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  • 8.8: There was some backlash when the Trope Namer, Jeff Gerstmann, gave the first game's ultimate edition 2/5 stars.
  • Abridged Arena Array: You'd be perfectly forgiven for thinking that Gridlock was the only map actually available in the first game, as it was just about the only one players wanted to play on. It's the first map in the default quickplay rotation and is a fairly large map, so most players viewed it as the most "balanced" in terms of cover and weapons availble. Occasionally, you could get lucky and play on War Machine or Raven Down. War Machine is a decent sized map as well and featured a Troika turret with Bottomless Magazines for easy kill-farming (although it's very vulnerable to sniper fire). And of course, Raven Down was the ultimate haven for the infestation of Gnasher users, since it's the smallest map in the series and only features 2 frag grenade spawns as weapons, making it a wet dream for "Stop Having Fun" Guys who despised every other weapon. Any other maps were tragically forgotten.
    • In Gears of War 2, expect to play on Security, Jacinto and River. Security is a small map with One-Hit Kill laser fences that block off parts of the map and was especially popular for King of the Hill matches as a result. Jacinto looks pretty and had a wide variety of weapons available and plenty of corners for surprising players. There was no real discernable reason for why River was voted on so much, but the two spawns on the map make players sitting ducks for any Boomshot or Longshot users in play. On the Horde side, Blood Drive was extremely popular, as the spawn points on the map are enclosed rooms with the only entrances being a large staircase that made the Locust sitting ducks as they funneled into the stairs to get to you. It was also fairly popular in multiplayer since it has tons of combat options for more strategic players and was one of the few maps to feature two grenade spawns.
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    • For Gears of War 3, Checkout, Drydock, Sandbar and Trenches were the most common maps to see. Checkout is specifically built for Gnasher fights, and since everyone in multiplayer is a complacent Gnasher user, it beat out every other map in votes. Drydock is a large map that allows players to steamroll the other team if they can control the raised platforms in the middle of the map. Sandbar is an absolutely massive map with almost no cover, so getting any significant distance from your opponent allowed you to gun them down while they frantically ran in the open. Trenches is a very small map that featured an Interface Screw-causing sandstorm, making it rather easy to sneak up on players. It was also widely popular in Beast mode, since Beast is a Timed Mission and you spawned very close to the enemies, which saved a lot of time.
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    • Since Gears of War 4 featured almost nothing but recycled maps from the previous games as DLC, all of the above usually applies to it. However, with regards to its launch maps, you'll rarely play on anything that isn't Foundation or Reclaimed. Foundation is a rather small map, which is especially popular for King of the Hill and Escalation since teams don't have to travel far to capture rings, and is also designed to be very Gnasher-friendly while Reclaimed is a very big map with a perched gazebo at the top that allows snipers and heavy weapon users to see almost the entire map and farm kills off of enemy players.
  • Alternative 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 badass 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.
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    • 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.
  • Anti-Climax 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.
    • However, even with the above being said, Skorge is still a pretty disappointing opponent for being The Dragon of the second game. All you have to do is dodge some falling pillars, Tickers, Ink Grenades and survive three Press X to Not Die segments and he's toast. Even though you fight him once more after this, it's a rail shooter segment that is almost impossible to lose at if you have any decent aim to your name.
    • In Horde 2.0, Savage Corpsers are considered the most lackluster and easiest of the boss waves. They move incredibly slowly and have no ranged attacks to bother you with; their only gimmick is to go underground and try and stab you a couple of times in quick succession.
  • Ass Pull: The first Gears of War campaign has one after it's revealed that the Resonator wasn't strong enough to map out the entire Locust tunnel network. How do they go about solving this issue? By having Baird suddenly pull out a never before seen Geobot from his supplies that he apparently hacked into awhile back. It actually reveals the exact information they need, which is to go searching for an object that has more mapping data than the Resonator at the Fenix estate.
  • 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 most awesome tune of all is none other than Mad World, the track that started it all and the one that truly captures the Gears of War atmosphere with a beautiful, yet melancholic melody to paint the sensation of a desperate and unrelenting war.
    • The Cole Train rap that plays during the first game's ending credits.
    • And Disturbed's cover of The Sound of Silence in the fourth game's trailer.
    • Megadeth's song "Gears of War", created for the release of the first Gears of War game.
    • Ice-T's band Body Count and their single "The Gears of War" used to promote the release of Gears of War 3.
    • "How It Ends" by DeVotchKa, used in the Gears of War 2 trailer.
    • For in-game music, "In and Out" is a great, energetic piece. Most players agreed that, however they felt about Gears of War 4, this was one of its high points.
  • Base-Breaking Character:
    • Let's be honest folks; either you love Cole for his madcap antics, Boisterous Bruiser personality, and for bringing some much needed levity to this crapsackiest of worlds, or you despise him for being a one-note character comprised of about a dozen-and-a-half racist stereotypes that clashes with the setting's tone.
    • Chairman Prescott was always one of these given his ethos and personality, but the divide was hammered home the hardest when he turned the Hammer of Dawn on Jacinto and all the major points of infrastructure and population on Sera as a desperation move to wipe out the Locust. He single-handedly killed millions of people without actually accomplishing the stated goal of destroying the Locust, giving the Lambent more time to get to the surface and threw the remaining Locust into a frenzy permanently cemented him as either a megalomaniac who didn't understand or care about the human cost of his actions, or a wartime colonel with his back to the wall with seemingly only one horrendously bad option left to him.
    • Pretty much every new character that was introduced in Gears 4 has gotten this treatment. One camp thinks that JD and his squad actually have some good dynamics between them and simply haven't gotten their big moment to make a meaningful and lasting impression on people while the other camp believes that they're blander than vanilla and have simply been introduced too late into the series to ever make the same lasting connections with the audience that the original Delta Squad achieved.
      • Kait in particular gets hit with this the hardest of the new cast. Some like her for being a competent Action Girl and having good banter with the rest of the team while detractors point out how there have been far more interesting female characters in the series before, decry her hipster look as being incredibly out of place with the setting and accuse her entire inclusion as a case of Spotlight-Stealing Squad and Political Correctness Gone Mad, especially since she will be the Player Character for Gears 5.
  • Broken Base:
    • 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.
      • Given the sheer outrage towards the Sawed-Off, it's a goddamn mystery why nobody seems to be focusing their hate on the new Overkill shotgun from 4. The Overkill is even more noob friendly then the Sawed-Off and actually rewards players for trigger mashing the hell out of it by increasing the size of its spread. It has deceptively long range and can Boom, Headshot! players with the range of a Lancer and holds lots of ammo as well. If you grab one in multiplayer, unless you are terrible at aiming, you are effectively unstoppable as you blow away scores of players who try to Gnasher you. The only thing keeping it in check seems to be the fact that it is only available on a handful of maps.
    • 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.
    • Judgement also changed the mechanics so that players could now roll off of rooftops and other high places to quickly descend to a lower level, but this also causes some fall damage to you in the process. Since players are most likely to dive off a high place to escape pursuing enemies, this generally means that you are already heavily damaged and when the fall kills you, it gives your attacker the kill. Above all else, most players began dying the most from fall damage rather than getting gunned down. While some players like this mechanic for being able to make quick getaways, a large portion of players utterly despise it for giving players ridiculously cheap kills.
    • The ENTIRE unlock and rewards system for Gears of War 4 has caused one of the biggest splits in the fan base in the history of the franchise. To elaborate, players no longer unlock characters and weapon skins by playing the campaign or unlocking achievements. Now, every piece of content is unlocked through a Random Number God lottery system in the form of Gear Packs. These can be purchased with in-game credits earned by playing multiplayer or with real money and the contents are completely randomized. You could potentially get a slew of common emblems or an incredibly rare legendary character. If you want a specific card, you are forced to scrap cards you already have and save up scrap to make what you want (and yes, you need a lot of scrap to make rare cards). A good pack to illustrate the rift is the UIR pack, which costs a whopping 4,400 credits or $10 of real cash and only 3 cards in the pack are UIR ones at all with the other 2 being cards from the launch series. To put things in perspective, 4,400 credits is about the equivalent of completing Horde on Insane difficulty twice. Thus, there are two groups of people on this issue. Supporters say that the packs can be bought with credits rather than money, the cards are purely cosmetic and it's a nice way to keep people invested in playing to unlock everything. Detractors argue that The Coalition is being excessively greedy with the pricing of the packs, most packs contain duplicates of cards, the higher priced packs are only available for short windows and it requires insane amounts of grinding credits to save up for packs and they feel heavily enticed to just break out their wallets and shell out cash just for the chance to get cards they want. There's no middle ground here.
    • As of March 2018, The Coalition is updating the game to remove the Hammerburst as a starting weapon in multiplayer and the only way to use it from then on is to pick it up from maps. And god DAMN, did this cause a massive rift between fans. Unsurprisingly, the "Stop Having Fun" Guys support the change, claiming that the Hammerburst was apparently overpowered and they can’t handle this “dying” thing that happens when they try to rush a long-range rifle user out in the open with a shotgun and expect to kill the rifle user before being downed. The other side is disgusted that The Coalition is pandering to the Gnasher elitists, claiming that the Hammerburst has also been a staple weapon and allows for great tactical strategies to get the upper hand in a match (which was the entire purpose of the games until people decided that ignoring cover and wall bouncing was the proper way to play). They’re also worried about The Coalition Jumping Off the Slippery Slope and removing other weapons in the future just to appease a small part of the fanbase.
      • However, the latter group doesn’t plan to take this change lying down. The various forums are already suggesting that a lot of players plan on flooding multiplayer with the Enforcer as a Take That! to this hugely controversial change.
  • Captain Obvious Reveal: Damon Baird invented the DeeBees. It's very easy to put together that DeeBee goes together with the initials of Baird's name. It becomes even more obvious if the player activates a certain Easter Egg by destroying all of Marcus' tomatoes in his estate's greenhouse, which will result in Marcus calling out Baird for all the problems that the DeeBees have been causing him.
  • 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.
      • Not only is the Gnasher abused at every turn, but in the first game, nearly every player also adopted the “two-piecing” strategy. This consisted of you running up to an opponent and meleeing them to stun them in place and then immediately blind-fire a Gnasher shot into them. This was ridiculously effective and pretty much guaranteed you kill after kill if you could pull it off. After the melee stun duration was weakened in the later games, this tactic fell completely off the map, but that wasn’t enough to keep the fan base from sticking with the Gnasher as the dominant weapon throughout the series anyway.
    • Ironically, the one game mode that complacent Gnasher users are absent from is Horde mode. Why is this ironic? Well, while there are many different strategies for surviving Horde, many of the Locust just love to rush straight at your squad and open themselves up for a nice serving of Gnasher pellets, so you'd think that this mode would have Gnasher users galore...but you'd be wrong. For some reason, a lot of players tend to pick the Lancer or Retro Lancer as their starting rifle and use nothing but chainsaws and retro charges to kill while nobody uses the Hammerburst. There are literally players who will just run around the map and chainsaw and charge everything in sight, even things that are highly unfavorable like Tickers and even when enemies start dealing twice as much damage to you. In fact, you know that rifle complacency is bad when people crowd around Boomers, Corpsers and the like to try and score easy kills despite the fact that they can't be sawed or charged. The fact that rifle complacency runs rampant in a fairly Gnasher-friendly mode is just plain ridiculous since it is very advantageous, and often life-saving, to kill with the Gnasher rather than waste time trying to futilely chainsaw or charge foes in the middle of the battlefield while getting shot to death in the process.
    • Gears Of War 2 introduced the ability to tag grenades onto walls and create proximity mines. To say that this was an embraced tactic would be a huge understatement. For starters, each player could plant TWO grenades each and plenty of maps had two grenade spawns to choose from. It was very common to see more people being blown up from grenades than even Gnasher deaths. Yes, grenades were abused almost as much as the Gnasher believe it or not. This was exacerbated by the fact that the timers on the grenades were stupidly short and would often explode before the beeping even finished. Just plant some nades in their spawn points and high-traffic places and watch the kills roll in. Fortunately, grenades were nerfed to have a longer timer and only one to be planted each player to put an end to this insanity.
    • 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).
    • Hell, even game modes aren't exempt from complacency. In the first two games, Annex and King of the Hill dominated matchmaking by a long shot. This is because they are the only modes where teams have infinite respawns and given how long a single round can take, players can rack up huge amounts of points in these modes, going to 10,000 and beyond easily to level up insanely fast. Warzone was the next favorite since it was the closest the games had to a standard deathmatch mode, followed by Guardian for its unique gameplay while tragically, Wingman and Submission were almost completely ignored. Gears of War 3 introduced a Team Deathmatch mode, which quickly became the most played game type in the series and has been unable to be dethroned years later. All of these complacencies carried over into Gears of War 4 as well. The new Dodgeball mode (essentially Warzone with respawning) is moderately popular while the new Arms Race mode (must kill the enemy team with every weapon in the game, every 3 kills changes your team's weapon) is rarely played and hated by some (read: the "Stop Having Fun" Guys who can't bear to be away from their Gnashers, not to mention if a team lags behind, the match can quickly become unbalanced). The matchmaking formula seems to be permanently as follows: Team Deathmatch, King of the Hill/Annex, Guardian. Lord help you if you prefer any game mode that isn't one of those.
    • Oh, we’re not done yet. Not even the controller settings are exempt from complacency. This is actually more of a Justified Trope given the fast-paced combat of the series, but pretty much every single player plays with the highest Look and Target sensitivity on the controllers. If your sensitivities are higher, this allows your character to turn much faster, making it much easier to move around, track players while aiming and survive Gnasher duels. Inversely, if your sentivities are low, your character will turn much more slowly and will struggle greatly trying to keep their aim concentrated on a player with higher sensitivities.
    • You'd think a game where all characters play the same would be exempt from character-related CGS, but you'd be wrong:
      • Gears 1 had a lot of people playing as Anthony Carmine, presumably due to his face-concealing helmet making it easy to self-insert as him and pretend that it's really you underneath that helmet. Most of these people would also flat-out refuse to play on the Locust team as well.
      • Gears 2 added Anthony's brother Benjamin, who in appearance was just Anthony with a different helmet design. They both shared the spotlight. There was no clear favourite Locust character, but at least people stopped reflexively quitting if they had to play as Locust.
      • Gears 3 had people gravitate to the newly-added female characters while on COG, and the Savage Kantus on Locust. This was because they were the skinniest characters, and in a game where everybody is using shotguns a good 95% of the time, being skinny meant that at least some of the pellets would always miss you except at very close range (where you would be instakilled by the Gnasher no matter who you were playing as), so you would be able to take more shots before going down. This CGS remained in Judgment and Ultimate Edition.
      • While Gears 4 is pretty varied in terms of characters, quite a lot of people prefer to play as the DeeBees while on the Swarm team, as they have slightly smaller hitboxes than the Swarm characters and make almost no sound whatsoever, making it much easier to get the drop on other players. In fact, the only noise they really make is when they throw grenades or do active reloads. On the COG side, more and more people are gravitating to the UIR soldiers, presumably for their face-concealing helmets to help with self-insertion and for their hilarious over-the-top combat banter on top of having badass designs to boot. They also allow players to stand out from the crowd since they were only offered during a time-sensitive Gear pack that was crazy expensive and has not returned so far.
  • 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 planet into an apocalyptic state. 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 sacrifice to stop the Lambent.
  • Contested Sequel: Gears of War 4 has achieved this status, even though Judgment is looked at with Fanon Discontinuity by almost the whole fan base. People can't seem to figure out if 4 is a worthy successor to the original trilogy or not. The new movement mechanics, like yanking enemies over cover and being able to quickly vault over cover while roadie running, are seen as great additions, but everything else is a toss-up. Some feel that the robotic DeeBees have absolutely no place in the series by taking away from the blood and gore that the series relishes in; others think they actually have good in-universe justification for being in the series. Some feel that the Swarm are too analogous to the Locust and are basically copies of the Locust enemies; others think that they are different given that they have some interesting creatures with different tactics from the Locust ones and have a completely different reason for their reproduction and existence. A few are also sore about how Delta Squad and the previous cast have been Demoted to Extra and don't appear much with the exception of Marcus. Some fans wish that Delta Squad would get back into action and that the new characters just can't measure up to their status; others think that since the Locust War is done, the story of the previous cast's is done as well and the new generation of characters should take action and prove themselves as worthy warriors that are capable of protecting Sera like the previous cast. A mighty big can of worms awaits those who wish to debate the game's sequel status.
  • 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.
    • There's a few more of these introduced in Gears of War 4. There are Scions, tall and lumbering Giant Mooks that wield devastating power weapons like Mulchers and Dropshots and can also strengthen the endurance of regular Swarm. We also have Snatchers; huge and fast beasts that can drop you in one hit with their sniper tails and if they manage to close in on an incapacitated teammate, they will pull them into their bodies and force you to concentrate fire on their stomachs or else your teammate will die. Finally, we've got the Kestrel, a COG helicopter that strafes the borders of maps like crazy all while shredding you with gatling guns and launching homing missiles at you at every opportunity. Even if you blast them in their weak turbines, they take a stupid amount of punishment to destroy.
      • Elite Drones. They come equipped with a full loadout of Lancer, Gnasher, and frags. They are masters of chainsaw ambushing and will throw their frags with better accuracy than the actual Grenadiers (and they seem to have a shorter fuse on their frags too). They can even throw them while roadie running. It's a safe assumption that most of your Horde deaths will be due to an Elite Drone. The worst part is that they show up in Horde even before the regular Drones and Grenadiers do!
      • DR-1 Protectors and Guardians too. Despite what the game tells you about the former, they are the fastest infantry unit among the DeeBees. They quickly close in on you and unload their Overkills into you with impunity, which downs you in no time. They also use jets in their feet to dodge any explosives you may send their way and will pull a Taking You with Me explosion when you deal enough damagenote . If you go down before or during this moment, You Are Already Dead. Not to mention in Horde, the only waves they are not present in are the 1st and 9th waves of a set. As for Guardians, they are deadly Airborne Mooks that hammer you with Salvos and Tri-Shot fire. It's impossible to hide from them because they will just fly over and around your cover to attack your blind spots. If that wasn't bad enough, they have shields on their fronts that must be disabled before they start to take damage. It is possible to hit their sides and behind to bypass this, but naturally, they will always detect this and face you, quickly nullifying that method.
  • Ensemble Dark Horse: 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 perspective, 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 badass Locust hands down. How could you not class him as an Ensemble Dark Horse 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.
    • Despite being killed off early like the above Carmine Lieutenant Kim has proved popular enough to appear in almost all of the Series's prequel material.
    • While the DeeBees are otherwise a Base Breaking Race, the DR-1 is often regarded as the coolest of the DeeBee models for having a Badass Baritone voice filter, having the most combat abilities amongst them and for being legitimately threatening with their weapons.
  • Evil Is Cool: Pretty much every named Locust character.
  • Even Better Sequel: The first Gears of War game was a knockout hit with some relatively minor problems, such as how the story never felt like a complete whole but just a series of things that happens, and it isn't until act four (of five) that anything important gets done. And while that doesn't affect the gameplay much, there were some issues with weapon balance and variety. Gears of Wars 2 openly addressed the concerns and created a game with a stunning level of scope, a much wider weapon variety and a true sense of a major war going on. Even though 2 still held some slight flaws, Gears of War 3 came about and blew it out of the water with its gorgeous graphics and color palette, harrowing and conclusive campaign, new multiplayer modes to give the gameplay a breath of fresh air, even larger weapon variety while giving every weapon a unique execution and a ton of ribbons and medals to be earned with a healthy and modest amount of DLC to ensure that fans could indulge in the series forever.
  • Franchise Original Sin: The very overpowered Gnasher, which has caused the gun to be associated with the series even more than the Series Mascot intended Lancer. In the first game, the Gnasher had such ridiculous range and damage output that it was just about the only weapon used in multiplayer. This lead to the community abusing it at every opportunity and turned what was meant to be a cover-based shooter into a battle of who could bounce between cover and hipfire the best. Even though the sequels nerfed the Gnasher and introduced new weapons and strategies to counter it, the Gnasher is still the most used weapon of all the players across every single game. Indeed, quite a lot of players are turned away from the series because of this. They would love to get into a great cover-based shooter, but don't want to deal with the toxicity of the "Stop Having Fun" Guys who demand that everybody use the Gnasher and nothing else to keep their bruised egos in check. Unfortunately, the developers were fully aware of how broken the gun was in the beginning, but were very afraid of nerfing it due to how such a large percentage of the community is made up of Gnasher purists and the risk of losing their main player base. Even as far as Gears of War 4, most of the weapons updates are focused on changing the Gnasher and usually nerfing the rifles in some way, which only adds to the sin.
  • 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!"
  • 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 learned to fire single shots (or burstfire) 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).
    • If there was ever any doubt that the community doesn’t pull this with every weapon, go into a “Longshots Only” game event when they’re up. Take note of how many people legitimately try to snipe you. Usually, it’s only one or two players. Everyone else will charge straight into the maps and either desperately wallbounce and try to pop each other’s heads that way or run up to you and mash the melee button until someone dies. Supposedly, the reason for that is that the Longshot deals slightly more damage through melee hits than the other conventional weapons. The meleeing actually got so bad that The Coalition flat out disabled it for certain events after that. It’s pathetically sad how the community even tries to use a fucking sniper rifle at the Gnasher range it’s very much not intended to be used at.
  • Goddamned 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.
    • Juvies in Gears of War 4, imagine Wretches only faster and harder to hit.
    • Trackers from Gears of War 4, at least if they're in a group - which will murder you on harder difficulties in Horde mode.
  • Good Bad Bugs: The first game's final boss General RAAM is extremely difficult for two reasons, his handheld minigun and his shield of kryll bats. Mercifully, it is possible to trick him into standing behind the last cement block to the right of the platform where he appears, where he stops moving and does not target you with his gun as long as you don't stick your head up from cover. Getting him into this glitch spot is tricky and the other sources of damage can still get you on insane level, but this trick is enough to bring down an impossible fight to an almost manageable one.
    • Gears of War 2 had a ludicrous number of glitches in it when it first came out. On the Security map, before smoke grenades were patched, you could throw a smoke at your feet and noclip through the laser fences without waiting for them to turn off. Another hilarious glitch involved abusing the dodge roll and a Boomshield to launch yourself high above the map, allowing you to walk in the skybox at the top of maps. Hell, Boomshields were practically portable glitch holes before they were patched. If an enemy stuck you with a smoke grenade just as you mantled over a shield, you would be launched forward at hilarious speeds, usually to the other side of maps. You could also position a shield right in front of one of the walls in River and mantle over it, essentially allowing yourself to run around outside of the map's boundaries. Of course, there was also the infamous Boomshield Weapon glitch that allowed you to use virtually any weapon with a Boomshield if you switched weapons just as you picked up a shield. In addition, for Horde mode, you could also position the shields to be facing away from you as you planted them to prevent Drone-sized enemies from kicking them down, essentially creating an impenetrable fortress. Another hilarious Horde glitch could happen on the Day One map as well. If you killed a Beast Rider who was riding a Bloodmount, there was one area in the map where you could roll off the top of a ledge. If you timed it right and the Bloodmount happened to be nearby, you could dive off the ledge and potentially LAND on the Bloodmount and be taken for a little joyride around the map until you decided to get off and this could not be done on any other map. Yep, Gears 2 definitely provided some nice laughs with these bugs.
    • A particularly hilarious audio glitch in Gears of War 3 can cause the Carmine brothers to use each other's voice lines in the multiplayer. The most famous one is Anthony or Benjamin shout Clayton's "This is for Anthony! And Benjamin!". Of special note: this was a bug that was in the multiplayer beta of Gears 3, as Anthony and Clayton were both in the beta, apparently it was left in because of how downright silly it was.
    • Another audio glitch to tack on to Gears 3; when playing as an Onyx Guard in multiplayer, if you throw a frag grenade, the Onyx Guard will hilariously shout "Throwing fire!" despite it very clearly not being an incendiary grenade. This has yet to be patched.
    • In Gears 4, if you happen to be standing on a slightly elevated platform (the staircases in Gridlock come to mind) while a Snatcher is below you, you can rev your Lancer and somehow chainsaw the damn thing. It's unknown if this is fully a glitch or a legitimate feature.
    • On the Fallout map in Gears 4, every boss except for the Kestrel can get stuck on a pair of boxes by the spawn points, freezing them in place and preventing them from attacking you at all as long as you engage them from a distance, as they will free themselves if you get too close. This was fixed in the second title update.
  • 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.
    • Game-wise, Gears of War 2 is where the series really took off. While the first game was a hit on its own, there were some issues taken with the uneven story pace and the balance of the weapons and AI. The second game openly addressed everything and introduced a lot of the series’ staple mechanics, like weapon specific executions, meat shields and chainsaw duels in addition to making the story more expansive and harrowing along with vastly improving the weapon balance and AI. Not to mention that the much lauded Horde mode attracted even more people to the fanbase. It’s widely agreed that Gears Of War 3 is the best of the series; it took everything great about 2 and polished it to a spit-shine and is considered the most accessible title of the games. At this point, the series became one of the most acclaimed in the third-person shooter genre and is one of the most celebrated of its time.
  • 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.
    • The release of the Gears of War 4 trailer makes the entire series a case of this. After everything that humanity has done; deploying the Lightmass Bomb, sacrificing the city of Jacinto to flood the Hollow and deploying Adam Fenix's countermeasure to finally eradicate the Locust and Lambent, scorching Sera into a barren wasteland and having 99% of the population killed only brought about a short lived period of peace. Not only did the countermeasure fuck up Sera's weather, humanity only gets a chance to rebuild themselves for a meager 25 years until a new horror known only as the Swarm suddenly shows up to have the nightmare reborn as humanity desperately tries to figure out what these new creatures want with them. It seems like the humans of Sera are destined to be locked in a perpetual war for their survival...
    • Gears of War 3 sends Delta Squad off on a long Sidequest to the cities of Mercy and Char in search of Imulsion fuel for a submarine that they need to power up to reach the island of Azura. In the end, it turns out that the shipyard where the submarine was being stored had some leftover fuel anyway, meaning that Dom's Heroic Sacrifice to save Delta Squad in Mercy could have been entirely avoided had they just gone straight to the shipyard to begin with.
  • Hilarious in Hindsight:
    • 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.
    • In Judgment, Cole mocks the very concept of the Breechshot — "A sniper rifle without a scope? These grubs are real geniuses!" — while right next to Baird, a real genius who will design another sniper rifle without a scope about thirty years or so in the future.
    • An inverted example of this can be found in the first act of Gears of War 4. While JD and his team are progressing through the COG settlement, a wall blocking their path mysteriously opens on its own and Oscar wonders if JD and Del are secretly COG spies. Kait retorts with "Please, Uncle. You think the COG invented windflares." Well, considering that Adam Fenix, a COG personnel, created an Imulsion Counterweapon that had the nasty side effect of creating the windflares, Oscar is absolutely right in that the COG did invent them after all! Guess he ain't a crazy Cloud Cuckoolander after all.
  • "Holy Shit!" Quotient: 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?
  • 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.
  • 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".
    • The sinking of Jacinto forced the Lambent and the Locust remnant above ground, resulting in many more human deaths.
    • Gears 4 shows that, while it may have saved the world, Adam Fenix's machine also screwed up Sera's weather to the point that "windflares," i.e. lightning tornadoes now show up at random intervals all across the globe.
  • 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.
    • Gears of War 3 had some criticism when it came to introducing the Formers as the game's basic zombie enemies for the Lambent. Most criticisms came down to asking why the franchise felt the need to add zombies into the mix as if it's trying to take after basic zombie shooter games when Gears of War was already doing a great job providing the player with a large variety of unique enemies to fight.
  • Like You Would Really Do It: Unfortunately, as of the gameplay launch trailer for Gears of War 4, The Coalition seems to be dancing around the idea of having Marcus Killed Off for Real. In the trailer, he ends up getting shot in the chest by a Pouncer and then, some gargantuan Swarm creature wraps its tentacles around Marcus' neck and that's the last we see of him in the trailer. Given that he survived the trilogy, it's unlikely that The Coalition would kill off a Series Mascot and someone who's Made of Iron like Marcus, but only time will tell if he really does end up biting it or not. Marcus does end up getting captured by the same Snatcher that attacked him in the trailer, but thankfully, JD and co. are able to track him down and free him, meaning that Marcus is alive and well.
  • Love to Hate: Myrrah and RAAM.
  • 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
    • The oh, so sweet sound of your enemy's head bursting from scoring a headshot on them.
    • Revving up the chainsaw bayonet.
    • The gong sound that plays when you kill the last enemy in a firefight. It's so zen!
    • The nice little heroic jingle that plays when you complete a wave in Horde.
    • The thunderous sound of the Vulcan shredding through whatever hapless Locust it has in its sights.
  • 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.
    • In the Gears of War 4 prologue flashbacks, the Corpser getting struck by the Hammer of Dawn looks less like it's spewing out blood everywhere from being struck by the laser cannon, and more like it's throwing around buckets of red paint.
  • Narm Charm: There's almost something cute about the Boomers yelling "Boom!" before every shot.
    • The credits of 3. The player is likely still reeling from the emotional rollercoaster that the climax of the game brings, and the first part of the credits is standard fare in terms of the music that plays in the background. Then comes the second part, and the utterly narm-tastic "Gears of War" rap. Yes, you did in fact just read that.
  • Nausea Fuel: Given that the game is full of gorn this is to be expected. Specific examples include being in side a gigantic worm and mutilating it from the inside, and the Lancer, Torgue Bow and Scorcher executions.
  • 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!
  • Older Than They Think: The chainsaw bayonet appeared in Mutant Chronicles first. Then it appeared in Warhammer 40,000.
    • 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 WinBack 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.
    • For Gears 5, a big deal is being made of how Kait will be the first non-Fenix character to be the main Player Character for a Gears game, but this is incorrect. The first non-Fenix Player Character to be promoted to the main lead was Baird way back when Judgment was released. This error was most likely overlooked due to the rampant Fanon Discontinuity attitude towards Judgment.
  • 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.
  • Polished Port: After the poorly-optimized Ultimate Edition, The Coalition clearly spared no expense with the PC port of Gears of War 4. The result is that the game has been praised as one the best-optimized PC ports, having a wide range of options to adjust and can easily stay above 60fps with a decent hardware.
  • Porting Disaster: The PC version of the first game's Ultimate Edition is apparently really poorly optimized.
  • 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 Mechanic: The class system in Horde for Gears of War 4. In previous iterations of Horde, players could use any weapon and any strategy they wanted to get to the end. Now, every player is forced to choose a class that they are stuck with for the entire match. You can choose between a Soldier (a Jack-of-All-Stats that is focused on core mechanics and protecting the team), an Engineer (builds fortifications), a Heavy (focuses on heavy weapons and explosives to deal huge damage to enemies), a Scout (focuses on picking up power during waves) and a Sniper (gets headshots from afar to thin out the Horde). If just one person isn't doing their job well, the entire team suffers. Got a lazy Engineer? No fortifications for you. Scout not bothering to pick up power? Your fabricator's gonna run out of power real fast. You can also find classes not playing to their strengths, such as a Heavy using sniper rifles and Engineers and Snipers thinking they are Soldiers and Scouts. Not to mention that there are far too many players that will do everything they can to snatch the power before a Scout can grab it. And if you yell at them to stop, they will only continue to grab more power just to piss the team off. It's no wonder a large percentage of players consider this to be the weakest iteration of Horde yet.
    • Oh boy, does the entire Gear Pack system get this treatment. All of the content for Gears 4 is acquired through these packs, which can be purchased with in-game credits or real money. The problem is you may or may not not get what you pay for. Each pack is fueled by the Random Number God, so you could get a pack of nothing but duplicates or common items or a pack full of rare and legendary items. The packs ain't exactly cheap either, so you could blow hundreds of dollars or thousands of credits on them and get nothing you don't already have. Just to salt the wound, The Coalition likes to release time-sensitive 400 credit packs for a week and THEN put all of the awesome content the community loves (classic characters and the like) in a 2000 credit pack (that is also time-sensitive) immediately after, so that you blow your cache of credits beforehand and are forced to spend real money so you don't miss out on content. It's truly a dastardly mechanic.
    • With the benefit of hindsight, the Down But Not Out mechanic in the first game is seen as highly obnoxious. The first game is the only one in which going Down But Not Out makes you stationary wherever you fall. Since you couldn’t move around, this forced your teammates to rush out to whatever presumably dangerous area you got downed in and more times than not, they would get gunned down themselves trying to save you. Fortunately, players gained the ability to crawl in every sequel.
    • Obtaining the Esports Weapon skins in Gears Of War 4. You want to add those absolutely badass Phantom skins among others to your collection? Well, you’d better get on to the official website and find the guides to getting them, as the game itself rarely tells you how to get the full sets. Some of the weapons require you to play 2 Escalation matches within a certain time frame. This mode uses a completely different weapon tuning to the other game modes and your team needs to win SEVEN rounds to win a match, making this rather obnoxious to those who prefer the Core tuning. The other skins simply require you to watch the various Esports tournaments on the subsequent Wednesdays and weekends. Sounds simple, except you never know when the skins will go live to claim. Sometimes, the skins will show up very early in the feed, sometimes in the middle and sometimes not til the very end of the broadcast. If you really want to get them all, then you need to have a constant internet connection and will have to kill the entire days watching the whole entire tournament, which also means that if you don’t want to sit home all day, you’ll need a portable charger for your device to keep watching wherever you may be. And yes, watching the broadcasts is the only way to obtain these skins. Did you forget to watch the tournament on a specific day? You’re never getting those skins.
  • Scrappy Weapon: In the first game, the fans had this attitude towards every weapon that wasn't called "the Gnasher". Every thing else was considered as cheap as weapons could get and the Gnasher was decreed as being the only weapon that took any skill to use. This did lessen in the future games, but then the actual scrappy weapons were introduced...
    • The Lancer is played with in this regard. Almost everybody actually uses it as their main rifle, as it has a high firing rate and a fairly decent effective range to be fired from. However, tons of people absolutely revile the chainsaw bayonet. It's quite easy to hide around a corner and wait for a Gnasher user (hint: everybody) to walk by and suddenly surprise them with a chainsaw to their face. There are also people who believe it is horrifically overpowered since its great at wasting said Gnasher users, who get pissed if anything downs them before they get to their target.
    • The Scorcher flamethrower gets Video Game Flamethrowers Suck down to a T. It has exceedingly short range, which unfortunately forces you into the killzone for everyone's favorite weapon, the Gnasher shotgun; not only that, but despite being a flamethrower, it lacks any significant Damage Over Time effect which would help justify its existence. However, its Not Completely Useless, as it can down enemies ridiculously quickly and is a godsend against Maulers, who are very difficult to take down with conventional weapons.
    • The Retro Lancer arguably got even more hate than the Lancer when it was a starting weapon in 3 because: you guessed it! It was specifically put in the game as a direct counter to the Gnasher. It's a powerful rifle suited for close range since the recoil gives it garbage accuracy at any other range. It you saw a Gnasher user coming at you, they had virtually no chance as you could rip them apart before they got close enough to one-shot you. Not to mention that it became victim to Gameplay Derailment in which players would fire single shots from it to keep its maximum accuracy, essentially making it almost on par with the Hammerburst's accuracy.
    • By Gears of War 4, the Enforcer seems to be the most hated weapon in the series. Why, you ask? Take a wild guess. The Enforcer is essentially the Retro Lancer (absolutely fantastic at plastering Gnasher users) with its rate of fire turned Up to Eleven. And the best part? It's a starting weapon, meaning you can spawn with it anytime. It actually has a very narrow space where the bullets come from, but if your aiming is decent, you can drop players in 2 or 3 seconds. The "Stop Having Fun" Guys will be livid every time. It's for this reason that its described as being horribly overpowered, but if you get outside of point-blank range, it's actually much, much harder to do significant damage with it, let alone kill with it. Objectively, it just has a case of Crippling Overspecialization in range.
  • "Seinfeld" Is Unfunny: A more recent video game example with this. There were third person shooters before hand like Everything or Nothing that had a primitive cover based system, but the first Gears of War was the game that help perfect the cover based system we see in modern third and even some first person shooters. Back in 2006, this was a big deal: but for players who never played a game in the series and played other modern third person shooters, when they get around to playing this, they will be baffled at why the first game is considered "revolutionary".
  • Slow-Paced Beginning: A very common criticism towards the campaign of Gears of War 4. By the time players realize that they've already finished the story mode, they come off feeling like what they just played through was just a long prologue set-up for things to come in Gears of War 5.
  • So Okay, It's Average: The common consensus on Gears of War: Judgment, a B-Team Sequel developed by People Can Fly rather than Epic Games. While the story was considered well done for its unique In Medias Res story elements mixed with gameplay and for exploring the back stories of fan favorites Cole and Baird, the multiplayer gameplay was heavily panned by the fanbase. The developers decided to change the control scheme that had been in every prior Gears title, remove perfect active reloading and the ability to get downed and execute others (save for one game mode) and removing the Locust from multiplayer (save for the Overrun mode, the only good thing that haters of the game will admit wasn't bad). It's no mystery why most of the fan base follows a Fanon Discontinuity policy towards the game.
  • "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 Achievement: The Gears of War series (or at least the first game) may very well be the trope codifier, with each installment not only having a series of multiplayer achievements that take a lot of time (and luck) to unlock, but each game has one that stands head and shoulders above the rest (amusingly called "Seriously"). Expect to set aside a few weeks to get some of these. And the best part? These tend not to pop right when they should.
    • Seriously in Gears of War 1: Get 10,000 kills in ranked multiplayer matches. While 10,000 kills is already a lot to ask, having to do this in ranked games makes it even worse if you prefer to play in social playlists. The Ultimate Edition has this achievement as well, but it was eventually updated so that kills in social games count as well. Either way, even if one decides to boost this in private matches, it's still likely to take weeks to pop after much monotonous grinding.
    • Seriously 2.0 in Gears of War 2: Kill 100,000 enemies across all game modes. Ironically, this is probably the least egregious of the bunch, since you can play Horde or Campaign on casual, but it will still take many, many hours of monotonous grinding to pop.
    • Seriously 3.0 in Gears of War 3: Reach level 100 and earn every Onyx medal. This one in particular tends to place very high on "hardest achievement ever" lists. While reaching level 100 is simple enough (if time-consuming), the real challenge is the Onyx medals, which require doing everything in the game a ridiculous number of times. For example, there are medals for getting 6,000 pistol kills, winning 3,000 multiplayer matches, and earning 3,000 First Blood medals. There are 65 of those. Good luck.
    • Seriously Judgemental in Gears of War Judgment: Complete all Declassified Missions on Insane difficulty. While nowhere near as time-consuming as the others, these difficulty modifiers turn an already difficult game into a brutal one. Prepare to rage.
    • Seriously 4.0 in Gears of War 4: Complete Insane Campaign, ribbons, rank placements, Horde maps, re-ups, classes and five skills. Simply put, this means playing a lot of Horde mode to complete all the maps (you have to beat 50 waves on all ten map in one sitting per map), level up everything, and get all the ribbons (the Insane campaign and multiplayer rank placements are trivial by comparison).
    • The Foreshadowing achievement from Gears 3, in which you must execute a player playing as Minh Young Kim 10 times while you are playing as General RAAM. This cannot be done with bots and coupled with the facts that very few people even play as Kim and doing so would make them a highly sought after target, expect to spend a lot of time farming this one.
    • Also from Gears 3, the I’ve Got This achievement, where you must kill 10 opponents in a single round of Guardian while being your team’s leader. Guardian cannot be played privately. You aren’t guaranteed to get a turn as the leader every match. Leaders cannot respawn. If a leader is dead, nobody else on a team can respawn as well, so if the enemy leader dies too quickly, then it’s impossible to get the required number of kills. Not to mention that there’s always the risk of you getting killed before you can get the kills too.
    • Horde Natural from Gears 3. You must complete 20 consecutive waves of Horde without going DBNO or dying. Sounds simple enough, but it must be done on a Forces of Nature map, which isn’t even guaranteed to show up in the map voting interface. There’s also plenty of enemies coming after you between those 20 waves and all it takes is one bad grenade or explosive that you don’t see coming to force a restart.
    • Looping back to Gears 4, Momma Said I Can’t Die, Pumping Iron and Pick Me Up. In order: you must complete the campaign on a difficulty even worse than Insane by yourself. That is all that needs to be said. The second requires you to also beat the campaign while at least on Hardcore with Ironman mode toggled on. The simple version: Play a No Death Run for the campaign on fairly challenging difficulty levels and all it takes is a stupid mistake or stroke of bad luck to screw up your run. And finally, complete the campaign on at least Hardcore without killing any enemies with the Lancer and Gnasher. Not only is it counterproductive to not use the two most versatile weapons in the series, but the achievement appears to be bugged for some people. You can potentially beat the campaign multiple times without these two weapons and still be nowhere close to having it pop. Not to mention that if you don’t immediately swap your weapons, a single lapse in judgment could end up voiding your run for this one.
    • The March 2018 update also gives Gears 4 the School Of ‘08 achievement, in which you must host a Private Horde match, set the difficulty to at least Hardcore and complete all 50 waves with your squad in one sitting without building any fortifications to assist you. This means that you have to post in a club or on the forums to get enough people together to do this, assuming you don’t have many Gears friends. Then, you’ll have to make sure everybody has their class levels maxed out to ensure they bring valuable skills to the game. Then, you’ll have to find a good spot for the Fabricator so that you can easily resurrect teammates and have reasonable cover from enemies and boss waves. You’ll be taking huge amounts of damage during the run and everyone needs to have at least 3 hours or so to spare since relying on just you and your teammates’ guns means that it will take a long time to kill enemies when their parameters get increased. Also, if someone happens to die next to the Fabricator, it’s surprisingly easy to accidentally open the fortification menu and ruin your run while trying to pick up their tags. This may have been easier if it was a Gears 2 achievement, but the different enemies in 4 certainly make this hell for anyone trying.
  • 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.
    • From Gears of War 4, The Speaker can be a surprisingly difficult boss, especially on the higher difficulties. His Swarmak mount has the most health out of any other enemy in the game save for the Hive Beast. It's very difficult to pop out of cover to shoot him due to his gatling guns constantly spraying at you and if you hide long enough, he'll launch homing rockets which will either down or kill you on impact. He's also a Puzzle Boss, as you need to rupture the transformers in the arena to expose his Swarmak's weak spots. And as you do this, Juvies, Drones and Scions will join the fight to drag it out even longer and will sneak up on you while you're dealing with him, so you have to worry about a lot during this battle.
  • 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.
    • The reaver fight on the top of the train, while playing on Insane. The high accuracy and damage of the enemies combined with the lack of protection and range of motion when using the chainguns makes the Torque Bow the only viable option. Oh, and did we mention Dom just waits inside the car for you to win the fight alone?
    • Any time Delta Squad had to drive anything, especially those Reavers. Except the Brumak ride. That classified as awesome.
  • 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.
  • They Wasted a Perfectly Good Character: Since even major characters aren’t guaranteed to survive the series, anybody who is killed off can fall under this trope.
    • Tai from Gears Of War 2. He was established as a total badass second only to Marcus and even survived an assault derrick’s massive explosion that killed the rest of his squad. His super toughness and tendency to survive impossible situations suggested that he would be a pretty big character and was even noted In-Universe, but tragically, he gets captured by the Locust and ends up getting Driven to Suicide to show how nasty Locust torture is. quickly ending that notion and giving huge vibes of wasted potential. However, this is slightly subverted in the comics, in which his past is explored a bit more.
    • It was stated by Benjamin in Gears 2 that there are four Carmine brothers, but we never meet the fourth brother, or even learn his name for that matter. Although Gears 4 features a character called Gary Carmine, his youthful appearance heavily implies that he isn’t the fourth brother since if you take the Time Skip into account, the fourth brother should be in his late forties at the youngest. Not to mention that Gary gets killed off a few minutes after you meet him anyway.
    • Del, Kait and Oscar all get this treatment in 4 although it will most likely be subverted in Gears 5. The only things we know about Del are that he’s JD’s best friend and served in the COG with him. Everything regarding himself and his family is never touched upon. Kait is just another friend of JD and Del’s who’s only really along for the ride since her mother’s being held by the swarm, although The Stinger reveals that her family heritage will be VERY important in the next installment and all that is shown to us about Oscar is that he’s Kait’s uncle and then he seemingly gets Killed Off for Real at the end of Act 1. Fortunately, another stinger shows that he survived the village’s attack, so he will most likely be an important character in the future.
  • They Wasted a Perfectly Good Plot:
    • Gears of War 2 seemed like it was building up to something big regarding the Locust capturing humans, and sending them deep into the Hollow to perform torturous slave labor. Other than resolving a side-plot where Delta Squad comes across Dom's lobotomized wife, this plot-line ends up not going anywhere.
    • In the Aftermath campaign for Judgment, it was revealed to Baird that one of his squadmates, Sofia, was kidnapped by former COG soldiers while out on patrol and was heavily implied that they were doing this to plenty of other people too. This plot line could’ve delved into the COG’s shady and dastardly nature that goes on behind their Villain with Good Publicity facade, but it was pretty much treated as an offhand remark.
  • 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:

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