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YMMV: Gears of War
  • Alternate Character Interpretation: In universe, with opinions on Chairman Richard Prescott being decidedly mixed. Most of the civilians love him until he abandons Vectes in Coalition's End, and they begin to despise him and consider him a coward. Bernadette Mataki doesn't consider him one, wondering what exactly would make a "unlikable but brave man" abandon those who had led and protected for fifteen years. His motivations are extremely complicated, and some are still unrevealed, and even after his return and death, the Gears debate exactly what kind of man he is and try to figure out why he acted like he did.
    • Also happens to Cole in the third game. The previous games portrayed him as a magnanimous, charismatic pro-athlete-turned-pro-soldier who is fearless and loyal. The third game has a section where Cole runs through a heated battle, fantasizing that he is still on the athletic field, seeing heavily-armed enemies as players for the opposing team. It makes the observer wonder if, when demonstrating how Bad Ass he was in previous games, (all the time spouting Thrashball-terminology like "We're going into overtime!") he actually realized what was going on. It's worth noting that this sequence occurs during the only time Cole was the player character in all three campaigns.
      • In the books, it is revealed that Cole is very aware of everything that is going on, and most of his cheer and boisterousness is him faking it to keep up his comrades' morale. It's likely that being back in his hometown and finding the stadium where he had played at overrun by Stranded and Lambent started making him crack a bit.
    • This article presents a rather...different view of COG.
      • That guy probably just did that for the lulz. Cliff was always very vocal about Sera simply being an "alternate Earth", not some colony world or the like. It was just a human-populated planet that they happened to call "Sera" instead of "Earth". Okay, a human-populated planet with a subterranean race living below and a sentient liquid fuel source, but you get the idea.
  • Anticlimax Boss: The final boss of Gears Of War 2, the Lambent Brumak, literally dies in 2 or 3 seconds. Climax Boss Skorge himself puts up a reasonable fight, but is nowhere nearly as tough as General RAAM was back in the first.
  • Author's Saving Throw: The widely praised story of Gears of War 3 seems to have lessened some of the vitriol thrown at Karen Traviss.
  • Awesome Music: The Cole Train rap that plays during the first game's ending credits.
  • Base Breaker
    • The Sawed-Off Shotgun in Gears 3. A multitude of the fanbase started frothing at the mouth and swore to quit the game if it isn't patched. They claim that it encourages camping, is too noob friendly due to its 180 degree spread and slows the pacing of the game to a crawl. Others say it's fine as it is due to incredible short range and long reload time.
      • Now that the sawed off has been proven to have a longer gib range than the gnasher, as well as a spread that doesn't even require the user to be looking at an enemy to kill with it, the backlash towards the gun has gotten even worse. Cliff Bleszinski's reaction essentially being "deal with it" has not helped matters, either. The gib range has since been patched to be shorter than that of the Gnasher.
      • And Judgement will now be giving the weapon 2 shots per clip. The fandom was not happy.
    • Fans are already crying foul at Judgment's Multiplayer changes. The most prolific one? Downs and executions are almost completely gone.
      • As are the Locust. OverRun is the only mode where Locust are playable, with other team-based modes being Red COG vs. Blue COG. The devs cited the community's preference for the COG team as the reason for this change. Most likely they are referring to the people mentioned in Complacent Gaming Syndrome below, but even they seem to be mad.
  • Cargo Ship: Paduk gets into this a bit with regards to the Markza sniper rifle - the weapon's first appearance in Judgment has him loudly attest "This isn't a gun! It's a comrade.". The discovery of the Locust modifying the Markza into the scopeless bolt-action Breechshot has him say "What have they done to my Markza!?" in outrage.
  • Complacent Gaming Syndrome:
    • The Gnasher Shotgun is the king of this trope. Using the Gnasher exclusively is a point of pride for many Gears players, a large percentage of which consider it the only proper way to play the game, and will be furious if anyone dares to use other weapons. Expect to see many Gamertags containing the word "Gnashty", and many Onyx Gnasher medals attached to said Gamertags in the third game and in Judgment. In the first game, using a weapon other than the Gnasher will likely get you kicked from a Player Match. The community's obsession with the Gnasher brings to mind the Flanderized depiction of competitive Super Smash Bros. players ("Fox only! No items! Final Destination!"), the only difference being that the Smash Bros. players know that Fox is a very high-tier character, while the Gears players seem to believe that the Gnasher is the only weapon which is not overpowered, despite it being one of the strongest and most versatile weapons in the game.
    • Maps are not exempt from this trope. Gridlock swamped the results screen whenever you searched for a match in the first game. It's popularity led it to be included in both sequels (but not in Judgment). The second game introduced map voting, which lessened this somewhat, but River or Jacinto would always be picked if they were one of the choices (Jacinto would later come back in 3). Blood Drive was also very popular, especially in Horde, due to how easy it is to camp at one of the spawn points and kill the Locust as they funnel into the narrow stairs to get to you (this map came back in 3 as part of a Horde-themed DLC pack and a redesigned version came back in Judgment). The third game had Checkout, which is an incredibly Gnasher-friendly map, so of course it was the most popular map (and came back in Judgment unchanged).
    • Characters are not exempt either. Anthony Carmine dominated the character selection before anyone even knew his first name. His brother Benjamin shared this status with him in the second game. The third game and Judgment allow you to play as female characters, which are skinnier than the males, so many people will choose them so that they are a smaller target. The third game also has a lot of people playing as the Kantus (and both versions of Savage Kantus) while on Locust for the same reason. The first two games didn't have much Locust-related CGS (unless you count people in the first game who refused to play on Locust altogether and would quit matches if they were forced onto the team), and Judgment removed the Locust from the regular multiplayer modes altogether.
  • Complete Monster: Queen Myrrah starts a war with the human race on Sera just six weeks after the Pendulum Wars-a 79 year old conflict ended. She orders the deaths of every man, woman, and child on the surface so the Locust can colonize, enslaving the human stragglers and lobotomizing them as Dom found out what happened to his wife Maria. She immediately turned down the diplomatic option when the Lambent wore down her forces underground, saying that the best thing to do is kill every human being instead of focusing on the lambent. These actions caused billions of human deaths on Sera, forcing COG to use the Hammer of Dawn to scorch the earth so much it's an Apocalyptic World.Finally, after she loses at the end of Gears of War 3, with both Lambent and Locust going extinct due to Adam Fenix's invention she mocks Marcus on his father's Heroic Sacrifice to stop the Lambent.
  • Demonic Spiders: Kantus priests in the sequel can revive downed Locust troops from halfway across the battlefield, summoning Tickers out of nowhere, armed with a burst-fire Gorgon pistol that does ludicrous amounts of damage, Ink Grenades and can perform dodge rolls the moment you get a bead on them. Try to get in range to use that chainsaw bayonet and they'll knock you down with a sonic, screeching attack.
    • The new and improved Reavers from Gears of War 2 onwards tend to spring into action at the most inconvenient times.
    • Theron Guards filled this role in the first game: much more intelligent than the normal Drone and with armed an explosive-firing Torque Bow.
    • Myrrah's Royal Guards in Gears of War 3 are essentially Theron Guards on steroids. Digger Boomers are even worse, as their Digger Launchers can bypass cover.
    • Lambent Drudges combine toughness with numbers (every Lambent encounter seems to have at least one, if not several) and the ability to mutate into newer, nastier forms if they take too much damage in the wrong regions of their body.
    • Lambent Gunkers have an extendable cleaver-arm that will instantly down you if you get too close, and they fling Imulsion balls at long range that will knock you down even on Normal difficulty. To make it worse, their recharge is just about as long as the time it takes an AI to come and revive you...
    • Kantus priests are no longer the nuisance they were in the second game: the torch has been passed to their "armored" bretheren in Gears of War 3. These Dual Wielding-Gorgon pistol blighters are absolutely immune to small arms fire, and their armor is also made of knives, thus their evading manuevers are prone to slicing you apart (provided you're unfortunate enough to be within "roll into you" range). At least their mouths glow when they screech, kindly informing you when to empty your weapon at their heads, unless you have explosive ordinance or something that starts fires.
  • Ensemble Darkhorse: Anthony Carmine from the first game, to the point where his popularity baffled the developers. They brought his younger brother Benjamin to the sequel just for the sake of having a similar character. In Gears of War 2, Benjamin mentions writing to his older brother Clayton Carmine, who appears in the last of the trilogy. Clayton's fate was then determined by fans via purchasing T-shirts for their Xbox Live Avatars, with the profits going towards the Child's Play charity.
    • To put it in persective, Anthony has two lines in the whole game: one where he asks if Marcus is the Marcus Fenix and the second is explaining to Marcus how his gun keeps jamming. He then gets his head shot off.
    • Baird's also highly popular, at least going by the "favorite character" polls on the official Gears forums.
    • RAAM: He's the most Bad Ass Locust hands down. How could you not class him as an Ensemble Darkhorse after that kind of reaction, considering he was only put in their at the last minute to serve as the Final Boss of the first game? That proves just how awesome he is.
  • Even Better Sequel
  • Freud Was Right: The riftworm... The final scene before it dies pretty much clears any remaining doubt.
  • Gameplay Derailment: How the developers wanted people to play the games: Take Cover and wait patiently for the enemy to expose themselves. How people actually play the games: Use cover as nothing more than a way to bounce around the map quickly while hipfiring shotguns at each other. Any attempts to balance the game to make other playstyles viable have either been ineffective or met with pretty severe backlash from the community. Sometimes both. Nothing can really compete with Gnasher wallbouncing since keeping a rifle trained on a wallbouncer is tricky, and they will most likely close the gap between you and one-shot you before you can down them. Not to mention that stopping to aim and fire your rifle is just an open invitation for somebody else to kill you from behind with their Gnasher.
    • The Retro Lancer was added in the third game essentially as a counter to the Gnasher. As a result, people just use both. The Retro is victim to its own Gameplay Derailment in that it's intended as a powerful but inaccurate automatic rifle with strong recoil used primarily at close range. However, people have learned to fire single shots in order to keep its maximum accuracy, essentially using it as a more effective Hammerburst (the actual semi-automatic rifle intended to be used from somewhat far away).
  • Funny Moments: Among them include Damon Baird and Augustus Cole having to slog through a sewer while Marcus Fenix and Dominic "Dom" Santiago are high and relatively dry, the part of the Riftworm Womb Level where you have to run through toxic intestines, and Cole's ENTIRE rant when he grabs a mic and cuts off Myrrah during one of her speeches. There's also a couple easter eggs that are more than a little silly.
    Baird: "I'm coughing up blood... that ain't mine!"
    • When part of Delta is about to fall off a collapsing bridge in Gears of War 3, we get this gem from the ever sarcastic Baird to Samantha Bryne:
    Baird: "I suppose you want me to say I've always loved you. But I don't! I really, really don't!"
  • God Damned Bats: Wretches in many encounters. Their lambent counterparts will likely cause huge amounts of frustration.
    • Kryll from Gears of War are Goddamned Bats with four wings.
    • Tickers from Gears of War 2 are Goddamned Bats that try to BLOW YOU UP.
    • The Formers, or Lambent humans in Gears of War 3 and the Locust Shriekers.
  • Growing the Beard: Cliff Bleszinski of Epic Games had an interview where he described the company has been slowly expanding their comfort level with the games, due in part to bringing in people with more experience in non-programming things like framing cut scenes and story writing/dialogue.
  • Harsher in Hindsight: Go back and watch Kim's death scene after playing RAAM's Shadow. You will see a certain malice coming from RAAM that you didn't see before as he stares Kim right in the eyes while killing him. RAAM has been waiting over a decade for this revenge and it shows, even though the events of RAAM's Shadow had almost certainly not been conceived at the time the first game was made.
  • Hell Is That Noise: Kantus and Berserker screams.
  • Ho Yay:
    • The achievements (and one scene in the sequel) heavily imply that Dom and Marcus have a little more than just a business relationship... Dom in particular. An interview with Epic Games and the guy who named them said he loved making them into as many jokes and Double Entendres as he can (assuming he did knew what he would be getting into). One could argue that Maria's presence in the sequel, when she was only alluded to in the first game, was mainly to put an end to an excess of such jokes and speculation on the part of the fans, although this theory would hold up a little better if the developers hadn't also included cooperative achievements called "Dom-Curious," "One-Night Stand," "Open Relationship," etc.
    • Some fans have apparently seen this between Baird and Cole.
  • HSQ: Much of the game is built on this reaction.
    • Anya's reactions to Marcus's hijacking various Locust beasts definitely qualifies:
    Marcus: "Control! We've hijacked a Brumak and we're-"
    Anya: You what?
  • Inferred Holocaust: Collateral damage caused by The Lightmass Bomb after Gears of War. The bomb evaporated a lot of the Imulsion in the Locust tunnels; on the surface, it causes a fatal disease called "rustlung".
  • It's The Same Now It Sucks: Gears of War 2 had some complaints because much of the preview footage was showcasing the enhanced visuals, with everything else having the same weapon selection. It wasn't until they started showcasing the new features that quite a few people quieted down, particularly a demonstration of the new weapons, chainsaw duels and using meat shields.
  • Memetic Badass (It's Carmine!)
  • Memetic Mutation: WHERE'S MY WIIIIIIIIFE?!
  • Moral Event Horizon: Though the Locust are presented early on as bastards with the whole genocide motive, Gears of War 2 makes absolutely certain that the player should feel zero pity for them.
  • Most Wonderful Sound: * click* bip bip...beep! THOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOM
    • Revving up the chainsaw bayonet.
    • The gong sound that plays when you kill the last enemy in a firefight. It's so zen!
  • Nightmare Fuel:
    • The New Hope Outpost in Gears of War 2 has a pretty twisted history. Some of it is trying to kill you. Then there's Tai Kaliso's death and Benjamin Carmine's exposed ribs. Oh, and don't forget the Sires.
    • Fighting a Brumak in Horde. Alone. Without help!
  • Narm: While 95% of the story runs off of narm charm, the ending for Gears of War 3 really takes the cake. After what may be one of the most frustrating boss battles ever, Marcus takes off his armour and he sits on a beach and looks to the sunset.
  • Narm Charm: There's almost something cute about the Boomers yelling "Boom!" before every shot.
  • Older Than They Think: The chainsaw bayonet appeared in the Mutant Chronicles RPG first.
    • The blind-fire cover-based shooter was pioneered by the mostly-overlooked kill.switch game, though Gears of War is the one that made it famous.
      • Much older then that: try Win Back all the way on the Nintendo 64.
      • A somewhat-older game in the tradition of Gears is a long-forgotten Microsoft cult-classic called Outwars.
  • Player Punch: Dom finding Maria.
    • For many players, this was Benjamin's death in Gears of War 2, even with the knowledge he would die from the start.
    • Dom's death in Gears of War 3.
  • Reverse Funny Aneurysm: The line "Yeah, but he [Skorge] makes RAAM look like a Goddamn pushover" stems likely from the fact Skorge cuts through a tank, but it quickly becomes apparent Skorge is nowhere near the level of RAAM's ability to induce frustration.
  • Revenue Enhancing Devices: Gears of War 3 was heavily promoted to have dedicated servers, to end the host advantage that had plagued the game since launch. However, upon release of the Fenix Rising DLC pack, everyone who didn't buy the DLC was dumped onto a single "Player's Choice" playlist which had gametypes chosen by vote. This meant that to play the less-popular gametypes required buying the DLC or playing on P2P servers.
  • Scrappy Level: Any time Delta Squad had to drive anything, especially those Reavers. Except the Brumak ride. That classified as awesome.
  • "Stop Having Fun" Guys and Scrubs: Pretty much every match in the first game was fought with nothing but Gnashers. Everything else was considered cheap, especially the Lancer. When Gears of War 2 came along with its shotgun nerfing and even-easier chainsawing methods (not that it was exceptionally easy in the first game), cries of They Changed It, Now It Sucks were rampant, as nobody wanted to learn how to use any other weapon.
  • That One Boss:
    • RAAAAAAAAAAMMMM!!! While he actually isn't too bad (other than being Made of Iron and having minor Puzzle Boss elements), the Reavers and wild Kryll that randomly join in while you're trying to fight him make it very much a Luck-Based Mission.
    • The Final Boss in Gears of War 3 is just as, if not, more difficult than RAAM. It has a devastating flame attack with a huge area-of-effect that will down you in less than a second of exposure, a shitload of health and, to make things worse, constant waves of Royal Guards and Shriekers while you try to deal with it. There are so many Palace Guards in fact, that by the end of the campaign they will be your most killed enemy, outnumbering your second most killed enemy by at least double.
    • The Lambent Berserker is rage-inducing as well, especially after it starts dropping the one-hit down lambent juice behind it.
    • Gunkers are Demonic Spiders (although they are counted as a boss enemy in Horde), but there is one Gunker at the beginning of "Hanging By a Thread" that can gunk/scythe you as soon as you drop down from the zipline. On Insane difficulty, you don't get downed, you just die. This makes it a severely Luck-Based Mission.
  • That One Level: The fuel station in the first game. The enemy is superior in every way (they have better position, higher numbers, spawn in two waves), it's the first time they wield those insta-kill Torque Bows, and if you die, you always have to go through a long corridor after respawning just to start the fight. A nightmare on every difficulty level higher than Casual.
  • They Changed It, Now It Sucks: Lots of people whined and cried about the Gnasher receiving hard nerfs in Gears of War 2.
    • This may be why the final title update for the game changed the Gnasher into what is basically a hunting rifle.
    • And don't dare suggest anywhere that the changes which were made to the MP in Judgement - which switched the loadout so you had to choose between a Gnasher/Sawed-off and one of the rifles (with back up snub pistol as standard) and increased the Lancer's chainsaw rev-up speed so it now became viable to win a close range Lancer/Gnasher duel with the Lancer - was an interesting attempt to change a formula which was starting to get a bit stale. Internet Backdraft was so great that the back-up weapon was changed to Gnasher as standard and the Lancer was nerfed.
  • Ugly Cute: Baby corpsers from Gears of War 3. DAWWWW!!
    • The Tickers too.
  • Visual Effects of Awesome: The game series is generally known for its gorgeous graphics, especially textures and particle physics. The visuals in these games alone (before the cut scenes) are often better than full motion videos of other games.
    • It helps that each subsequent game improves on the Unreal Engine 3, with Gears of War 3 being the most detailed and fine-tuned of the three. Gears of War 3 also has some really stunning and creative visuals, such as the super-trippy opening level dream sequence, the Half-Life 2: Episode Two-style morphing environments and the lighting effect from the Tempest's Breath Weapon.
  • Win Back the Crowd: The beta for the third game seems to have done this, winning back a great deal many players who despised the second's multiplayer.
  • The Woobie: Dom. Everyone had their faces designed so they don't have to express much to show their personality. Dom constantly looks sad.
    • By the end of the trilogy, Marcus.

The Books provide examples of:

  • Moral Event Horizon: Many of the Stranded consider anyone associated with the COG to have crossed it with the Hammer of Dawn counterattack, but considering how badly the COG was losing the war and the fact many Stranded gleefully cross the horizon themselves to survive or for fun, the accusation rings a little hollow.

The Comics provide examples of:

The Characters provide examples of:

  • Memetic Mutation: Lieutenant Minh Young Kim has got the codes.
    • Ascended Meme: One of the tier 4 medals for interacting with objects during the campaign is called "I've Got The Codes".
    • Call Back: In "RAAM's Shadow"
    Barrick: Do you have the code?
  • Wheelchair Woobie: 2nd Lieutenant Donald Mathieson lost his legs in a Locust attack, forcing him to be stuck in the CIC instead of fighting, to his great frustration.
  • What an Idiot: Yeah, Chairman Richard Prescott, hide the fact that information on the Locust capital is at a secret base, and the location of vital fuel supplies. Oh, and the fact that an island the population of Jacinto could have evacuated to is not contaminated like everybody else thought. That will be real helpful to the war effort.
  • Cargo Ship: Private Dizzy Wallin has one with Betty, his grindlift.
  • That One Boss: General RAAM, in contrast to the other, relatively easy bosses in the series, can be an extremely tough one. This is due to a fairly narrow battle section, the Kryll shield and the Troika turret he is carrying. Then again, he is the game's Final Boss.

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