Wednesday, February 26, 2014

We are: The Gears of War

Picture this: It's a beautiful day, and you and a friend are sitting at a cafe. You're talking about different things, but there is an elephant in the room that everyone is talking about; an 80 year war that had just finished not two weeks ago. The city you're living in has been partying non stop for the last week, celebrating the end of a war that had claimed lives of thousands.

During the week, however, there have been recordings of tremors all across the planet; people just disregarded it, thinking it was just the aftershock of 80 years of explosions and orbital laser beams shattering the face of the planet.

You're talking with your friend, and a tremor started to shake the cafe. You disregard it, because of the past week. This one, however, lasted longer than normal. You're about to get up and leave, but the tremor stops abruptly. People shatter the silence with quiet muttering.

Suddenly, you're knocked back on to your back. Your ears are ringing from the shock of a large explosion. You lean up, utterly bewildered by the sight. Extremely large, 8 legged creatures are erupting from the ground, shrieking madly. They fall back into the ground, as large, gray, scaly humanoid things rise up from the ground, brandishing assault rifles. They aim at the people who are standing. Everyone stood in silence from sheer shock, the silence only being broken by the distance shrieking of the 8 legged creatures. From the hole they emerged from, a large black cloud erupted from the ground, followed by a loud, raspy voice shouting 'RIIIISSSSE!". A large figure clad in solid black armor, standing close to 8 feet tall climbed out of the hole, brandishing a large serrated sword.

The large creature looks at you directly in your eyes. As you tense from fear, the last word you hear is "DESSTROY!" before the smaller creatures open fire on you, and all the civilians around you.

You have entered the world of Gears of War.

Gears of War is a third person shooter created by the video game company, EPIC Games. It takes place on a planet similar to Earth, called Sera. The planet is torn by war, a war against inhuman monsters called Locust that lived in the crust of the planet. Humanity is at it's last stand, only a few hundred thousands left after the slaughter of the humans on the day the Locust erupted on Emergence Day.

The game focuses on the story of one war hero, Marcus Fenix, who was imprisoned for abandoning his post during a firefight to save his father, taking with him experimental weapon technology. He was court martialed, and sentenced to 40 years in a maximum security prison, a prison with a reputation so terrible that 2 years was considered the death penalty.

The series expands over 3 games and 5 books. It starts with Gears of War, the book Aspho Fields, then Gears of War 2, followed by Jacinto’s Remnant, next is Anvil Gate, then Coalition’s End, finished with Gears of War 3. The last book is called The Slab, which covers Marcus’ trial and sentence, and the history of his father.

Gears of War is my favorite video game series for multiple reasons. The main reason is it’s such an emotionally gripping story. The game introduces you to characters who you quickly grow attached to, who are then forcefully ripped from you in the game by being killed. There are many characters in the game that had lost something, but none more than Dominic Santiago, Marcus’ best friend. Dom had lost his children and parent the day the Locust emerged, then his wife soon disappearing after the events of Gears of War 1.

Another reason is the game is so unlike other games. It has a unique style of gameplay that (without sounding sadistic) uses gore to its advantage. The game has so many different types of weapons available for you to use, and in the third game, their own unique execution. For example, the Flamethrower is forced into the victim’s gut and they’re then burnt from the inside out. This game isn’t really one for the weak of heart.

This game is close to my heart for one more specific reason - it was the first game I played cooperatively with an old friend, who lives far away from me now. It was our first game that we bonded over, and it was also the first game that we had such fun playing. We had never played a game together before that we both liked, and this one hit all the right buttons for both of us, and to me that makes it special.

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