Years ago, the Locust Horde gathered under every major city and launched a surprise attack. Untold numbers died on Emergence Day, and rather than allow the Locust to keep the spoils of their aggression, humans used chemical weapons and orbital particle beams to destroy them - and their own cities. With most urban centers and military installations rubble, survivors gathered on Jacinto Plateau, whose solid granite strata could not be easily penetrated. When the Horde breached the plateau's defenses, Marcus Fenix defied orders to save his father at East Barricade Academy - but he was too late. Charged with dereliction of duty, he has been sentenced to 40 years in Jacinto Maximum Security Penitentiary...

Report article RSS Feed Gears of War SP Maps

Reviews of a collection of Single Player maps for Gears of War.

Posted by Koroshiya_Ichi on Mar 11th, 2008
Article

Gears of War Extended


Gears of War isn't the most widely used platform of choice for modders at the moment, with Unreal Tournament 3 taking most of UE3's limelight. But GoW isn't without its scene and there's a nice handful of SP levels available for you to to take a blast through if you're looking for more cover based action. Each level/map has been marked on its quality in the departments Gameplay, Art and Design, Sound and are marked out of 5:

1 = Utter Cack

2 = Meh, Not without its charm

3 = Standard/Average

4 = Good Stuff!

5 = Excellent


Rubble


Author - NewPCGamer

Download Rubble

Gameplay - 3/5


First up we have Rubble, a pretty simple level where you need to guide the big fella Gus to a waiting APC on the other side of the Map. As soon as you enter the main section Emergence Holes open up everywhere and the Locust Horde start flooding in, starting with your standard groups and gradually increasing in difficulty. Although it isn't insanley difficult, the open ended nature of the map means there are few cover spots which the Locust don't have several means of accessing. There are plenty of objects to hide behind though (perhaps too much, it certainley dilutes the intensity) so you've a decent amount of strategic options, and Gus proves a surprisingly effective counterpart (I never found the NPC AI to be all that helpful on GoW for some reason). Once you're done in the courtyard you're moved indoors and play in more confined areas. On the whole the gameplay flows quite nicely though it never elevates to a truly exciting status, with areas such as the first encounter with Boomers (where 3 of them literally stand still allowing you to shoot them easily) that just scream unoriginality, which when coupled with the absence of savepoints means that if you die you'll likely not have the enthusiasm to try it again. That said the pace generally stays quite consistent, and fans of GoW's Gameplay will likely enjoy what it has to offer.

Art and Design - 3/5


The level likes to focus on the more openended styles of gameplay, with large levels populated with plenty of areas for you to find cover which (as previously mentioned) does effect the tensity of the map. That said, thanks to the size of the different areas it's never too easy and there are plenty of routes the Locust Horde can use to get at you. Although the design supports the gameplay well enough, it never really extends beyond this as little effort has been made to really create a swallowing atmosphere. What made Gears of War effective was it's portayal of Marcus Fenix and co being in the midst of a desperate struggle, but this never really pulls through in Rubble. You never feel as if you're in the middle of a an area which once supported life and has now been torn into a warzone, rather just a pretty straightforward setup with a few artistic assets thrown in at the last minute. The lighting is extremely flat throughout and in general there is little depth to the map to really give it any atmosphere, but it's never detrimental to the actual gameplay.

Sound - 3/5


The sound is generally similar to the art and design in that although the basics are there, it never really extends any further. The dialogue between Gus and Marcus is a nice touch but feels thrown together, the lines of dialogue appearing to have been picked somewhat at random. The Gears soundtrack sits behind the carnage nicely while you gun the living hell out of everything that moves, so things never really calm down to the point that you notice the lack of environmental ambience.

Overall - 9 / 15 - A fun blast but nothing more


You can download Rubble here.


Square


Author - Zackis

Download Square

Gameplay - 4/5


Square is simple, small, but furiously intense. Your team are dead and you have to make your way back to the NPC, so you stock up on ammo and make your way to the main square. You can see the NPC awaiting you on the other side, but moments later there are emergence holes popping up everywhere and you find yourself under heavy fire. Cover is in short supply, and the lack of the Lancer gun means that you're really going to have to pull off some accurate headshots with the Pistol or wait until the Locust come close and take them out with the Shotgun. It's not the easiest of the maps reviewed here, and the fact that Gears of War isn't particularly stellar in the close combat department means that unless you're a big fan of the style of gameplay, you'll likely get bored (well, annoyed) pretty quickly. However for the rest of us, it's a nice all be it short blastfest.

Art and Design - 2/5


The map is generally quite sparse, with only a few areas of cover resulting in an unimaginative and at times frustrating setup. The lack of cover means you're far too often left waiting for the Locust to come close, and if you try running through the open sections you'll likely find yourself gunned to pieces quite quickly. Overall the map feels thrown together,with little if any time dedicated to the use of artistic assets, though the use of lighting does add a little much-needed depth.

Sound - 3/5


As with most of the other reviewed maps there is nothing especially notable about the sound in Square. There is one surprising touch however, with the use of Gary Jules cover of 'Mad World' (which appeared on the main Gears of War Trailer) starting just moments into the carnage. Having such a sombre and melancholy song played over the utter carnage again adds some much needed depth to an otherwise very straight forward affair. Just pray you can survive long enough to hear the song through to the end.

Overall - 9 / 15 - Simple, best suited to diehard fans of the gameplay


You can download Square here.


Namtar and Nergal


Author - Thaur

Download Nergal
Download Namtar

Gameplay - 4/5


Each of these maps have been built by the same Author and are very similar in both quality and style. They both boast a strong combination of Art, Design and Sound with levels are reminiscent of the midpart of the original Gears of War, inparticular the large industrial level and underground tunnels. You proceed through a variety of underground caverns and chambers, often facing large numbers of the Locust Horde. The timing and location of many of the Spawns and Emergence holes means you'll really need to stay on your toes if you're going to survive, as you'll often have 6 Locust at anyone time approaching you. Gears of War fans should download these maps immediately as the gameplay is addictive, well paced, varied and comes with some well timed surprises, but as is the case with all these maps, the lack of savepoints means that die once and you'll likely not be bothered to fight through the same fights again just to reach the same point. Fun, well built and with a smart use of cosmetics, Namtar and Nergal are the must downloads of this selection.

Art and Design - 4/5


For the most part the art and design supports the levels nicely, and unlike the other maps you feel a genuine sense of atmosphere with these. The lighting is well judged and the use of artistic elements adds a real sense of history, creating maps which achieve a strong balance between Design and pure cosmetics. A nice little touch is added with the odd cutscene here and there, giving the feeling that there is indeed a narrative behind the gameplay. The only significant complaint I have is that the positioning of some of the coverable items is poor. Although most of the time the coverables support the gameplay nicely, giving you good vantage points and opening plenty of strategic possibilities, there are the few exceptions where you simpley cannot see your enemies, your sight been obstructed by other objects or the cover itself.

Sound - 4/5


The artistic assets aren't the only thing to help convey atmoshpere in Namtar and Nergal, with ambient effects doing their part two. Both the effects and music tie in with in-game events very well, helping to add suspense and tension where it's really needed.

Overall - 12 / 15 - Well built, Solid and with some soul


Download Nergal
Download Namtar


Locust Wars


Author - Far

Download Locust Wars

Gameplay - 4/5


Locust wars is a pure test of endurance and skill. This map is more of a bot match than a conventional mission setup, with Locusts appearing in waves which you must dispose of. As each group of Locust are killed a new batch descend upon you, growing in both number and difficulty. If you're a big fan of the GoW gameplay and don't really care for story then you'll lap this up, as there's plenty to gun your way through. However if you're more interested in stories, varied pacing and narrative exposition then I really wouldn't reccomend it as it's very much a straightforward excuse for violence... kind of like Football/Soccer in England.

Art and Design - 4/5


As there's no story to speak of, the art and design have no other purpose than to just support the gameplay. You're not going to spend any time exploring back alleys or admiring the use of different static meshes, you've got plenty of Locust to be killing so all that matters is that the design supports this, and for the most part it does so nicely. The map is mostly set outdoors, but with different sized areas and varied use of coverables to break things up a little bit never gets too samey.

Sound - 3/5


There's little to be said about the sound. It does what it needs to and the music certainley helps convey the spirit of this style of gameplay, but beyond that there's nothing else.

Overall - 11 / 15 - Carnage, not for the faint hearted


Download Locust Wars

There are a few more maps knocking around on the internet and there are far more in the Multiplayer Category, but there's plenty here to keep you busy and some nice examples of level design. If you're interested in Gears of War modding or just seeing more Maps, then check out the official forums at Epic Games.

Post comment Comments
SinKing
SinKing Mar 11 2008, 6:51am says:

Nice! How do I get in contact with these mappers, especially with Far?

+1 vote     reply to comment
Koroshiya_Ichi
Koroshiya_Ichi Mar 11 2008, 8:01am says:

check out Gearsforums.epicgames.com

i found links to all these maps on the full releases section, all the authors post there so you should find them with relative ease!

+1 vote     reply to comment
NullSoldier
NullSoldier Mar 11 2008, 7:27pm says:

These are custom maps? Someone actually modded this game?

I give GoW an E for effort. No reason to mod it when these mappers could put their talent to a more useful cause on the Unreal 3 Engine. I don't even think many PC gamers play GoW or have played it so I doubt they will really harvest the fruit of their labor.

-1 votes     reply to comment
Koroshiya_Ichi
Koroshiya_Ichi Mar 12 2008, 5:19am replied:

ah right, so it shouldn't have anything to do with whether they enjoy the actual game?

Games like Crysis, Half-life 2 and UT3 have got plenty of coverage and mod makers working on them and I for one am more interested in supporting those who put their talents to more obscure games that they enjoy, rather than just going with the 'most popular and easy to mod' engines. They might not get AS much coverage but thats the aim of articles like this, to start bringing a little attention to the lesser known game mods.

There's some excellent work out there which people completely miss just because it isnt built on one of the 'celebrity' game engines.

+3 votes     reply to comment
Peccavi
Peccavi Mar 11 2008, 11:15pm says:

GoW (PC) is buggy as hell, congrats to these guys for producing something at all, not too mention that it doesn't look too bad at all.

+1 vote     reply to comment
sbnewsom
sbnewsom Mar 13 2008, 6:00am replied:

Check out the new patch.

+1 vote     reply to comment
Thaur
Thaur Mar 12 2008, 1:03am says:

What would be a more useful cause? I don't see the point of mapping for UT3 because to me the gameplay of the UT games got stale years ago. It is the same basic formula they had ten years ago with the original Unreal just with fancier graphics and some useless vehicles thrown in. That's not to say old games or gameplay is bad, It's just the simple strafe left right jump shoot mechanic of UT is no longer rewarding, especially after playing such amazing games as Tribes 2 or even the somewhat simple Gears.

If I were on a mod team that would make the gameplay more interesting I would consider mapping for UT3 but as it is now I am just a level designer. In addition to the weak gameplay I am not impressed with the art direction of UT3. What I saw were some rehashed Asian stuff, some ugly looking middle eastern architecture with tentacles and some generic urban architecture. Where is the motivation to create for a game with gameplay and art I don't like?

The PC Gears is pretty disappointing because of the bugs, windows live being a piece of garbage, almost total lack of support for custom content and very small community. However, there are serious benefits of being part of a small community. You can get to know people easier, your work stands out and you don't have to worry about it getting flooded away by other stuff like in the UT3 forums. Gears has a rewarding single player/coop experience unlike UT3, and I personally enjoy making single player maps more than multiplayer. It's also a lot more impressive to a potential employer having complex single player maps with scripted events than a bunch of run of the mill deathmatch or ctf maps like in UT3.

If you know of any other new unreal engine games that come with the editor and good single player game please tell me.

+3 votes     reply to comment
LocustQ
LocustQ Mar 12 2008, 5:35am says:

how run it?

+1 vote     reply to comment
Koroshiya_Ichi
Koroshiya_Ichi Mar 12 2008, 6:09am says:

each of the maps (i think) comes with instructions on how to install and play. If thats missing however here's what you do :

extract the map into

C:\ Documents and Settings \ <userID> \ My Documents \ My Games \ Gears of War for Windows \ WarGame \ UnPublished \ CookedPC \ CustomContent\ Maps \

run the game, bring down the console (which i is either ' or ~), type 'open', and type in the name of the map you wish to run. So for a map called sp_usermap.war you'd type 'open sp_usermap'.

+2 votes     reply to comment
LocustQ
LocustQ Mar 15 2008, 3:30am says:

Koroshiya- thx

+1 vote     reply to comment
Industryhopeful
Industryhopeful May 18 2011, 10:04pm says:

I cant seem to get the mods that use anything other than the .war extension to work. Like the .7Z for Locust wars.

+1 vote     reply to comment
darkelfsin
darkelfsin Apr 5 2012, 7:15am says:

After these years, more better maps already came out....

+1 vote     reply to comment
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Gears of War
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Windows, X360
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Epic Games
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Gearsofwar.xbox.com
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Released Nov 6, 2007
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