2006 - Put third person shooters on the map for the seventh generation consoles. One of last gen's best classic's.
2008 - A great sequel with some awesome online and some truly unforgettable moments, remember the worm anyone?
2011 - A fitting end to the trilogy, a nonstop thrillride with some of the most intense gunfights of the generation.
2013 - Packaged a great story with the series worst gameplay, a marmite game if there ever was one.
Brothers to the end
So I'm a 9 year old boy walking round Tesco's, bored out of my brains and desperate for something to do so I go to the magazine isle and start looking at my favourite comics. Its then that I spot issue 159 of Games Master, the one with Shadow the Hedgehog on the front cover. Immediately I bought it and have done ever since. Just a few issues later though I saw a game that to me is one of the definitions of last gen to me, Gears of War.
Now in the space between me reading the article in 2005 and me actually getting round to playing the game in 2008 very little happened, but much like Halo 3 I couldn't wait to get my hands on Gears of War to play it. Eventually though I got my Xbox 360 and somewhere within the haul of games I bought with it was Gears of War 1 & 2.
The first Gears of War not only warped my fragile little mind with its hilariously gory ultra-violence but it also was one of the first games I played with a story that left an impact on me. Whilst Halo engrossed me with its stunning worlds alone, Gears of War had me invested in its characters and the battle they fought against the ferocious Locust Horde.
Its cinematic approach to gameplay was one of the most immersing experiences I had seen at the age of 13 and despite not being a horror game, it really helped introduce me to the horror genre thanks to its dark atmosphere and excessive use of gore.
Gears of War 2, despite not being my favourite entry in the series yet again extended that commitment to the storyline with the depth of Dom's storyline and the slow realisation across the game that they are fighting a battle that they wont win.
Gears of War 2 later on in its life cycle became a large multiplayer mainstay for me also thanks to the many XP multiplier weekends and the upcoming release of Gears of War 3. Over the half a year or so that I played Gears of War 2 I managed to reach level 100 (just) and had made several friends online.
There was an advert for Gears 3 circulating online titled Brothers to the End, when I saw it and it asked me who were mine I knew. They were the people who had faced Berserker's, Light-mass Bombings, General RAAM, Sinking Cities and Skorge by my side on the Insane difficulty, and we were ready for our last stand.
I have never been someone to jump into a game on the hardest difficulty straight away, I much prefer to play on an easy difficulty to experience the story then challenge myself on a 2nd playthrough. Gears of War 3 however was different. I attended the launch at my local game shop and got the Epic Edition game as well as the themed Xbox 360 console. The next day at school was difficult, like unbearable, as I couldn't wait to get home and start the game.
But as I logged onto Xbox Live and slowly started to see my friends log on too, we booted up our games and started the co-op campaign on the blisteringly hard Insane difficulty. It took us a good few days to get through it, but much like the soldiers we played as we wouldn't give up in the face of defeat.
Eventually it ended, it ended well too unlike most games, we were all bloody and bruised but we had done it, we had become Delta Squad...and then we hit multiplayer.
We all hit 100 within a month or two thanks to the much improved XP system and were eagerly awaiting the new maps when suddenly we stopped playing. Some of the weapons in multiplayer had been a big topic of debate online and despite all of us thinking they were all reasonably well balanced a patch was pushed out to 'fix' these problematic weapons. This unfortunately changed the way multiplayer was played from a tactical experience to a re-hash of Gears 2, this was no huge problem of course but we had just played Gears 2 for a year straight and didn't want to have to revert back to having to camp with a shotgun in order to get kills. So we ditched it, we walked away and we never went back.
Then when Judgment hit I was no longer much of an Xbox 360 player, I had transitioned almost entirely to PS3 and didn't buy it straight away. However when I did buy it I had a blast, being able to experience such a well written story of my favourite gruff voiced military guys versus some scummy aliens all over again. Though the critics found it mediocre I loved it, though I never played the multiplayer, Gears 3 had left me too scorned to bother going back to it.
My Gears 3 co-op brothers felt much the same, they also did not buy Gears Judgment, they also did not play the multiplayer, we felt betrayed and were still healing. We still loved the series dearly of course, but it wasn't the same anymore so it was best left as a memory rather than playing something that had been ruined.
I eagerly await more from Gears of War on the Xbox One along with my co-op brothers. That's why I love Gears of War, because even though there were large age differences between us, even though we all belonged to different nationalities and even though we had been pushed out of Gears of War 3, we are all still together and waiting for the day when the CoG will bring us back together to fight side by side once again.