At a time when competitive multiplayer games have been dominated by first-person shooters like Halo, Gears Of War has managed to carve out a very special niche. The gameplay made this game unable to have a truly dominant player who could tip the scales of the match in one direction. Instead, the gameplay focused on teamwork and communication above all else.
This was greatly promoted by a series of awesome maps that forced players to work together to secure weapons and territory. Some of the early maps were so popular that they reworked them several times. Below is a ranking of some of the best maps from across the franchise.
10 Security (Gears Of War 2)
One of the great things about Gears Of War maps is that a lot of the maps have very specific features to help diversify the gameplay. The big safety feature was activating a series of lasers that could cut players in half.
While it was a lot of fun to make use of in regular Execution and Warzone, activating the laser played a huge role in some thematic games, especially in King of the Hill, where teams could lock themselves in a position and rack up points while their opponents couldn’t enter .
9 Thrashball (Gears of War 3)
Thrashball was first introduced as a concept in the Gears Of War game itself. It was only mentioned that Augustus Cole was a thrashball star, but the game itself was never really developed or featured.
It wasn’t until Gears Of War 3, with the introduction of an actual thrashbowl stadium as a map, that players were able to immerse themselves in the sport. The map mode really puts players in a competitive spirit, and there are plenty of places to cover for a true hide-and-seek experience.
8 Avalanche (Gears of War 2)
Environmental features are always fun when unexpected. This is how an avalanche works. At any moment, an avalanche could descend on the map, killing anyone in its path.
It’s especially fun when two players are fighting, and both will have to stop their fight to take cover or risk perishing. Or even more hilarious, if players are playing the map for the first time and have no idea what’s going on only to find themselves trapped under the snow.
7 Sign Out (Gears Of War 3)
While some maps like Avalanche and Security are fun for their special features, some maps are good simply because they have a great design. This is where Checkout excels. So it’s no surprise that they kept the blueprints the same when they were redesigned in later games.
Although the map does have a nice feature to get to the fire extinguisher. It does no harm, but it has its own very humiliating method of execution.
6 Gallery (Gears 5)
While Exhibit is certainly fun for its many different game modes, it might be best when paired with King of the Hill. It doesn’t look like a map with a certain cool place to guard, but maybe that’s what makes it so special. It forces players to defend exposed lands from multiple angles.
This does not take into account the fact that the upper and lower levels of the map also allow multiple ways to get to the same place.
5 River (Gears of War 2)
When River was first shown in Gears of War 2, it’s hard to imagine it being built for anything other than a Guardian. There is also a building for guardians to take shopping and hide in while their teammates have to cross a river to try to invade the opposing team’s building.
It’s an easily defensible position, and it can make games last longer than they should. However, there is also a Boomshot wisely placed on the map, which can take out a Guardian from a distance.
4 Hail (Gears of War 2)
Just like Avalanche, Hail’s environmental factor can take many players by surprise, especially if it’s their first time. The basic idea of razor hail is that it cuts players as it falls from the sky, forcing players to take cover until it dissipates.
This can lead to a strange gag while players wait, often exchanging fire from a distance, before they can make a move. It gets especially frustrating in objective matches, where time is a huge factor.
3 Channels (Gears of War)
Gears of War matches are all about clashing. Because the rounds are played a lot, the players are forced to quickly go out and meet the player face to face. What makes ducts great is that there are multiple layers in such a narrow space for this to happen.
The channel itself, as well as high levels, are located on both sides and even above the channel itself. This can create a lot of back and forth battles with the feeling of real frontline warfare.
2 Blood Campaign (Gears of War 2)
Blood Drive has a particularly unique design. With two elevated locations on either side, the map essentially creates a sort of kill zone on the level below that is extremely difficult to cross.
This makes Guardian and Capture the Leader games particularly exciting. Games can theoretically last an hour or more as the leaders are stuck in an easily defensible position. This can lead to many, many deaths, possibly earning the map of the same name.
1 Gridlock (Gears of War)
It’s hard to imagine a more influential map in the Gears of War franchise than Gridlock. For many players, moving forward on this map was Marcus Fenix’s first multiplayer experience for Gears of War as it was the most popular map in the first game.
To no one’s surprise, they reworked it several times after that, but the overall design remained the same. It really captures what it feels like to be a Gear soldier as players battle it out on a ruined street with abandoned cars all around them.
Next: Gears of War: The Best Opponents