Introduction: “Boomer to the right! Get ‘im!”
We are playing ‘River’, I am in the two-level house beside the bridge. A Kantus, Boomer and BloodMount are at the door - I fire my Lancer into the Head of the Bloodmount. JOK empties a clip into the Boomer from the cover of the vehicles at my side. Subs is in the ‘garden’ behind a wall emptying his Shotgun into the Boomer from the side. Andy and Alex are keeping the Kantus pinned down from sandbag cover by the ramp into the river. The BloodMount is hit in the head, it’s helmet flies off and it is down. I concentrate my fire on it’s Grenadier rider. Subs is hit by a Boomshot and goes down. Andy leaves cover and sprints to his aid. Alex is keeping the Kantus busy, it dives to the left and right unable to throw it’s poison grenade. The Grenadier is on me and I go down. JOK rushes in killing the locust scum and rescuing me before I bleed out. Andy rescues Subs. JOK rushes out and chainsaws the Kantus with a roar. Two Grinders open up from the bridge and we all dive for cover.
Screams, curses and orders are coming from all around. Not in the game. In the room.
This is a five player Gears of War 2 Horde gaming session - being played out, in person, in my front room. Playing on xbox live is fun, but with your comrades-in-arms sitting next to you and bellowing in your ear makes the experience unforgettable.
There follows a description of what you will need, how to set the hardware up and then instructions on how to configure Gears of War 2 for system link gaming.
Want to try it? All you need is the hardware and enough room - beers and pizza are optional.
What you will need and wiring: “Ok Gears, step UP!”
Here is what you will need to have your own Horde killing spree (I’ve detailed the cheapest way to get 5 player action, if you have more televisions and more X360s there is no reason you couldn’t all play full screen - the principles are exactly the same):
- 5 players (3 or 4 work well too - you’ll only need 2 TVs and X360s this way)
- 3 televisions
- 3 Xbox 360’s
- 3 copies of Gears of War 2
- 3 Network Cables
- A Network Router/Hub
- Enough space to fit everything in (although the cosier the better sometimes - for that additional claustrophobic feeling)
On to the initial setup:
- Setup the televisions and X360s. I’ll not explain how to do this!
- Plug each network cable into a X360 and the other into the router.
- Power everything up.
- Load up Gears of War 2 on all the systems.
- Spend some time setting up profiles as each player will need to ‘Sign On’ to the X360 they will play on. (If you have 5 players decide who will get the full screen. The other players will be split screen.)
- Make sure you “Sign On” to a profile on the X360 you will play on. Just having a controller ‘lit up’ is not enough.
- Now you are ready to connect everything together.
Setting up: “I’m going for ammo, cover me!”
The next steps are easy - you’ll be killing the Horde in no time. To setup the Host do the following:
- On the X360 who will be the host (it doesn’t matter which) should select “Horde” from the main menu
- Select “Match Type” in the Lobby Screen and select “System Link”
- You will be taken to the System Link Browser - there will be NO PARTIES FOUND
- Press ‘Y’ to “Create a Party”.
- The Host will then be taken back to the Multiplayer Party Lobby.
- The Host can change the Horde Difficulty, the Starting Wave (there are 50 for each map) and whether the Map Selection process is decided by the Host or by a Vote (leave it at Host since you are all ‘sitting in the same room’ you can argue amoungst yourselves about which map to play).
Now it’s the turn of the other X360s to get connected. It’s a similar process:
- Each X360 system should select “Horde” from the main menu.
- Select ‘System Link’ for the “Match Type”.
- This time, when you are taken to the “System Link Browser” it will be populated by the game session just created by the Host.
- Select it and press ‘A’ to Join the Party!
- The player roster on the top right will now fill up with all the players in the squad.
Almost ready to start killing Locust. A few more things to do before you start:
- The host should press “Start” when everyone is in game. You will all be taken to the “Pregame Lobby”
- Select the map you wish to fight on.
- All screens will now show a small inset with your gamertag above it.
- Press Left Trigger/Right Trigger to select the Gear you want to fight as.
- Press Left Bumper/Right Bumper to select your starting weapon. Lancer or Hammerburst Assault Rifle? Your choice. Once everyone is done - the Host presses the “Start” button one last time. The game will load. Good luck.
Screenshots of the Gears of War Horde Lan Party Process
The Locust Killing begins: “MAN DOWN! To your left, I’m HERE!”
When the map has loaded get your bearings, pick up ammo and any weapons that you have time for - dig in and prepare to fight the Locust Horde!
Expect screams, shouts, laughter, and high adreneline. Always look after your buddies and get them up as soon as they go down. Expect maniacal laughter and gouts of blood as someone uses the Lancer’s Chainsaw Bayonet to slice another ugly alien into oblivion.
Don’t you know there’s a war on? Step up, Gears!