So let's get our feet wet in the campaign. As there are co-op achievements and to be as efficient as possible, bring a friend. You can make the attempt slightly easier on yourself by having your friend play on Casual difficulty to breeze through the content, but they obviously won't get the same difficulty achievements as you unless you have them quit and rejoin every chapter, which can become tedious but worth it for Inconceivable. You can actually play both controllers for most of it(one Insane/one Casual) but there will be parts that will require the assistance of another human set of hands to get through. As per usual the game does have collectibles to collect, so I'll describe their whereabouts. I'll try to keep the walkthrough spoiler free, with the exception of offering advice on any sections that could prove frustrating. If you find yourself dying frequently, ask yourself if you're simply trying to move quickly. Unlike other shooter games Gears does not have any portions with infinite spawns requiring you to move forward. So be patient, stay in cover, wait until your health recovers before firing again. The game requires the following to be done in campaign:
-Hardcore, Insane, Inconceivable runs (The difficulties stack but Inconceivable needs to be unlocked by Insane)
-Ironman run (No deaths, Hardcore or above)
-Ironman coop (As above just with someone else)
-Holding on to your Lancer throughout the entire campaign
-Not using Lancer or Gnasher the entire campaign
There is an achievement for Inconceivable solo, but as of April 2018 there are ways to get it done via coop, check the solutions for a more detailed and updated write up. My recommended path for Gears franchise veterans is 3 playthroughs:
-Insane carrying Lancer throughout
-Hardcore Coop Ironman no Lancer/Gnasher
I don't recommend anyone do an Ironman run on a difficulty higher than Hardcore otherwise you run the risk of breaking a controller/TV. I also don't recommend Insane if you haven't played any of the other Gears games on Insane as it could be a frustrating experience for a newcomer.
The campaign has 50 collectibles, 10 of which are COG tags. During coop play if one person collects it, both people receive credit. If you already have it, it will not appear for you, but will be visible for the person that needs it. You can see how many you've collected in a particular chapter on the pause screen. So let's begin.
For Gears veterans, active reloading is just like breathing and will happen for you automatically, but for new players you should always attempt an active reload with a weapon. Hit to reload and then again on the small hashmarks for a quicker and boosted damage/fire rate reload. If you fail it will take longer to reload so there's a risk/reward element and some weapons are easier than others. Your goal is to become very proficient at this. After 25 successes, this will unlock:
The first collectible is after you lob a grenade into the bunker. Walk into the bunker on your right and you'll find the UIR Security Report on the desk 1/50. Immediately after this walk back outside towards the direction you came, on your left behind the concrete block next to a Czech hedgehog is a fallen soldier, collect the COG tag 2/50. Proceed inside and fight your way through the facility, keep an eye out for red barrels to explode to help your progress. After the machine gun nest portion, inside the main facility look to your right for a red and white poster 3/50. Use to cool down turrets as needed before they overheat, or hold it down when it does.
Fast forward to E-Day, once the Corpser emerges look to your left for a guard booth. Inside is a stack of newspapers 4/50. Proceed across the street, grab the HoD from the white van and then go around the corner towards the House of Sovereigns, behind the pillar you'll see another fallen soldier's COG tag, 5/50. Hang back and use the Hammer on the approaching enemies and don't forget the Mulcher by the fountain.
Welcome to Anvil Gate, there's 2 collectibles before going up the ladder. The first is behind the burning Armadillo, a COG tag on the left by the door, 6/50. The other is on a desk to the right of the ladders. 7/50.
Completing the prologue with friend in tow for:
Act I Chapter 1 - The Raid
Now welcome to the present and the 1st part of Act I. After knocking down the fence but before you approach the crane, look to your right behind some boxes to find the manifest hidden away, 8/50. While working your way through the complex look for a red robot, do not drop down yet but instead go left to find the pamphlet on a blue box along the end wall, 9/50.
During this first section you will learn two new mechanics in Gears 4, yank as well as shank. The game will teach you this on an unsuspecting DeeBee(named after its creator hint hint). To yank simply take cover in front of an enemy by hitting , press to lean forward, and hit to grab them. If you are playing co-op have the 2nd controller do this and while the enemy is freshly yanked they are momentarily stunned, at which point you move close to them and hit to execute them with your knife. If you fail due to timing you can either reload the checkpoint or continue on, but while there will be other opportunities for this this is the easiest it will ever be. On success:
You can reload the checkpoint 9 more times and yank/shank yourself to easily unlock:
After exiting the courtyard area where the squad talks about Kait's training, enter the building to the right of the gate. In the far back room of the building is the collectible poster laying on a bookshelf, 10/50. Next collectible is in the maternity ward on a coffee table between two green chairs underneath a poster, a pamphlet 11/50. Once outside again after taking out the first wave of DBs in front of the fabricator building, walk down the street and go up the first staircase you see on your left. You’ll see the poster hanging to the right of the door, 12/50.
Enjoy your ridiculous easy gamerscore as you progress through the game, the rest of these are found at the bottom because who cares.
Act 1 Chapter 2 - In and Out
When you're in the room with the fabricator, go to the control panels on the left side of the room. The schematics are on a computer with a glowing green monitor, 13/50.
The fabricator allows you to spend money to purchase weapons or repurchase the existing weapon you have for more ammo.
Act 1 Chapter 3 - New Friends
Here you're introduced to a new enemy, the DR1. Their Overkill is a beefed up Gnasher and when they take sufficient damage they'll suicide charge so engage at a distance. Once you have a chance to stop shooting DBs in the courtyard, run around to the slightly elevated patio to the left of where you entered the courtyard. Another pamphlet next to a stone bench, 14/50. Later on you'll meet Deadeyes which carry EMBARs, a 3 shot sniper rifle without a zoom. Hold down to charge it, aim for the head, and release to fire. If you don't have a shot just continue holding the trigger and eventually it'll dissipate, then repeat.
Act 1 Chapter 4 - A Few Snags
Place the fabricator in front of town hall instead of under the balcony and you can collect the collectibles before the horde waves begin.
A poster to the left and outside of the Town Hall entrance, on a pillar. 15/50
A book opposite the Town Hall, walk up the steps to the barn entrance and you'll find the book on the ground next to the barrel and apples. 16/50
Now turn around and if you're facing the Town Hall, to the left is a set of tall crops with a yellow banner above. Behind this area is a workshop up a short set of stairs, with the collectible on the floor next to the wood and chair. 17/50
We need to hold out for 3 waves, so spend fabricator power to build sentries for the sides. As you defend the base you will encounter flying enemies known as Guardians. They come in 2 varieties: Trishot and Salvo. Our goal here (depending on difficulty) is after killing the first is to rip out its weapon and use it to kill one of the 2 in the next wave to unlock:
If you don't get this here as with all of the situational achievements there will be plenty of opportunities later in Horde mode(which you'll be playing a lot of) or just chapter select on Casual after you complete the game.
Act 2 Chapter 1 - The Prodigal Son
Before you enter the house, enter the lit gate to the right. After the cut-scene, walk back toward the gate and you'll be able to pick up the flower next to it. 18/50
After your first firefight, walk towards the stone shed. You'll find the ball tucked away in the dark corner behind the shed. WOOOOOOOO 19/50
When you enter the manor, you have to go up the stairs to the right. Instead, go to the far left corner, past the wall lamp, and you'll find a letter on the right in the proceeding room. 20/50
Recover 10 Campaign collectibles
Act 2 Chapter 2 - Geared up
You're reunited with an old friend, so unless you're doing the no Lancer/Gnasher playthrough HOLD ON TO IT! This is a custom Lancer, different from the Lancers enemies will use later on. You need to carry this exact Lancer throughout the entire game from this point on. It's okay to momentarily drop it if you need to pick up a gun with ammo, just make sure you grab it again before you progress.
After you clear out the DBs, walk into the dark room to the left of the armory. You'll find the photo on the floor in front of the fireplace, 21/50.
In the basement you'll find the map plans on a workbench on the left side of the room. You can grab it before the underground escape path is revealed. 22/50.
After the barrel shed incident, walk around on the left and to a pallet of wooden crates. You'll see the bottle of wine between the pallet and the giant wine cask. 23/50
Act 2 Chapter 3 - Plan B
Here you're tasked with splitting up and there's a collectible on each choice. For now we'll choose the left path for a easy opportunity to earn another situational achievement. Destroy the orange and yellow barriers holding back the debris to earn environmental kills. Destroy the very first one, get your kills and reload until:
But regardless of your choice once you make it to the end you can backtrack and find both collectibles. On the left path, after the gate has been opened for you from the other team, proceed onward and next to the rows of red drums is a truck. In the back is a magazine. 24/50
On the right path, at the very beginning of the path walk across the bridge and toward the wooden shed behind the stone wall. You'll see the figure on the ground next to the tractor. 25/50
Act 2 Chapter 4 - The Great Escape
This part can be frustrating on your Hardcore Ironman run as the Kestrel pays more attention to the first bike(player one). You can make it easier on yourself by having the first controller be the casual player and the second controller be the higher difficulty. This is almost impossible(although you're welcome to try) to complete on solo co-op, so you'll need a friend to help.
And if you're on coop:
Act 3 Chapter 1 - Almost Midnight
This isn't much of a chapter as it's just walking around. This is crucial for your Inconceivable "solo" completion in order for the achievement to pop as you will have to complete one chapter on your own. Walk down the long road with the broken down cars and view of the fort. At the end of the road is an archway on the right side, go to the left and look into the dark bushes to find the bracelet. 26/50
After you enter the fort and start exploring the dark and dusty corridors and JD steps in the pod, walk down the hallway and you'll see the book on a desk right by the window. 27/50
Act 3 Chapter 2 - Night Terrors
Now this chapter is very important depending on the difficulty that you're running as it contains an Easter egg that only appears if both players are on Insane or Inconceivable difficulties. It will make the boss fights trivial in comparison to your Hardcore run. I'll describe it to you but encourage you to watch the video.
The first collectible is a little bit into the chapter, before you lift the debris to go through the doorway turn left. On a table next to some firewood is a pile of papers. 28/50
Inside this building you'll also notice snot on the ceiling with a weapon flashing inside. Shot the snot so the weapon drops, then turn to your right and do it again. Reload checkpoint, repeat, reload checkpoint, repeat:
As you kick open the red door to exit this building you'll be prompted to give chase, but instead go right to recover the COG tag. 29/50
After a double wooden door, you'll meet Rio de Janeiro's finest(the statue). Turn left under an archway and find the map on the bench. 30/50
In the church, after the E-hole and corridor of drones you enter an open area with a pod suspended by snot across the way. A Juvie will howl giving you time to drop the pod on him. Reload as needed for:
Insane/Inconceivable difficulty only(Both players need to be on this difficulty. In fact it makes sense for your casual partner to leave and temporarily come back on Insane so you can get the "golden gun"). In the cemetery portion, you'll be outside and open an iron gate, there are 4 gravestones that need to be activated(shot) in a certain order MA-R-I-A and also before the last enemy is killed. After you blow up the first E-hole, look to your left for MA. Proceed forward and take out the sniper on your left, followed by the next 2 E-holes, move up to where the sniper was and you should see the R in front of you on your left. The I is actually the middle of 3 tombstones when you look towards the back right corner. The A is in the back left corner of the graveyard(still from your sniper position). Watch this video for a demonstration better than words can describe:
Memento Mori is a one-shot kill weapon on anything(Goldeneye forever). You can't zoom in with it and you can't pick up more ammo for it, so 18 shots is it. You're going to want to save some 11 shots for bosses:
3-6: 1 shot snatcher
4-1: 2 shots snatchers
4-3: 1 shot carrier
4-4: 2 shots carrier, snatcher
4-5: 1 shot swarmak
5-2: 4 shots
This leaves you some flexibility on when you want to use the remaining 7 bullets on Scions/Pouncers or give yourself some wiggle room(recommended) in the event you miss as the bosses don't exactly stand still for you.
After the cemetery you're introduced to the pouncer, which isn't all that special except for the fact that he's got an achievement tied to his disposal. If you get it by accident, great, but don't waste time as there's a really easy opportunity later on. If you're inclined to try you need to soften them up a little bit and then shoot them as they are midair pouncing onto you in their soft underbelly with the gnasher or chainsaw(much easier in my opinion). If you're doing this on anything other than casual, it could require some patience. Their tail glows when they're about to shoot their quills and don't let them jump on to you otherwise be prepared to mash .
Act 3 Chapter 3 - At the Doorstep
After your ride instead of going through the red door to the outside, go over the collapsed pillar and up the stairs to find the collectible by the trash. 31/50
After a firefight outside you'll see three flagpoles waving in the wind on the right. Go down the stairs on your left into a building(with a hanging lamp in front of it) and look for the poster on the wall. 32/50
Before you enter the museum(you'll be shot by a turret), look for a log on your left. Next to this log is some stairs, the collectible is inside. 33/50
Now welcome to arguably one of the hardest parts of the campaign on Insane+. Work your way into the museum, use the turret/boomshot to fend off the drones, but once you get down to the last one or two drones it's time to head out. The easiest way to survive the onslaught is to actually go back outside the way you came to front of the museum, before the collectible log. This allows you to handle the Juvie onslaught from one direction instead of multiple and you can funnel them into a narrow choke point.
The last collectible is once you enter the keep, you'll see a bunch of rubbish covered in sheets. In the far corner is a dead soldier under an archway. Vault over the boxes for his COG tag. 34/50
Act 3 Chapter 4 - Do Not Go Gentle
At some point you will drop down into a hole in the floor and notice a Buzzkill on the table. Turn right and walk up the stairs for a COG tag. 35/50
This presents us a golden opportunity for another situational achievement. Grab the buzzkill, give yourself some room to fire, and lay into the oncoming Juvies. If you don't get it here, come back on casual with chapter select after you've completed the game.
After you use the chain to enter the next catacombs room, you'll be in an area with swarm pods and ornate artifacts. On a table opposite the exit you'll find the collectible in between some decorative pots. 36/50
Once you enter a circular room with the king statue, be prepared for another fun time if you're playing on Insane+ as this room can also be difficult. You've got to deal with a pouncer, waves of Juvies, and another pouncer. This is where having your partner on Casual can be a big help, but feel free to use a Memento Mori shot on the second pouncer if you're trying to deal with it and Juvies at the same time.
Act 3 Chapter 5 - Elevator to Hell
In this chapter you'll be introduced to the Dropshot. Hold to aim, then to fire and again to drop the projectile. There is an achievement for 3 perfectly timed headshots, but if you don't get it during the rest of the campaign the easiest way is in a private versus match. But of course, feel free to reload it if you really want it right now.
Only one collectible here, found in the middle of the ore lift(elevator). Look for a small restroom with the collectible on the toilet. 37/50
Once you have access to the fabricator, build a fence for the entrance, build sentries on both sides of the fabricator, and hide behind it. Piece of cake.
Act 3 Chapter 6 - Origins
Important note here if you're on your Ironman run you may want to complete this entire chapter in one sitting. If you have to save there are known issues with invincible bosses.
The first collectible here is almost impossible to miss as it's huge and in your way. It's yellow and on your left. 38/50
The second collectible is after a firefight with a pouncer in a small room. After opening metal double doors you come across a weapons stockpile, it's hidden between some crates in a corner. 39/50
Shortly after this you get to enjoy some GTA driving. Don't bother stomping, just plow over as many as you can. If it doesn't pop here you've got another opportunity next chapter and rest assured you'll be back in other playthroughs.
In this act you'll fight a snatcher for the first time and with it comes another situational achievement. Snatchers will ingest downed players and slowly digest them if you don't free them in time. So after it eats someone fire away at its underbelly to free your squadmates. If you don't get this done here, you will have another opportunity in Act 4 and many many opportunities in Horde mode. If you're on Insane, this is when you use your Memento Mori.
If no matter what you do the Snatcher won't release people and you keep failing, it's a possibility you've been bugged. Check this thread for how to fix it:
Snatcher Glitch Campaign
Act 4 Chapter 1 - Get Out
The only collectible is at the beginning of the chapter, once you leave the rock area look for a big C on the wall on your right. Across from this, on your left, next to a mine cart is the collectible on the ground. 40/50
Act 4 Chapter 2 - No Detours
A little into the chapter as you're walking down the path, you'll pass a big red gear on your right and then a smaller one on your left. The COG tag is by the dead soldier on your left. 41/50
The windflare part here only needs to be completed by one person, so if you've got a friend on lower difficulty or if you're just plain bad at it have them do it.
Act 4 Chapter 3 - Knock Knock
After climbing some ladders you'll be in front of the Tollen Dam. On your left will be a control room with a switch on the second floor. The collectible is on the first floor on the ground near some blue barrels. 42/50
The carrier is a walking tank. Wait for it to open its chest to damage it(explosives work very well) but also shoot the projectiles before they launch your way. Or just use your Memento Mori and cackle maniacally.
Act 4 Chapter 4 - Powerless
The collectibles are found towards the end of the chapter. After running across the turbines you'll open a big double door and head inside. You'll see some crushed doors with a body hanging over a window on your left. Go into this room for the COG tag. 43/50
The second one is after a firefight in the gears room. It's at the end of the hallway before the red door with 13E on the wall. Turn the corner and it's tucked away behind wooden boxes. 44/50
Act 4 Chapter 5 - Storm Warning
Use the siege beast to take out the turret. Fire the shots up and right to account for the wind.
The bad news here is that the windflare portion needs to be completed by both players if you're on coop so there's no opportunity to cheese this one.
Once you're indoors after the windflare the first collectible(COG tag) is in the room on your right. 45/50
The next collectible is after you blow the generator coils. Look for sandbags on your right to vault over and find the collectible on the ground next to a dead body. 46/50
The next portion if you've got Memento Mori, you know what you need to do to collect your achievement. Otherwise you have to hit switches to open up the generators, overload the coils, and then destroy the blisters. A good hiding spot with a great vantage point is up the stairs all the way on the left. Just keep an eye for Juvies that try to join you.
Act 5 Chapter 1 - Convergence
The beginning presents you with 2 pouncers and is an ideal spot for the pouncer achievement. Make life easier on yourself and just chapter select it on casual if you haven't gotten it already.
Immediately after the versus battle firefight in the courtyard subsides, walk down the steps and look for the red brick building on your right. Walk down this alley all the way to the back for the last COG tag. 47/50
Inside the Centaur factory walk to the control room in the back right on the first floor. 48/50
Act 5 Chapter 2 - Killing Time
It's time for more Horde. Buy as many sentries as you can afford for the sides and use the turret(Casual player if available). If you've got some shots left in Memento Mori now is the time to use them all up, but save at least 4 for 2 snatchers followed by 2 carriers.
If you've been the one purchasing all the fortifications from the fabricator you have received this by now:
Spend 100,000 power in the Fabricator (across all sessions)
If you haven't, don't worry you'll get it in Horde.
The second to last collectible is found after this section after you drop down a wooden plank, run under the archway and hang a right. It's on the tool bench. 49/50
If you've held on to the Custom Lancer I mentioned earlier, you'll also pop:
Act 5 Chapter 3 - Gate Crashers
Say it with me now, WOOOOOOOOOOOOO!
As fun as this part is you're not invincible, but you do have infinite ammo. Hang back, take your time, and consistently call in air strikes with once you're able to.
Act 5 Chapter 4 - Release
The key to this part is getting your timing down by dodging left and right using , otherwise you're going to have a bad time. Shoot the tentacles, staple them down, and airstrike them shut.
Enjoy the cinematic and ooh look, the final collectible! 50/50
As well as the stackable difficulties:
And if you played on co-op:
After you've unlocked Insane, give Inconceivable a go:
As mentioned earlier a coop run for this is okay as long as you complete a chapter solo, so load up an Inconceivable game on 3-1:
Now that you're familiar with the campaign give Hardcore Ironman a shot with a friend:
Complete all Campaign Acts on Ironman (Hardcore, Insane, or Inconceivable difficulty)
Legends of Sera
Complete all Campaign Acts on Ironman in Co-op on Hardcore or higher difficulty
And ensure one of your runs you didn't kill anyone with a Lancer or Gnasher:
Pick Me Up
Complete Campaign on Hardcore or higher without ever killing an enemy with a Lancer or Gnasher
And the really stupid free gamerscore update: