiers can melee them to death with chainsaw bayonets and shrug off the point-blank KABOOM like it ain't no thang.
  • Made of Plasticine: A lucky shotgun blast can blow a target to Ludicrous Gibs.
  • Male Gaze: Sam gets the sexy pan-up shot while a Stranded ogles her.
  • Mauve Shirt:
    • The game series embodies this through the use of the Carmine brothers (Anthony, Ben and Clay), where the original was a faceless member of the team who got killed early on while complaining about his gun jamming. Due to his unexpected popularity they brought him back as his brother in Gears 2, still faceless but lasting longer through the campaign and a more fully developed character. Bringing in the third Carmine, still helmeted, they actually allowed the fans to choose whether he lived or died in the end through an X Box marketplace charity drive. As such most fans were wondering when/if he would die.
    • Other characters in this mold include Kim and Tai.
  • Mayor of a Ghost Town: Griffin, after your trip to Char.
  • Mêlée à Trois: The second game introduces the Lambent, mutant Locust who are fighting against the original Locust. By the third game, humans, Locust and Lambent are all duking it out with each other on the planet's surface. However, in the actual game, Locust and Lambent are only encountered in the same area a couple of times, most prominently in the final battle.
  • Men Are the Expendable Gender: The first two games and the novelizations play this straight. Only men do the fighting, while fertile women are used for reproductive purposes and non-fertile women serve in support roles. The third game, however, subverts this. The women fight alongside the men due to humanity being down to its last throes and needing every available body to fight.
  • Mercy Kill:
    • Dom to Maria in 2.
    • When you fight the Lambent humans in Mercy, some can be clearly heard screaming "Kill me!" when they attack you.
  • Million Mook March: The beginning of Gears of War 2 is one for the Gears.
  • Mini-Mecha: The Silverback, which doesn't actually have a back so that Gears can climb in and out easily. Size-wise, it's very close to being a Powered Armor.
  • Mission Control: Features prominently in both games. Normally, Anya's the one providing intel, advice, orders and even comfort; there are times where other characters take on the role, though they are distinctly lacking the comfort aspect. Delta Squad loses contact with Mission Control a depressing number of times throughout both games, though. In Gears of War 3, a variety of characters take on the role, from Anya to Dizzy to Adam Fenix.
  • Mooks: It's raining Locust!
    • Giant Mook: Boomers and their variants; Grinders, Maulers, Butchers, Flamers, etc.
    • Elite Mooks: Theron Guards; smarter, faster, tougher and armed with one-hit-kill Torque Bows.
    • Praetorian Guard: The Palace Guards in the second game, who guard the Nexus Palace instead of regular drones, and are just as tough as Theron Guards. The third game has Chairman Prescott's Onyx Guard, elite Gears personally loyal to him, although you only fight them as the "final boss" of Beast Mode when playing as the Locust.
    • Mook Maker: Emergence Holes in the first two games, Kantus priests from Gears of War 2 onwards can summon Tickers from out of nowhere, revive downed Locust from long range, and are overall just extremely annoying buggers (remember to Shoot the Medic First).
      • Gears of War 3 feature Lambent Stalks that sprout from the ground, changing the landscape but also depositing any number and multiple types of Lambent Locust in your path while also doing away with Emergence Holes, presumably because the Locust have lost control of the underground to the Lambent.
    • Mooks Ate My Equipment: Feral Tickers
  • More Dakka: Gears Of War 2 has a man-portable Mulcher minigun. To help realism slightly, it requires you to set it down to fire it with anything that vaguely resembles accuracy, and you are unable to sprint, roll or mount over cover with it.
  • Muscles Are Meaningless: The average male COG and Locust Drone has chest and arm girth that would put most Olympian power lifters to shame. This, of course, offers them no advantage over the normally proportioned (ie. literally half their size) female gears in terms of hand-to-hand combat or in carrying heavy weaponry from the hip (or their armor, for the matter). Emphasized at the end of Gears of War 3 when Anya and Marcus sit next to each other and hold hands, and you see how much bigger Marcus is compared to her.
  • Mutants: The Slab reveals that the Locust are really human mutants who were exposed to imulsion in the hopes of finding a way to achieve immunity to lambency, and that Queen Myrrah is the descendant of one of the scientists at the New Hope facility where they did said research, which also resulted in the Sires, essentially proto-Locust. Therefore, Sera is no more or less the territory of the Locust than it is that of the surface Seran humans.
  • Names to Run Away from Really Fast: Marcus Fenix, Augustus "The Cole Train" Cole, RAAM, Corpser, Berserker, Skorge, Chainsaw Bayonet.
  • Necessary Drawback: The Hammer of Dawn is easily a Game Breaker if there wasn't a few things holding it back. The target has to be outdoors and not under cover so that "the satellites can be aligned". In multiplayer, there's a limit to how long you can use it.
  • Neck Snap: Characters can dispose of "meatshields" this way. There is no gameplay benefit to this as it just takes up time to play the animation as opposed to dropping the meatshield instantly by switching to another weapon - it's solely for Video Game Cruelty Potential.
  • Never Trust a Trailer: The "Ashes to Ashes" trailer. Features the group fighting in Char. Dom never made it there in the game.
  • New Meat: Benjamin in the second game, who also stands out as a Red Shirt by being the only main character who wears the face concealing helmet. The tutorial has the Player Characters training him.
  • Nerf:
    • Smoke Grenades in multiplayer; at launch for Gears of War 2, these grenades instantly drop players to the ground, much like the Kantus scream, to allow for an easy kill. Following title updates, they momentarily stun players to stop them from firing or moving away, but recover much faster than the former effect.
    • A "Stopping power" feature from firearms was programmed into Gears 2 in order to encourage players to play more strategically rather than just rushing at the enemy. In particular with the Gnasher players developed a tactic where they run into a forward dive then fired the Gnasher at the tail end of the roll, which was ridiculously effective (using grenades was also done similarly). Thus trying to rush at someone would end up with you coming up short.
    • The Gnasher Shotgun, according to some players, was the only gun to use in multiplayer. Nowadays, it's a shadow of its former self, due to a few things such as the stopping power and the tightening of its spread. This was to give it a better medium range while still giving it the "gibs" effect at close range. The last title update to Gears of War 2 returned the Gnasher to a point where it balances, if not outmatches, the assault rifles at medium range.
    • The Torque Bow in the sequel is somewhat weaker, as it no longer kills Boomers in one shot (around on par with the Boomshot grenade launcher in terms of damage). It still One Hit Kills Drones and Theron Guards, and also kills you in one shot on Hardcore (but not on Normal, where a direct hit doesn't even down you).
    • Like the Gnasher, the chainsaw bayonet isn't as effective anymore, as taking more than a handful of damage will prevent you from keeping it revved up and take a few seconds before you can rev it up again. Of course, certain players really hate getting chainsawed, so in their eyes it still hasn't been nerfed enough.
      • Gears of War 3 rectifies it - getting hit while reving the chainsaw up will mess it up, but after you've managed to rev it, you'll keep it up despite getting damaged.
  • Never Bring A Knife To A Gunfight : Subverted, Cleavers are very useful and often kill mooks (even more than one) in one swing.
  • Never Trust a Trailer: "Ashes to Ashes" trailer showed the Delta Squad fighting in Char completely intact. In the actual game Dom dies before you visit Char.
  • Nintendo Hard:
    • Developers have said the difficulty, particularly at the lower difficulties, turned out a lot harder than they had wanted for the first game. This is what led to Gears of War 2 getting a Sequel Difficulty Drop.
    • You don't go "down but not out" in Gears of War 3 on Insane: you just DIE. This includes co-op, meaning you have to load a checkpoint if anyone is downed.
    • This is mitigated somewhat in Gears of War 3 with the addition of Arcade Mode, in which you respawn on a 30-second timer in co-op (even on Insane; you don't get a game over unless everyone's dead). You still earn every campaign achievement and reward while playing Arcade, too.
  • No Blood for Phlebotinum: All the bloody conflict has been because of the wonder-fuel Imulsion which turns out to be an living, mutating parasite! The series ends with all Imulsion being destroyed.
  • No Campaign for the Wicked: Averted in "RAAM's Shadow", which has several segments where you play on the side of the Locust horde.
  • No Good Deed Goes Unpunished: If you "down but not out" a Locust Drone, you can wait for his buddies to run out of cover to rescue him and shoot THEM as they rush in.
  • Noob Cave: "Casual" multiplayer for Gears of War 3 is just straight-up Team Deathmatch. Notably, those who have earned certain achievements in the first two games or participated in the beta on their profile are locked out of "casual" and are forced into "standard" multiplayer. Somewhat justified by Epic Games, as they cite Gears of War 3 being the most accessible title, thus giving newcomers to the series a place to practice before joining the "big leagues".
  • Oh Crap!: Pretty much every character has lines which will be stated to note how certainly dead they are in response to being struck by a Torque Bow shot. Sofia has a particularly unique one where she will quickly and fearfully say "I'll miss you guys.".
  • Once A Game: Every game so far has featured one "horror movie" level, with plenty of tense atmospheres, foreboding scenery, and nonstandard enemies. It was in the Lethia Imulsion Facility in the first, the New Hope Research Facility in the second, and Mercy in the third.
  • One-Hit Kill:
    • In the first game, the Torque Bow kills anything any all difficulties that isn't a boss in one hit, including you. It even works on Boomers, who can take multiple rounds from the Boomshot or 3 full magazines of assault rifle fire. Nerfed in the sequels, where it's no longer this trope. The third game does still allow single kills with it on Boomer-class Locust, but only with headshots.
    • The One Shot in the third game; it's faithful to its name.
    • In multiplayer, Boomshots, One Shots, Torque Bows, Mortars and Frag and Incendiary Grenades will One-Hit Kill if impacting close enough to a player. Boom, Headshot is a guaranteed kill with the Longshot sniper rifle.
  • One-Hit Polykill : the One shot will easily kill any number of enemies in a single file line (there is even an award for it). The torque-bow can achieve this too if the player lands a headshot on an already low health opponent which will result in the explosive arrow turning their head into pulp without detonating, continuing in its trajectory and sticking into the next target exploding as intended killing it (bonus points for doing it to an Armored Kantus while he roars)
  • One-Man Army:
    • Technically a squad of four, but just two of the squad still ended up practically single-handedly deploying the destruction of the enemy, twice, barring the occasional need for transportation (although they end up transporting themselves more often then not).
    • The consistency of the trope towards the final missions in the third installment is somewhat averted with it being clear that supportive elements are on the island - though not right with you - probably stopping the entire rest of the Horde from getting to you, which you'd assume Myrrah would probably be trying to do in such a desperate situation.
  • One-Winged Angel:
    • The Imulsion turns the Brumak you've hijacked into a Lambent Brumak, which serves as the final boss for Gears of War 2.
    • Gears of War 3 introduces Drudges, a Lambent creature that mutates once it takes enough damage (unless you consistently hit the glowing Imulsion "belly"). It sometimes sprouts a flame throwing snake head, turns into a tree with three branches throwing Imulsion fireballs at you, or remains mobile but has two arms throwing smaller Imulsion fireballs.
    • Judgment has a new creature called the Rager, who initially looks like a skinnier drone with typical armaments but can morph into a more grotesque creature with spikes who behaves like a less durable Berserker.
  • Optional Stealth: Gears of War 2 DLC campaign add on "Road to Ruin" gave you the choice between using stealth or going in all guns blazing. There's an achievement for successfully completing the stealth element.
  • Our Orcs Are Different: Cliff Bleszinski once said in an interview that the inspiration for the Locust Horde came from the Uruk-hai. He explains this by saying that the Uruk-hai tend to be smarter and tougher than regular orcs. As such, he designed the Locust to be smarter than the usual average bunch of "horde" monsters in other settings, via taking cover, not rushing into COG fire, etc.
  • Our Zombies Are Different: Formers, who show up in Act 3, are Lambent humans, who act similar to stereotypical zombie fashion. It doesn't help that all they seem to be focused on is attacking the living and that one guy even seems to have been eaten alive. Poor bastard.
  • Pardon My Klingon: "Suck my blithe!"
  • People Jars: The ones that contain the Sires in the New Hope research facility. (Hey, they technically count as human, don't they?)
  • Perpetual Storm: In the third game, the island which Marcus must get to is surrounded by a man-made storm to protect it from the Locusts.
  • Personal Space Invader: Lots, though justified by the fact this is a cover-based game. Since you're supposed to hide from your enemies, ones that just run up and melee you will be considerable threats. The first game has Wretches, Kryll and Grenadiers. The sequel removes the Kryll, but adds Maulers, Butchers, Tickers, Sires, Beast Riders on Bloodmounts, and anything with a flamethrower. Also, low-level Locust will randomly charge and melee you. This can range from irritating (when they have a Boltok pistol) to terrifying (when they have a Lancer). The third game adds Lambent Polyps to the mix.
    • Theron Guards in the first game sometimes do it deliberately to score a chainsaw kill.
  • Playing with Syringes: Niles Samson and New Hope. The notes and recordings in the research facility during Gears of War 2 and The Slab show that the COG accidentally created the Locust while trying to find a cure for Lambency 100 years ago.
  • Plot Hole: In 1, the Kryll will eat anything, Locust or Man, that falls into darkness. RAAM is the only one able to walk among them, and his ability to do this is never explained. In "RAAM's Shadow" for 3, even normal Locust can avoid the Kryll and RAAM's lieutenants can control them as he does.
    • The Lancer Mk.II, the one with the chainsaw bayonet, was invented a year after Emergence Day, but has appeared in both RAAM's Shadow and Judgment. The time at which RAAM's Shadow takes place is somewhat vague, so it is excusable, but Judgment takes place only six weeks after Emergence Day.
    • Another one introduced as of the Gears 4 trailer. Apparently, it is stated in the comics that Anya is barren and is unable to have children, yet, she and Marcus have a son named JD together. The developers noticed this, but countered with a weak statement of how we don't know JD's mother "on the biblical level". One look at the trailer makes it incredibly obvious that Anya is JD's mother due to Marcus' Single-Target Sexuality towards her and the fact that JD has blonde hair like Anya. However, it is ambiguous if the games follow the universe of the comics or not, so this one may be forgivable and perfectly logical in the game.
  • Powered Armor: Theorized to be the reason Gears can do all the acrobatics the game allows them, but it has yet to be stated.
  • Pre Ass Kicking One Liner: "Let's turn up the heat!"
  • Putting on the Reich: The COG appear to be based (though not exclusively) on Nazi Germany, judging from its aesthetics and predominant policies.
  • Pyrrhic Victory:
    • In spades with Gears of War 3; sure, the Locust and Lambent are finally gone, but the vast majority of humanity is dead, their cities destroyed and ruined and their primary source of energy used to build them up in the first place no longer exists because it was mutating beyond its control. The future is going to be very, very hard, but at least there IS a future for humanity.
    • Surprisingly, the events of "RAAM's Shadow" turn out as one for the Locust. Yes, the COG has lost hundreds of Gears and civilians, but the evacuation of Ilima City was largely successful and RAAM was nearly killed by Zeta Squad.
  • Quad Damage: The Mutators in Gears of War 3 has one called "Super Reload". If you manage a perfect active reload you get several powerful effects: the affected ammo from the reload does not drain from your primary ammo cache, once the affected ammo is depleted it still gives you a full clip of regular fire (single shot clips like the Boomshot basically gives you two shots back to back), there is no time limit on using the affected bonus and instead of a 10-20 percent damage increase it does literally about a 500 percent damage increase. It's so powerful it makes regular assault rifles (especially the Lancer due to high firing rate and clip size) more valuable than the Silverback minigun. It's pretty much your only hope of making it through all 50 waves of Horde on Insane without a skilled, well-coordinated full party of 5 players.
  • Rated M for Manly:
    • Everyone is absolutely enormous, and spouts OneLiners without irony. They have chainsaw machine guns. If you hit a button at the right time, they can reload their gun hard and make the bullets come out stronger. This game will make a man out of you, even if you're a woman.
    • Anya and Samantha are every bit as manly as their male teammates. Seeing Anya scream and cuss as she chainsaws a Locust in half will remove whatever doubt you may have that her upgrade from control operative to Action Girl may be a plot contrivance. A quick read through some of the Expanded Universe material will show that Anya's manliness is hereditary. Her mother, Helena Stroud, was potentially the manliest Gear to have ever served, and she didn't even have access to chainsaw bayonets.
    • A cutscene in Gears of War 2 has Cole and Marcus reuniting and bumping their chainsaw-equipped machine guns together. A manlier greeting has never been seen, before or since.
  • Real Is Brown: The original Gears of War was practically the Trope Codifier; nearly everything was a shade of brown and it felt like a straight Color Wash. Artistically, it was done as part of a war documentary look with the characters in bombed out buildings, but when it came to gameplay it made it almost impossible to tell your side from the enemy. The sequels improve on it significantly, with Gears of War 2 making the lights on the armor more vibrant and the colors of the two sides more distinct (blue for COG, red for Locust). Since it's winter, there's a lot of snow on the surface, and down in the Hollow, glowing flora luminates the dark caverns. Gears of War 3 completely averts it with colorful environments and brighter colors.
  • Reality Ensues: At the end of Gears of War 3, the Serans seem relatively united and the threat of Imulsion is gone forever. Come 4, even one victory isn't going to erase all animosity overnight, and the loss of the Imulsion miracle fuel has led to a fuel crisis as people scramble for alternatives, and the death of a Planetary Parasite like Imulsion has caused the entire planet's ecology and environment to go haywire, resulting in the new windflares. By 25 years after the Locust War, humanity's numbers have therefore dwindled to a couple of hundred thousand.
  • Reckless Gun Usage: The loading screens in three show a contemplative Fenix resting his hands on the muzzle of his rifle.
  • Red Shirt: Aside from the two Carmine brothers already mentioned, the "We're fucked! We're fucked!" Gear who is mauled by the first Berserker in the first game is listed in the credits as "Redshirt Gyules". The Carmines lampshade their Red Shirt-edness in the multiplayer.
    Anthony Carmine: *gets a headshot* "NOW who's expendable?!"
  • Refuge in Audacity:
    • Chainsaw bayonets?! Are you serious?! They actually make sense given how much armor almost everyone wears. A normal bayonet is only useful against unarmored targets.
    • The sequel has chainsaw duels. The Dragon can only be damaged by this because he has a double-edged chainsaw staff. Hell yeah.
    • Numerous points in the second game have Delta Squad being forced into using this trope.
    Fenix: Control! We've hijacked a Brumak and we're-
    Anya: You what?
    Fenix: We're riding a Brumak!
  • The Remnant: The first game has the COG reduced more or less to Jacinto Plateau and scattered bits of land across Sera. By the third entry in the series, the COG has dissolved into scattered human settlements. What's left of the COG's military, the Gears however continue to fight both the Lambent and Locust.
    • The Gorasni also count, given how they're the last of the UIR, refusing to surrender even after Emergence Day. They wind up throwing all they've got alongside the COG remnants for the final battle.
  • Retcon: The second game switched the names of the Grenadier and Grenadier Elite. The third game gave the Beast Rider a Drone body type instead of a Grenadier body type (although the Grenadier variants still show up in Horde). Myrrah also now has a Caucasian skin tone instead of being grey like she was in the second game.
  • Revolvers Are Just Better: While the Boltok revolver used to have a slower firing rate and more damage compared to the standard Snub pistol, achieving its active reload allows it to fire faster. It even makes for an impromptu sniper rifle in a pinch, due to all pistols having a zoom-in function.
  • Ring Out Boss: The Corpser in the first game has to be knocked into the Imulsion by the recoil from your attacks.
  • Roar Before Beating: Wretches and Berserkers.
  • Rock Bottom: The whole human race.
  • Robot Buddy: Delta Squad has a floating robot following them called JACK (that frequently utilizes a cloaking device to avoid damage from their firefights), in reference to the phrase "Jack-of-all-trades". Some wonder if it's something of an Expy of R2-D2, claiming to see some scenes which indicate emotion, such as waving its arms as if it's frightened. In the third game, JACK even gets an electrical self-defense mechanism.
  • Rule of Cool: Many, many (if not all) things, but most notably Chainsaw Bayonets
  • Rule of Fun:
    • Canonically, the chainsaw bayonet was developed because the traditional blade bayonets break on Locust skin. In Gears of War 3. the Retro Lancer is integrated into the gameplay, yet the blades don't ever break.
    • The "active reload" mechanic within the game consists of a minigame while reloading: press the reload button within a specific and small window of time and the weapon will reload faster. Press it within an even smaller, more specific window will give the weapon a temporary stat bonus (increased range, firing rate, damage...) and reloads the weapon instantly if pressed correctly. However, missing it causes the weapon to jam and ends up taking much longer to reload. This minigame is never explained, not even HandWaved, and is quite obviously just there to make reloading more fun.

     Tropes S-Z 
  • Sad Clown:
    • Dom intially, even more so in the third game.
    • Cole gets some moments suggesting this early in the third game when he visits the ruins of his Doomed Hometown. He may be a Boisterous Bruiser Big Guy who loves the adrenaline rush of sports and combat, but he is also clearly haunted by memories of happier times which will never come again.
  • Sand Worm: The Riftworm
  • Scary Black Man: Twice averted with Cole. "The Cole Train" looks to be the most musclar character in a game full of bulky-armoured men, and one probably wouldn't want to fight him, but he's probably also among the nicest characters as well. Jace is black, and pretty big (although by comparison to Marcus and Cole, he's notably small) and has cornrows, yet he's written as the sweetest character in the games and Expanded Universe (notably, Michael B. Jordan portrays Wallace in The Wire, who's known for playing that type of character). Probably the straightest example of this trope is Aaron Griffin, who even seems to frighten the men under him.
  • Scenery Porn: 3 really shows off just how good the Unreal engine can be with the proper amount of time and effort. From the beautifully-rendered and colourful daytime maps like Mercy and Sandbar to the gloomy and soaking wet remake of Bullet Marsh, it's clear that Epic didn't cut any corners.
  • Score Multiplier: In 3, you can play an "Arcade" version of the campaign where your score is recorded in which enemies you kill. So many points reaches another multiplier level where you get more points for each kill and the multiplier goes down when a player character goes down, if a player is killed the score resets to X1.
  • Screaming Warrior: Pretty much everyone, especially when chainsawing, executing, or retro charging an opponent. Special mention goes to Tai, the Carmine brothers and Savage Drones.
  • Senseless Sacrifice: In Gears of War 3, going to Mercy costs Delta Squad time and Dom in their quest to acquire fuel to reach Azura. They end up not even getting the fuel they went there for since Dom blew it all up to save them. In the cutscene, it seemed that Delta still had ammo for their weapons, so Dom could have jumped over to them and they all could have concentrated fire on the tanks to make an escape without him dying. Not to undermine Dom's Heroic Sacrifice, but it could have been avoided.
  • Sergeant Rock: Marcus, when Benjamin's part of Delta Squad. Hoffman counts, as well.
  • Sequel Difficulty Drop:
    • The second game is much less insanely difficult than the first, even if you still play on Hardcore instead of the newly added Normal difficulty. You can take noticeably more damage before going "down but not out", Locust are slightly less durable, the range and accuracy of the Hammerburst assault rifle has been increased to make it a viable long-range weapon, and the overall level design is more user-friendly and forgiving than before. Most notably, your A.I. squadmates are MUCH smarter and more useful, actually capable of holding their own even in heavy firefights, compared to the first game where they would charge the enemy suicidally and end up going down in the first 10 seconds, leaving you all alone and surrounded by Locust.
    • Also worth noting is that A.I. squadmates gained the ability to revive other characters in 2, while downed characters gained the ability to crawl. In the first game, reviving a downed character involved running straight to whatever (presumably dangerous) spot he had been in when downed, and caused a game over if all the human players dropped (which was especially frustrating when playing solo). In 2 and 3, this is no longer the case, as a downed character can slowly crawl away from the action and be revived by player and A.I. alike. The "down=dead" rule was brought back on Insane difficulty in 3, but playing campaign in Arcade Mode swaps out the automatic mission failure for a 25-second respawn counter, with the defeat only triggering if all human players are dead simultaneously.
    • Gears Of War 3 continues the trend, at least on the Normal difficulty, which is even easier than the Normal difficulty of the second game. You can survive a lot of damage, especially compared to the previous 2 games, and can even "rambo" your way through many areas. Your A.I. teammates are also a lot more competent, which helps a lot.
    • It should be noted that Word of God is that the Nintendo Hard nature of the first game was completely unintended, and the sequels are a result of the developers making the single-player campaign more balanced.
  • Sequel Difficulty Spike: Gears of War 3 is the most difficult of the games to play on Insane, especially in key locations, as the inclusion of a dedicated four player campaign mode means that the enemies are more numerous and tougher. This holds true mostly for the basic Campaign Mode, Arcade Mode makes things both more difficult with enemy health being higher but also easier in that you don't need to restart if one person dies, they are put on a respawn timer.
  • Sequel Escalation: Each game seems to aim to be manlier, gorier and darker than the last, with the exception of Judgment, which is just one single long mission with a lone objective (stop/kill Karn), broken up into levels of course, all taking place in the port area of a city. There is another bonus mission taking place later in the timeline that is also about accomplishing one single objective (procure a boat). Gears 4, since it's based on the trilogy, seems to be invoking this in spades, as the game will take place over a twenty-four hour period as the rebuilding human civilization has to deal with the new threat of The Swarm.
  • Sequel Hook: The ending narration of the first game is a bona-fide hook. Wait until the end of the credits of the second game for another sequel hook. The data disk Adam gives to Baird is possibly another hook on the Left Hanging segments for Gears of War 3.
    • The end of the "Aftermath" campaign from Gears of War: Judgement seems to imply that COG soldiers have been kidnapping people for unspecified reasons.
  • Shoot the Medic First: Those damn Kantus Priests!
  • Short-Range Long-Range Weapon: The Longshot sniper rifle fits this trope well, except for one particular sequence in Gears of War 2 (see This Is for Emphasis, Bitch! below).
    • In Judgment, the Locust's modifications to the Markza sniper rifle to create the Breechshot included removing it's scope. Cole mocks the decision with "A sniper rifle with no scope? Ha! Those grubs are real geniuses!" (the real reason for this is, of course, Competitive Balance as the Breechshot does more damage than the Markza and can Boom, Headshot faster much like the Longshot, while also having a larger magazine than the Longshot that doesn't need to be reloaded with every shot.)
  • Short-Range Shotgun: Averted in Gears of War 2, as the raw damage the Gnasher can inflict in close range was toned down from the first game but was balanced out by actually being an average weapon for medium range. Gears of War 3 introduces a double-barrled Sawed-Off Shotgun to give you a choice between the balanced Gnasher and this overspecialized shotgun. In fact, the Sawed Off's range is so short, the developers nicknamed it the "Bad Touch" gun since you'll need to be in that range to use it right.
  • Shotguns Are Just Better: You'd be hard-pressed to find somebody online in any of the 3 games who doesn't primarily use the Gnasher, and oftentimes don't take very kindly to people using anything else. Epic themselves have admitted that the Gnasher is overpowered, and that they would like to nerf it, but they won't because of the enormous backlash they would receive from the Gnasher purists who make up a large part of the community.
  • Shoulders of Doom: Pretty much the whole Gear armor kit should prevent any kind of movement whatsoever if it were even vaguely realistic.
  • Shout-Out: Several to many sources.
    • The Kantus has the same ability and trademark pose as Doom's Arch-ville.
    • The nature of the Kryll turns the game into a Homage of Pitch Black for part of the Act 2 of the first game.
    • There's an achievement for killing 10000 and 100000 enemies in the first two games, respectively, called "Seriously!?", alluding to one of Marcus's other roles.
    • In Gears of War 3, earning the Onyx medal for the number of times you executed a nemesis (Someone who kills you 5 times without you killing them) will award you with the title "My Name Is Inigo Montoya".
      • Gears of War 2 contains another Shout-Out to the same movie; one of the chapters late in the game is called "Have Fun Storming the Castle", a line from The Princess Bride.
    • In Gears of War 3, the medal for 500 MVP awards is Brütal Legend.
    • The "Architect" medal has a picture of the skull from the Crimson Omen wearing a white suit, like the Architect from The Matrix.
    • The achievement for beating the entire campaign in four-player co-op is called "We Few, We Happy Few..."
  • Sigil Spam: The Crimson Omen. Gears of War 1 and 3 both use it as a marker inexplicitly to let you know a COG Tag is nearby. The other collectibles in 3 don't get them, unfortunately, and in 2 the COG Tags don't even get them.
  • Silliness Switch:
    • The mutators in added in 3 are divided into 'easy' 'hard' and 'fun' categories. The latter is composed of Big Head Mode, Flower Blood (which, sadly, disables all gore as well), Laugh Track (which is INCESSANT, like a terrible sitcom), Headless Chicken (which causes decapitated enemies to run around in a berserk rampage for a short time) and Pinata (which adds a collection minigame of sorts).
    • There are several multiplayer events that ramps up the silliness. Two prominent examples are the Halloween event that turns everyone's head into a jack-o'-lantern, and the "Thanksgibbing" playlist, where everyone starts with a Cluckshot that shoots explosive chickens!
  • Simultaneous Arcs: Gears of War 3 does this in the first act, half of which you play as Cole and his squad as they attempt to aid Marcus.
  • Sincerest Form of Flattery: The developers point to Resident Evil 4 as an influence, which then came full circle, as the developers of Resident Evil 5 bragged about their "Gears of War controls".
  • Small Girl, Big Gun: Anya, Samantha and Bernie in the third game. Though not petite, they are smaller than the male Gears.
  • Sophisticated as Hell: The "Young Adam Fenix" multiplayer skin has quips like this, since he's probably the smartest individual in the Gears Of War universe. "Kiss my highly educated ass!" indeed.
  • Sorting Algorithm of Evil:
    • Fairly blatantly used in 2. While talking about Skorge, Marcus states he "makes RAAM look like a Goddamn pushover". Somewhat justified by linking the emergence of a "GIANT WORM!!!" to the Lightmass Bomb.
    • Played with in 3- you start off against the new and explode-y Lambent, and fight them and the Locust in varied intervals. By the end of the game, though, the Locust you fight are loads and loads of Myrrah's Guards along with the bigger Boomers, Grinders, Armoured Kantus, etc. Possibly a Justified Trope that Myrrah only managed to get her elite forces to keep up with her and the main Locust force is kept at bay on Azura by the COG reinforcements.
  • Soundtrack Dissonance:
    • Joseph Kosinski's famous commercial for the first game where scenes of carnage are set to the tune of "Mad World". The sequel's commercial has Delta Squad drilling into Locust territory as "How It Ends" plays in the background. The main trailer for Gears of War 3 has Into Dust playing in the background.
    • Just to show how things are going full circle, "Mad World" gets an instrumental Dark Reprise as Dom sacrifices himself in Gears of War 3. The calm piano melody is offset by the carnage of the act.
  • Spin-Offspring: Gears 4's main character JD Fenix is the son of Marcus and Anya. It hasn't been revealed if there will be any other "second generation" characters.
  • The Squad: Delta Squad
  • Squad Controls: You can order your team to either hold back or advance. These controls were dropped for the sequels.
  • The Squadette: Anya, Sam, and Bernie in Gears of War 3; Alicia in RAAM's Shadow.
  • The Smurfette Principle: Subverted in Gears of War 3. Delta Squad gets a total of three female Gears.
  • Sssssnake Talk: Theron Guards
  • The Stoic: Marcus
  • Story-to-Gameplay Ratio: The first game was fairly low, it had a solid story with a beginning, middle and end but the gameplay didn't have much bearing on the story (Once Marcus and Dom do a game-enforced split-up to "cover more ground" but all it does is force you to play alone for a minute before coming back together on the same path). Gears 2 had a lot stronger storyline but carried a few similar "irrelevant to the story but cool anyway" set-ups (the deployable cover you find in the Nexus doesn't really do much). By Gears of War 3 almost all scenarios and gameplay shifts were designed to facilitate the story.
  • Stripperific: Averted in the third game, where this trope was mentioned in an interview. Female Gears will be wearing the same bulky armor on their upper-bodies, although they do wear skin-tight leggings instead of wearing baggy pants like the men, and by virtue of character design, they are still physically smaller than the men. They do manage to show at least some skin as Delta Squad switches to summer, sleeveless uniforms, but the game series is certainly gender balanced in Fanservice.
  • Suicidal Overconfidence:
    • In the first game, your teammates' propensity for vaulting over a perfectly good piece of cover in order to charge straight into enemy fire and get shot full of holes is absolutely ridiculous. Almost certainly a form of Fake Difficulty designed to make the player do all the work instead of letting the A.I. do most of the fighting. Rectified in the sequel with smarter squadmates less likely to break cover and do this (and who also can soak much more damage).
    • Locust in Gears 3's Horde mode are prone to doing this. It's rather interesting to watch a sniper of all things trying to rush at a primed and ready Mulcher.
  • Sword Drag : running while holding a cleaver will result in this
  • Take Cover: THE Trope Codifier for the genre. The way Epic Games made it work compared to similar shooters was by shortening the distances you'd engage enemies (making the fighting generally more frantic) and evening out the durability of both sides (Locust are just as durable as you are). They also pointed towards playing paintball as an inspiration, as much of the game is trying to replicate the adrenaline rush you'd get in a Real Life combat situation and patiently waiting for an enemy to expose themselves. Lampshaded perfectly in the second game by Marcus:
    Marcus: The Golden Rule of Gears: Take Cover or die.
  • Taken for Granite: Gears of War 3 features the city of Char filled with crowds of people who have been flash-fried into statues of ash, the first real depiction in the games of the absolute hell the Hammer of Dawn counterattacks have caused.
  • Teeth-Clenched Teamwork: Marcus and Baird do not get along very well, though they do gradually get on friendlier terms. By the second game, they mostly throw friendly insults at each other. Explained in-universe that Baird was initially resentful of Marcus given command over him or Cole, considering at the start of the games, he and Cole outranked him or Dom and, despite Marcus being a decorated Gear and war hero, Marcus was also discharged and imprisoned who is only active again because the military doesn't have a choice. In the novels, they finally do end up more or less getting along. Of note is that Baird is specifically mentioned to not be afraid of Marcus at all, just a little uneasy because he can't figure out what motivates him (which is how Baird classifies people).
    • Brought back in 3. While Marcus and Baird are now getting along, there is considerable friction between Baird and Sam in the first Acts, with them throwing all sorts of sarcastic quips at each other. The nature of their rivalry is implied to stem from Sam trying to be Dom's new Love Interest. They ease up considerably after Dom's Heroic Sacrifice.
  • That Makes Me Feel Angry: Marcus sometimes shouts "Now I'm pissed!" upon being revived, and some Locust in Campaign may shout "RRRRRAAAAAGE!" while attacking you.
  • "The Reason You Suck" Speech: In Gears of War 3, Myrrah calls out on humanity being a bunch of genocidal monsters, just like how they view the Locust. It almost sounds hypocritical, considering Emergence Day, until you realize Myrrah had no choice because of the Lambent.
  • There Is No Kill Like Overkill: Gears Of War 2 allows characters to use mortars, miniguns and a multitude of over-the-top weaponry to kill mere infantry. Not to mention multiple characters can chainsaw a single enemy at the same time. That's not counting the ludicrous amount of overkill inherent to using a Brumak against hapless Locust.
  • The Squad: Delta Squad, of course.
  • This Is for Emphasis, Bitch!:
    • One segment in Gears of War 2 gives you free reign to snipe Locust from a ridge. Achieving five kills in a row with the sniper rifle, and Marcus will yell: "That's one. That's two! That's THREE! THAT'S FOUR! THAT'S FIVE, MOTHERFUCKERS!"
    • Delivered straight by Marcus when he guts Myrrah in Gears of War 3:
    Marcus: " You feel that? That's from Dom... and everyone else you killed you bitch!"
  • Token Minority:
    • Averted in the racial sense, as the series is very diverse, since the humans of Sera are shattered remnant of dozens of nations.
    • The third game makes sure that there is always at least one female in your squad in the Campaign. The only time that you get a squad of 4 men is when Alicia is killed by RAAM in RAAM's Shadow and gets replaced by a young Jace.
      • You forgot in Chapter 2 - from mid-act 1 onward, the squad is the classic Delta line-up (Marcus, Dom, Baird, and Cole)
  • Too Dumb to Live
    • After having her entire army wiped from the face of the planet and finding herself in the company of the bereaved Delta Squad, Myrrah takes the opportunity to gloat about their losses. It doesn't go so well.
  • Took a Level in Badass:
    • The Carmine family name, via the introduction of Clayton in Gears of War 3.
    • JACK gets upgraded to be helpful in combat late in the third game.
  • Trick Arrow: the tripwire crossbow in judgment sports arrows that will stick to walls and turn into tripwire-beam explosive traps (arguably the torque-bow's arrows qualify too)
  • Trope Codifier: Gears of War didn't invent cover-based shooters (that honor goes to the PS2 games Kill.Switch and Win Back), but it unquestionly took the gameplay mechanic from the realm of obscure Japanese widget to mainstream Hollywood blockbuster.
  • True Companions: This is Band of Brothers: The Game. In fact, the tagline for Gears of War 3 is "Brothers to The End". In the Expanded Universe, the enitre COG army is pretty much this both before and after Emergence Day. If you are a Gear, you know you can always count on every single other Gear to have your back, no matter what, even if they don't like you. Since the army is so small after Emergence Day, a large majority of Gears know every other Gear still alive.
  • Uncle Tomfoolery: ALL ABOARD THE COLE TRAIN, BABY!. Cole is the Expy of Terry Tate, Office Linebacker, except with a very big gun. Aside from the flamboyant, boisterous actions of Cole (the "Cole Train" multiplayer skin in Gears of War 3 being the prime example), all other blacks, such as Jace, are written very 21st century.
  • Unexpected Gameplay Change: After spending the entire game skulking cover to cover, Gears of War 2 ends in an unstoppable juggernaut section, followed by a point-and-click Final Boss. The earlier Reaver-piloting Rail Shooter sections certainly count. Likewise, the trip to the town of Mercy in Gears of War 3 and the beautiful submarine segment to Azura, albeit somewhat boring.
  • Unflinching Walk: While not entirely unflinching, Tai's walking out of the debris of his squad's grindlift rig when it is destroyed has him looking quite unconcerned with the fact it just happened.
  • Unmoving Plaid: Judgment has a player skin like this included with the VIP Pass.
  • Updated Re-release: The PC version of Gears of War features several new levels in the last act that make the overall plot flow more coherently, as well as a new boss battle against a Brumak. If it's any consolation to console gamers, these levels are unoptimized and tend to lag even on bleeding edge hardware.
  • Vehicular Assault: Although they're technically more of a mount, all the non-Lambent Brumak fights go this way. Likewise on the various occasions that Delta has to fight Reavers on foot.
  • Very Definitely Final Dungeon: Azura in the third game.
  • Video Game Cruelty Potential: Downed characters crawl on the ground in the sequels until death. In the first game, you could leave them there, unmoving, until death via blood loss. In every game, executions are possible and encouraged, with the second game introducing weapon-exclusive executions that look excruciatingly painful. Oh, and then there's the Scorcher flamethrower.
    • You could just drop your meatshield instantly by swapping to another weapon and get back to fighting faster... oooorrrr you could relieve more stress by playing an animation of snapping the meatshield's neck before dropping them.
  • Video Game Remake: The first game was remade for the Xbox One under the title Gears of War: Ultimate Edition. While the original game was already in HD and cutting edge at the time of release, it got an overhaul for this release. Notably, it averts Real Is Brown by making the color palette more consistent with later games. It also changes the ending cutscene, replacing the nameless scarf-wearing Theron riding a Reaver (who never showed up in any of the other games) with Queen Myrrah riding the Tempest.
  • Villainous Breakdown: Towards the end of Gears of War 3, Queen Myrrah loses a lot of her previously cool and composed demeanor and becomes increasingly rabid and hysterical... fairly understandable, considering she's facing the complete annihilation of her species.
  • Violation of Common Sense: Tickers explode when shot or when they get close, so naturally you want to keep your distance. If you don't, and instead close in and hit them with a (non-chainsaw) melee attack, not only will they not explode, but they will be sent flying away too far to hurt you with their explosion, and if they don't explode when they land, they'll be disoriented and wander aimlessly instead of charging you when they get back on their feet.
  • Vitriolic Best Buds: Baird and Cole. Baird and Marcus too, prevalent throughout the first game, and while toned down in the second and third it's still there.
  • Voice with an Internet Connection: Anya
  • Walking Disaster Area: Every place the C.O.G. show up seems to get attacked by Locust and/or Lambent, much to the dismay of others. The Stranded, especially Griffinnote  despise them because of this, as when the Gears shows up seeking fuel, the city gets attacked by Locust and the Stranded end up suffering heavy casualties. Paduk also expresses his distaste for the COG in "Aftermath" when the group gets repeatedly attacked on their way to get a boat.
    Paduk: This never happens to me when I'm alone.
  • Walk It Off
  • War Is Hell: The hell that is Sera is made even worse by the constant fighting, first between the COG and the UIR, then between humanity and the Locust Horde and the Lambent. This is especially prominent in 3, when supplies are scarce, meaning an entire act is played where people are out on an ammunition run and note how long it has been since they got decent food to eat. The Locust don't have it much better by that point, being forced to degenerate completely to savagery rather than their flooded underground base of operations. The theme is actually shown again in Judgment, however.
    Sofia: This isn't war, this is cruelty.
    Loomis: War is cruelty.
  • Weaponized Animal: Most of the Locust "vehicles" and some of the weapons are actully enslaved creatures from the Hollow.
  • We Hardly Knew Ye: The first two Carmine brothers. Averted with Kim and Tai, who are now primary characters in "RAAM's Shadow" for Gears of War 3.
  • We Have Reserves: The Locust Horde is described this way in supplementary material, being willing to sacrifice a hundred Drones just to kill one Gear. This is less so in Gears of War 2, where the Locust military exhibits some self-preservationist behavior, e.g. retreating and falling back, but only when on the receiving end of bad mojo, like being chased by a goddamn Brumak or the Lambent Locust, which is justified since overexposure to Imulsion would turn them into Lambent.
  • "Well Done, Son!" Guy:
    • Marcus in the extended universe.
    • Shades of this appear in the actual game when Gears of War 3 rolls around: "It was always his work my father cared about... his research." Poor Marcus.
  • We Will Meet Again: Griffin vows revenge against Marcus towards the end of Gears of War 3 before pulling a Villain Exit Stage Left. Somewhat odd, given that this is the last game in the trilogy.
  • What Happened to the Mouse?:
    • Don't buy the third game if you expect any sort of explanation for the Sires.
    • The strangeness of the queen, looking much like a human unlike the rest of the Locust, and even surviving the anti-Imulsion and Locust superweapon, is noted by Baird before it happens, and it is never explained.
    • What's with the disk Adam gives to Baird? One thing's for sure, you won't find out in the same game.
  • Wolfpack Boss: The Armoured Kanti in Gears of War 3.
  • Womb Level: The Rift Worm in the second game.
  • World-Healing Wave: Adam Fenix's machine neutralizes the Lambent parasite across the entire world, killing anything infected by it as well, including Adam, Fenix's father.
  • World of Muscle Men
  • Would Hit a Girl: Berserkers; you'd better hit them HARD or else they'll rip you to shreds. In the third game, the Locust and Lambent have no qualms about shooting, downing and executing female Gears.
  • Would Hurt a Child: In the expansion RAAM's Shadow for Gears of War 3, a small child gets put into an evacuation transport only to be pulled underground by a Corpser the second the transport pulls away.
  • X Meets Y: Horde 2.0 in Gears of War 3 is Horde Mode from the second mixed with Tower Defense elements.
  • You Are in Command Now: Marcus
  • You Have Got to Be Kidding Me!: Marcus' reaction to having to fight a Berserker onboard a train.
  • Your Head Asplode:
    • Done by headshots from almost all weapons in Gears of War if they hit your head when it does enough damage to deplete your Hit Points. They even sell an action figure of a Drone with its head a-sploding.
    • Gears of War 3 hilariously introduces a "Mutator" for Arcade Mode and Horde 2.0. What does it do? Enemies victim to would-be-fatal headshots frantically run around the map attacking anything without mercy. Makes for funny moments when all that's left of their craniums is a bloodied stump while managing to continue screaming.
  • Your Mom: Prescott gets furious if you lose a multiplayer round.
    Prescott: I wish your indigent fathers had never met your indulgent mothers!
  • Your Princess Is in Another Castle: The Resonator fails. Even after that, the Lightmass Bomb is insufficient to wipe the Locust out. In the sequel, sinking Jacinto isn't enough to stop the persistent creatures permanently.
  • Zombie Apocalypse: The Lambent, more so once the infection is discovered to spread to humans.

The Books provide examples of:

  • Animal Reaction Shot: Bernie's dog Mac gets a few of these.
  • Arc Words: The phrase "Understand what a world had to do to survive" is repeated by multiple people in power throughout the series, including Hoffman, Prescott, and even Myrrah.
  • 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.
  • Enemy Mine: The dynamic between what's left of the COG and the Gorasni, the latter being the last of the long-defeated UIR.
  • Fantastic Racism:
    • While the townspeople of Pelruan and the Gorasni 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 anyone who wasn't part of the COG, to the point that even those who willingly allied with them were ineligible to earn medals for their military achievements.
      Hoffman: What do you mean, Pesang troops aren't eligible for the Embry Star? What kind of xenophobic bullshit is that? You mean you've got to be defeated by the COG before you get recognition? Pesang volunteered to fight with us, as a free country. That makes them twice the men of any of our damn vassal territories.
  • 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.

Alternative Title(s): Gears Of War, Gears Of War 3, Gears Of War 2, Gears Of War Judgment, Gears Of War 1, Gears Of War 4