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Gears of War is a great game and, in my opinion, one of the best shooters made in the recent years. It introduced tactical cover-to-cover movement formula into shooters for masses, and although it may be improved upon and perfected in other games (for example, Wanted: Weapons of Fate, where the cover system felt a bit more intuitive and fluid), Gears of War still stands as a great example of tactical combat mixed with pure, raw action.
This walkthrough will be more focused on helping you to get through the game, not storyline. I did this on purpose, as I believe that every story has to be expierienced by yourself; that makes it much more enjoyable and memorable.
A word of advice: Gears of War is even better if you play it in Co-op mode with a good friend. For the walkthrough, it basically stays the same, except that each player has to follow another part in the moments where the group splits up.
Another side note: while reloading a weapon, try to hit R again just when the slider in the upper right corner below the weapon image hits the smaller white section of the bar. That's called an Active Reload and gives you a boost to damage as well as other bonuses depending on the weapon.
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Ashes: 14 Years After the E-Day
After the cinematic ends, exit the room. Move towards Dominic. Here you will have two choices: the left path leads you directly in combat, while the right brings you to the tutorial area. Enter the room and walk straight towards the red Gear symbol in front of you to pick up a COG Tag. Press Q to look up at the helicopter. From here, go up the stairs if you chose tutorial, or into the doors to your left if you took the left option. As tutorial is pretty obvious, I will assume you went left.
Press E to kick out the door and grab some ammunition. Continue forward. Move from cover to cover and shoot the enemies. If your health gets low, hide behind the cover and wait until you are in good condition again. As for the enemies on the bridge to the right, you can safely ignore them.
Move through the room and pick up grenades. Continue forward and take cover immediately. Shoot the enemies and use a grenade to kill the opponent in the small room in the left opposite corner. The Locust will be cutting through the door to your left, take cover with this in mind and prepare. When the battle is over, pick up ammunition near the small room mentioned previously. Also, turn opposite to the exit door - see a Gear symbol? The second COG Tag and another ammo box are located behind that column.
Take the exit. Pick up the third COG Tag, which is located left from the entrance, up the stairs and to the left from the Gear symbol. You have to take it before all enemies are down, otherwise you will not be able to get it. Now shoot the enemies and move towards the opening in the wall and look up to see the helicopter. After a cinematic this chapter is complete.
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Ashes: Trial by Fire
After the cinematic, move forward towards the stairs and up, then go from cover to cover and shoot the Locust. You start with the famous Lancer gun, which, in my opinion, is superior to the Locust Hammerburst you had. It also has a close combat chainsaw option (used by holding F). Chainsaw instantly kills the Drones (most common and weakest enemies), but be careful: if you are shot while revving the chainsaw, you will lower it, so use it when tactically sound and for close kills.
When you have reached the end of the stairs, move forward. The fourth COG Tag is pointed out by your teammates and is located near another Gear symbol, behind a small concrete wall. Proceed moving forwards where your team left.
Pick up the ammo and grenades and go upstairs. Take cover. Pick up some more ammo. Here you can either follow Dom's advice, and move to the left to flank your enemies, or go straight up the right side and shoot them in the face; the choice is yours.
When you see an emergence hole in the right corner of the area, throw a grenade into it. After the battle is over, pick up ammo and move onwards. Continue moving and fighting until you cross the bridge. Enter the room and immediately take cover. When you see the statue sinking into ground, toss a grenade into the newly opened emergence hole. Defeat the Drones and move onwards until you see another emergence hole appearing. You know what to do - grenade it and shoot the enemies. The fifth Tag can be found near the hole, in the bushes.
Go through the doors on your left. There are some grenades to pick up. Walk down the stairs and move towards the bodies you saw earlier from the bridge. This concludes Trial By Fire.