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Ranked: The Gears of War trailers

4:00 PM on 03.18.2013 // Brett Makedonski

The emotional side to these tough guys

The Gears of War franchise has a history across its four titles of releasing some of the best cinematic trailers in gaming. Despite the series' reputation of being all about impossibly muscle-bound space marines murdering everything from behind chest-high walls, the trailers mostly focus on a more human element.

Yes, as adrenaline-fueled as the games are, the videos usually seem to effectively convey the bleaker side of war. Almost always accompanied by a moving song, these trailers have a knack for making the games feel decidedly more epic.

To celebrate this week's release of Gears of War: Judgment, let's take a look back at all of the franchise's trailers.

6. Gears of War: Judgment

Despite its impending release, the Gears of War: Judgment trailer has to be the worst of the bunch. It completely ignores the formula that was expertly refined in the previous trailers.

Featuring the song "Shooting the Moon" by Mona, the Gears of War: Judgment video takes an entirely different approach than all of its predecessors. Focusing on action, combat, and testosterone, it feels less like a Gears of War trailer, and more like the run-of-the-mill trailer released for almost any other videogame.

It's tough not to view this one as the black sheep of the Gears of War trailers.

5. Gears of War 2 - I Have A Rendezvous With Death

This is the most unique of the Gears of War trailers, in the sense that it's the only one to feature a poem instead of a song. Borrowing choice lines from Alan Seeger's writing, this video seems to move step-in-step with the poem.

Despite being only the second Gears of War trailer, it didn't take long for Epic to find their groove. This video is highlighted by several defining characteristics that tend to find their way into the series' other trailers.

4. Gears of War 3 - Ashes to Ashes

When Cliff Bleszinski appeared on Late Night with Jimmy Fallon to announce Gears of War 3, they showed this reveal trailer. The video unveiled some interesting tidbits about the game such as the inclusion of a female COG, and the introduction of the Lambent as enemies.

Aside from these revelations, the video was quite phenomenal. It's probably the trailer that best depicts the hopelessness of war. The look of utter defeat on Dom's face as he gives in to the realization of death is nothing short of incredible.

As the camera fades out to show all sects fighting one another with the COGs caught squarely in the middle, you couldn't help but feel as if Gears of War 3 couldn't release fast enough.

3. Gears of War 2 - Last Day

The "Last Day" trailer may be the most emotionally effective one of all because it shows purely the human side of war. There's no combat or action, just soldiers reflecting on the weight of war.

As Dom looks at a creased picture of him and Maria, and Marcus stares into the ominously overcast sky, their lives seem semi-normal. That is, until the camera follows Marcus to show him walking from a golden field into a Locust camp -- expressing the permanent blurring of lines between what can even be considered normal anymore.

As their elevator plummets into the ground in perfect synchronization with the music, you know that normal's out the window.

2. Gears of War 3 - Dust to Dust

"Dust to Dust" is the trailer that was made for the game that was set to close out the original trilogy. It's unusually action-packed, as it was made to correlate nicely with the apex of the series.

What made this trailer really special was the style in which they went about packing in all that action. The entire video is one continuous camera shot, and it's in slow-motion. This, coupled with Mazzy Star's "Into Dust", made for one of the most memorable trailers of all time.

1. Gears of War - Mad World

Here it is. The "Mad World" spot is hands-down the best Gears of War trailer. This probably doesn't come as a surprise to anyone. In fact, there's a solid chance that you clicked this article solely to watch it again.

When this trailer began to air in 2006, not only did it turn a lot of people on to Gears of War, but it's the reason that a lot of people even bought an Xbox 360 in the first place.

There was never any question that "Mad World" would be at the top of this list. In fact, if this were a list of best videogame trailers of all time, this one would probably be in the exact same spot.

Brett Makedonski, Associate Editor
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