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For the Love of: ‘Gears of War’ (VIDEO)

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chris-littlechild - September 5, 2016

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How do you follow up a ball-busting big name like last week's Call of Duty? By taking a slightly different angle, that’s how. That’s how we roll here at Egotastic Gaming. We’re renegade badasses with no effs to give, speeding through the gates of hell on grandpa’s mobility scooter. We answer to no-one, have no bedtime, and we only call our mamas four times a day. If we say it’s Gears of War time, then you’d better bet your butt it’s Gears of War time.

 The thing about Call of Duty is, it’s freaking massive, but it’s not a killer app. COD floats about on all platforms, an almighty Switzerland in the great console war. Sony and Microsoft have both had their timed exclusivity deals, for DLC releases and such, but that’s as far as it goes.

In the Xbox corner, if you’re looking for exclusive guntastic goodtimes, you’re looking at Gears. Or Halo, natch, but we won’t go into that for today. And now, without further ado, here’s the story all about how dastardly and bastardly Locust hordes turned Marcus Fenix’s life upside down.

The first Gears of War hit Xbox 360 in 2006. It was brought to us by Epic Games, and mostly the brainchild of company bigwig (at the time) Cliff Bleszinski. This was the time of big horror/TPS hybrids like Resident Evil 4 and the later Dead Space, and Capcom’s controversial still-shitting-on-Resident-Evil’s-legacy-a-decade-later title surely had some influence on Gears.

The series is set on Sera, a planet with a human population dwindling to hell. Those that remain are under attack from Sera’s other inhabitants, ugly-ass lumpen man beasts called Locusts. The forces of the COG (Coalition of Ordered Governments) stand against these things, having set up martial law and organised their butts to save what’s left of the human population.

Gears of War follows the conflict through the eyes of Delta Squad. We play as Marcus Fenix, who rises to become head of his squad during the event of the game and will be a huge part of the war throughout the original trilogy. It’s all very testosterone-y and brofist-y, as you’d expect really.

The first game dropped a lot of spangly new ideas on us, and popularised some elements that the TPS would come to be known for. The main one would be the cover mechanic; players could use roughly scrote-high parts of the environment to crouch behind. Characters couldn’t sponge endless bullets like they can in some games, it was designed so that firefights would generally take place from this entrenched position.

 You could vault over walls and such to bring the fight to your enemies’ you’re one ugly mothereffer faces when the time was right, but that wasn’t the focus of how combat worked. This whole mechanic was well-received by players, both because it made it all a little more tactical and added a slice of realism.

For me, the most memorable part of the original was its weapons. I’m a bit of a nerdly connoisseur when it comes to this sort of stuff, being a huge fan of Bloodborne and its amazing transforming steampunk arsenal. Right up there on my Favorites of All Time(tm) list, I’d definitely put the Lancer. An assault rifle with a mounted chainsaw-bayonet that can split enemies in half straight down the middle? That just does it for me in all the right ways.

Right from the start, Gears was big, brash, and gory. It was here to establish dominance of the TPS, and become the face of the genre. Mission accomplished, buddy boy. Establish dominance it did, like two huge hairy-assed gorillas having a how-high-can-you-piss contest. Which is totally how they establish dominance; David Attenborough told me.

  Gears of War 2 (2008) and 3 (2011) took that solid core and ran like hell with it. New gameplay techniques like using downed foes as meatshields and the iconic chainsaw duels were introduced, as well as greater depth to the multiplayer and its modes. If you’re the kind of co-op loving goodly good guy what actually gives a shit about his allies, you can exchange ammo and weapons with them in-game. As well as, natch, rescuing them in typical Gears fashion.

The overarching plot takes all kinds of turns along the course of the three titles, as the COG rises and falls and a new enemy, the Lambent, arrive on the scene. It’s not the sort of stuff that’ll earn a Nobel prize for Badass Storytelling, but the games gave us a damn good campaign to blast through, alone or with a buddy. You can’t ask for much more than that.

The multiplayer in Gears has itself a bit of a reputation, as does the goddamn Gnasher, but nobody’s perfect. The bottom line is, there’s a whole lot of hypetastic around Gears of War 4’s October 11 release, and damn right there is. I’m going to get right on board the all-new Horde mode (character classes and all), the story of J.D Fenix (Marcus and Anya’s son) and his buddies, multiplayer featuring spangly new weapons and executions… everything. It’s going to be an all-round good time.

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