- This article refers to the Hammerburst of Gears of War 2, Gears of War 3, Gears of War 4, and Gears 5. For the Hammerburst in Gears of War, see Hammerburst Assault Rifle.
The Hammerburst II was the Locust standard-issue, high-powered assault rifle. It is often referred to as the Locust counterpart to the COG Lancer Assault Rifle. The Hammerburst II possessed an automatic and a semi-automatic fire mode.
The Hammerburst II is a result of a number of modifications made on the Hammerburst Assault Rifle, including a longer barrel with a larger bore for higher caliber rounds, a completely reworked action for receiving and ejecting cartridges, and a rudimentary iron sight on top of the receiver.
The Locust used the Hammerburst II extensively. Although lower-ranking soldiers such as Drones often equipped themselves with the Hammerburst II, it was known that some higher-ranking Locust such as the Theron Guards and Palace Guards used it as well. During the Lambent Pandemic, it was often carried by Lambent Drones and Drudges. It also fell into the hands of the Stranded and even COG Gears as parts for the complicated Lancer were becoming scarce.
Every pull of the trigger fires multiple rounds, although the rounds come out so fast that each burst acts as if it is a single round in game-play, making the weapon technically burst-fire, but functionally, semiautomatic. In Gears of War 2, the tick marks in the ammunition counter go down by two for every pull of the trigger, and in the Gears 3 beta the true, burst-firing nature of the weapon is accentuated further due to multiple spent shell casings falling out for every trigger pull. Strangely, this feature is missing the retail release of Gears 3, once more drawing attention to the ambiguity of whether the weapon is burst fire or semi-automatic. In Gears of War 4, the weapon fires in three-round bursts. However, in Gears 5, it functions just like the original Hammerburst, firing in six-round bursts.
Behind the scenes
On the November 6, 2008 midnight release of Gears of War 2, Gamestop, Game Crazy, and other retailers hosting the midnight launch participated in a special promotion event called "Midnight Mayhem". People who attended the "Midnight Mayhem" event received an Xbox LIVE Marketplace code to unlock a Golden Hammerburst. The code was only available to people who attended the Gears of War 2 midnight launch. The codes are similar to Xbox Live trial codes, and are unique in that once it is used, the code cannot be used again to prevent sharing.
The Golden Hammerburst, along with the Golden Lancer in Gears of War 3 can be obtained by playing the game in the first week of its release, or it can be unlocked through the Veteran Gear achievement (which also unlocks all the Golden Weapons).
Golden Hammerburst Code Bugs
After the November 6, 2008 midnight launch for Gears of War 2, there were reports of players who were not able to successfully register the code and download the Golden Hammerburst. The bug has been addressed; to fix the problem:
- Log on and go to the Xbox 360 dashboard
- Go to the Xbox LIVE Marketplace
- Go to the Account Management menu and select Download History
- If the code is valid, re-download the Golden Hammerburst downloadable content
Gears of War 3
In the Gears of War 3 Beta you could unlock the Urban, Flaming and Chrome Hammerburst weapon skins. The Chrome Hammerburst was available when you first loaded up the beta; if you had the Gears of War 2 "Rookie Gear" Achievement it was already available. The Urban Hammerburst was unlocked by playing 15 matches in Team Deathmatch and the Flaming Hammerburst was unlocked by playing in the first week of the beta. Players with the Veteran Gear achievement from Gears of War 2 will also unlock the Golden Hammerburst. If you play Gears of War 3 the week it comes out, the Golden Hammerburst and Lancer will be unlocked. There is also an Infected Omen pack only unlocked by buying the Epic Edition of Gears of War 3, the Gears of War 3 Console, or the Gears of War 3 Controller.
In Gears of War 3, the Hammerburst's effectiveness at long range outstrips both other starting weapons due to a high stopping power, much lower recoil and a unique "aim down sight" option which switches the view to first-person when the right analog stick is pressed while aiming. With a quick trigger finger, the Hammerburst can down an enemy at long range within 2 seconds.
Somewhat off-setting these modifications, however, is a smaller magazine size and a somewhat deceptive perfect and active reloads. Being unable to finish off a downed enemy at long range due to these flaws can often lead to the kill being stolen by another player, or even the downed enemy getting back up. For this reason, some players favor the Mk. 2 Lancer at medium range due to the massive clip size, and the Retro Lancer is a much more effective close range weapon than both the Mark 2 and the Hammerburst II. Nevertheless, in practical terms, the Hammerburst II is better than both Lancer variants in long range encounters for the purpose of downing enemies.
Also, since the beta ended, the Hammerburst has received some modifications. The weapon no longer receives a multiplier for headshots. The weapon takes 8 shots to down un-actived, and 7 with a perfect reload. The weapon still retains its unprecedented accuracy, and is much more consistent at all ranges than any of the other weapons. If playing Horde 2.0 or Arcade with the Super Reload Mutator on, a single shot to the head will be a headshot on Insane to enemies with exposed heads.
In the early promotional pictures for Gears of War 3, and the Ashes to Ashes trailer, the Hammerburst IIs shown with Locust soldiers are slightly different; the traditional rear iron-sight had been replaced with a metal encased glass eye-piece, with metal panels either side and tube running down from the left of it. The front sights were also changed, in Gears 3 they have forked forward sights, but on the early models they were metal rings with another glass panel in the middle. These didn't end up in the actual game, the rear sight from Gears 2 was made larger, and the front sight was changed into a forked one as said above.
Gears of War 4
In Gears of War 4, the Hammerburst returns, this time as a three-round burst weapon with high accuracy. It no longer possesses the "aim down sight" feature of the Gears 3 version, instead acting as a sort of mid-long-range battle rifle, while the semi-auto marksman niche was filled by the Markza Mk1.
Initially, the Hammerburst was a starting primary weapon alongside the Lancer, Gnasher, and Enforcer, though this was eventually changed to a pickup weapon as players found the Hammerburst too versatile and effective for the Lancer and Enforcer to compete.
The Hammerburst II returns once again in Gears 5, looking similar to its previous incarnations, but playing much more like the original Hammerburst from Gears of War; it's six round burst feature returns, but is now accompanied by significantly more spread than in previous games, and a smaller magazine than in the original.
It excels at similar ranges to the Lancer, though it is not available as a spawning weapon and rarely shows up as a pickup weapon.
It is available as a spawning weapon when playing as Kait in the Arcade playlist.
- In Gears of War: Judgment, the Hammerburst II has been slightly modified. Its automatic function has been removed, it has higher recoil and is incapable of headshots. Its iron sight has also been removed, replaced by a third-person zoom similar to Gears of War 2. It is the original Hammerburst Assault Rifle from Gears of War, but is cosmetically similar to that of the Hammerburst II.
- In the Gears of War 4 Multiplayer Beta, the Hammerburst II had a six-round burst fire mode as opposed to the final game's three-round burst. However, it was less effective than the Lancer at long range.