Console Monster is holding a week of articles dedicated to the Gears of War franchise. Each day from now until the 22nd we will be releasing a new Gears themed article. Since the beta has ended, hopefully this week will help you in your transition back into a gaming world without Gears of War 3. We will be taking a look at weapons, maps, memorable moments, merchandise, tips for playing and the proverbial cherry on top will be the final article, an exclusive interview with Nan McNamara, voice of Anya Stroud.
Getting straight to it, the first article will be delving into the various locations that have been seen online since the first Gears of War was released. We’ll take you back to the days when you would go charging around Gridlock and Raven Down, chainsaw in tow, destroying anything that stood in your way.
So we’ll start the list of our favourite Gears of War maps, with one of the more controversial choices. This map was always enjoyable to play although at times it found itself dissected by glitchers who found various flaws in the maps design and used them to their advantage. Despite this ‘Tyro Station’ still goes down as one of the best maps on Gears of War.
I don’t think anyone can deny that they didn’t half chuckle when they saw friend or foe crushed like a toothpick as the stations train came rolling through. That initial rush to get the Torque Bow only to find your enemy had one and you would simply spend the next five minutes popping explosive arrows off at each other from either side of the rails.
Below the station also found itself littered with the lifeless limbs of all that went through. A well placed grenade more often than not could decimate an entire opposing enemy force underneath the tracks. Despite watching people running along walls and seeing them in the far off distance after glitching through some invisible barrier, Tyro Station will always be one of the best maps from the Gears of War series.
Now moving on to Gears of War 2 and we find ourselves knee deep in water, fighting for use of the coveted Boomshot under a bridge. This is of course ‘River’ and a fine map it turned out to be. If you weren’t fighting it out underneath the bridge then you were up in the one of the houses, holding a sniper rifle or torque bow and doing your best to stop the enemy fighting to win.
Then again it was always good fun walking up behind someone who was looking down their scopes and introducing them to your chainsaw. Many a COG or Locust found themselves to engrossed in holding off the enemy from across the river, that they completely forgot to check their own back which more often than not had a grenade attached to it or worse still a chainsaw.
It was also nice to step away from the other Gears of War 2 maps that were generally dark and grungy and play with the sun shinning down upon you. Due to its ability to make gamers forget to check their back and for being one of the more enlightened maps to play on ‘River’ gets it’s inducted into the greatest Gears maps of all time.
Back to Gears of War and now for one of the most memorable maps that has graced the Gears franchise. Gridlock is quite possibly one of the most played Gears of War locations since the series began all those years ago. The map started with your entire team putting their head down and running almost in perfect sync either for the Longshot or the Boomshot depending on what your team valued more highly.
The frags were just as fun to try and grab as you and an enemy, using cars for cover, tried to out manoeuvre one another in an attempt to get a foothold in the match a grab a ‘nade. Of course many times the outcome was both players using the shotgun at the same time and thus both painting the road with your blood and some random joe swanning in and picking up what you had spent the last few minutes fighting tirelessly over.
Then there were those last stand moments, cooped up in one of those corner buildings you did your best to hold off the enemy onslaught. More often than not despite your best efforts you would find yourself outmanned, outgunned, well simply down and out. Just because the map was timeless and will always be in the thoughts and minds of Gears fans for years to come ‘Gridlock’ goes on the list.
Back to Gears of War 2 and for being a tactician’s wet dream ‘Blood Drive’ finds itself in the GOW Map Hall of Fame. Especially delectable on Guardian you found yourself contemplating hiding up in the pistol spawn, the main problem being that a single grenade will quite easily destroy your entire team. Or you could hide down with the grenades and watch as the enemy run past a well placed frag and get obliterated in a flash.
This was all the more enjoyable due to the fact that there were no Boomshot available only Scorchers, Torque Bows and Longshots. It’s always fun firing the beast off and watching your foes disappear, but it’s even more enjoyable having to think tactically without all of a sudden disappearing due to a well placed Boomshot round.
It even showed gamers the importance of height in a battle, looking down from atop the stairs you found yourself in a tactically perfect position. Despite the enemy coming at you time and again, a few well placed ‘nades and a couple of shots from the Lancer would usually end an enemy attack.
Finally we’ll take you to a COG depot, ‘Fuel Depot’ to be more precise, where you and your comrades from the get go rush like rabid dogs to the Longshot and Hammer of Dawn in an attempt to control the map. If you find yourself holding the Lonsghot your next move is usually to slink away to your spawn hangar and pick off opposing players and increasing your kill count. If you’ve got the Hammer of Dawn, using the Raven as cover you quite simply obliterate any threat the goes your way.
This map had so many places and objects to hide away in or use as cover that it was not only fun to chase down your enemy, but it was just as enjoyable retreating, playing cat and mouse and running about trying to lose the enemy. If you were the only player left you could quite easily overpower the other team by hiding away in one of the hangers and slowly depleting your enemy’s numbers with a mixture of grenades, Lancer and Longshot rounds if you were lucky enough to grab it. For being simply a joy to play ‘Fuel Depot’ is our final game inducted into the Gears of War Greatest Maps of All Time.
Honourable BETA Mention:
Of course we couldn’t go on without including a map from the beta that has since passed. Despite none making it onto the list a couple were considered. Thrashball came the closest to the list. When you first run out of the tunnels it does feel like you’re running out onto a football pitch. The wide open space and atmosphere make it feel just as much a battle ground as a sports arena and of course the humour as the scoreboard crushes one of enemies makes for a great map.
Thus concludes our first article, tune in tomorrow when we’ll bring you another Gears themed article. If you want to find out more details regarding the new Gears of War 3 maps or maybe even want to take a look at the new weapons released with the latest Gears of War then Console Monster has got just what you need. If you have an iPad, iPhone or iPod Touch you can download the new ‘Guide for Gears of War 3’ from the App Store HERE and give yourself a head start come the games full release on September 20th.