What Exactly is Horde Mode?
Horde Mode in Gears of War 3 is a pretty standard formula with a number of awesome twists. You and your partners are stationed in one of the multiplayer maps and are tasked with one simple goal: Survive. Wave after wave of increasingly difficult enemies will swarm at you to overwhelm your defenses and kill you. Horde 2.0, the new variant in Gears 3, gives you new toys to play with and new obstacles to overcome. You can now:
- Set up static defenses to help you survive
- Earn currency with each kill and with successful wave challenges
- Use the currency to upgrade defenses, buy weapons and set up ammo spawns
Higher level waves give you more currency. Don’t worry about being the guy that doesn’t get many kills either. Players can now trade currency to help outfit their less accurate or trigger-happy companions. You get more points, and thus more cash, for killing enemies on your own. Having multiple players kill the same enemy reduces the points gained, as does having your static defenses do the killing, or even having the enemy kill each other. You still get some points for turning enemies against each other, but you shouldn’t do it too often unless you’re willingly weakening yourself for future waves.
A boss will spawn every ten waves, accompanied by a squad of support troops. You need to take out the support troops before the boss, because if they are still alive the boss will respawn. On the other hand, the boss is often very deadly, which means leaving it alive is a dangerous task. Sometimes you’ll be forced to kill it two or three times, just to finish the wave successfully.
Additionally, after every boss wave a new challenge is added. Usually this takes the form of enemies having more health and damage.
- Wave 1-10: Normal
- Wave 11-20: 2x Health
- Wave 21-30: 2x Health, 2x Accuracy
- Wave 31-40: 2x Health, 2x Accuracy, 2x Damage
- Wave 41-50: 2.5x Health, 2.5x Accuracy, 2.5x Damage
This is all for the static game of course. When a player sets up a lobby, they are free to use certain mutators that they have unlocked. These can make the game harder or easier for players, and generally the more you play, the more often you’ll encounter these mutators. Tread carefully!
Advancing Through the Waves
The Horde mode gameplay doesn’t start until players set up a command post. This is your base area and serves as the core of your defenses. If it’s overrun, you can consider the match lost.
Some waves will have special challenges to complete. It’s worth your while to try to achieve them, because the rewards are pretty good. They can range from ammo to weapons to currency. Some challenges are:
- Chainsaw or Bayonet X enemies
- Complete the wave in less than a target time
- Kill X enemies in 30 seconds
- Execute X enemies
- Headshot X enemies
- Kill X enemies with a turret
- Shoot fuel tanks on certain enemies
- Complete the wave with no casualties
Another tip is to pick up weapons from your fallen foes. This saves you the cash that you might have spent on an ammo refill or on a new weapon. It’s always better to save your cash for when you really need it, and there’s no sense in wasting a resource that’s literally being carried to you by your enemies.
Fallen weapons disappear when the next wave starts, so you need to collect them as soon as possible. One of the easiest ways to do this is to make a “crawler” by shooting the legs out from under a Locust and leaving it alive. It becomes much less of a threat, can be dispatched when necessary, and keeps the wave alive so you can collect, repair, and do whatever other maintenance needs to be done.
Keeping COGs Alive
There are plenty of tips and tricks for Horde Mode to help keep you alive from Gears of War 2’s Horde Mode, but keep in mind that this game is quite different. For instance, enemies are semi-random in every wave, and bosses are random from a list of powerful foes. Not to mention the defenses you can set up.
The Command Post is your most important fortification and you must keep it safe and upgraded. It’s first level costs $0, because it’s built at the start of the game. Each successive level costs $2000 more than the previous, so $2000, $4000, $6000, etc.
Barriers damage and slow enemies. Some of them will turn off when you’re nearby to allow you to pass through safely, so be aware this will free the enemies trapped within. Keep them repaired and upgraded for the most effective defense. Barriers include Caltrops, Razor Wire, Electric Barriers and Laser Barriers. They come in both small and large sizes, and vary in costs. Buy them to unlock other things, like decoys!
Decoys are just what they sound like on the tin. They’ll distract enemies and allow you to divide and conquer. Be advised that they can be destroyed, obviously, so the enemies that were distracted will rush all at once. Decoys include a Cole cardboard cutout, dummies, red-painted dummies and explosive dummies.
Turrets are guns you can mount and use. They do not fire automatically. They also have TWO repair costs: one to refill their limited ammo, and another to replenish their limited health. Turrets include the Retro, Lancer, Troika and Armored Troika.
Sentry Turrets are like turrets but they fire automatically, without the need to take a player out of the fight to mount it. They come in three flavors: light, heavy and static.
Silverback Mechs help you in your fight and are one of the top-tier things to unlock. You must reach barrier level 7 to unlock them, and they’re expensive, so make sure you’re doing the challenges and killing as much as you can!
You can also buy Ammo Boxes and purchase Respawns for yourself. Note, however, that you can only respawn once per wave. Die more often than that and your team suffers a personnel loss that could cause your wave to end in gruesome failure.
Fight through all 50 waves and you can truly call yourself a COG! It’s quite a challenge, so don’t feel bad if you can’t blaze through it on the first try. It takes some strategy and a lot of careful murder to survive 50 waves of the Locust Horde.
- Images Copyright Epic Games
- Information from Gearspedia
- Source: Author’s Own Experience