The Gears of War 2 collectibles locations are bound to be a hot commodity for the new Xbox 360 shooter. In the original Gears of War, Epic made “cog tags” the only collectible items, but Gears of War 2 takes a different tack with its hidden gems. No longer are there just cog tags to locate and collect; Gears of War 2 collectibles span a full range of universe-related goodies, from newspaper clippings and propaganda pieces to Locust intelligence files, all of which you gather and put into your digital War Journal.
Gears of War 2 will arguably see most of its play time on Xbox Live, not the single-player campaign, but for those of us who crave single-player experiences, the collectibles locations are pure gold. Sharing the cog tag locations in the original Gears of War became a hobby of sorts with our Friends List, but with Gears of War 2, we wanted to expand our Friends List to include all of you, our dear readers.
With that in mind, we have assembled the full list of all the collectibles in this Gears of War 2 collectible items walkthrough. We’ve also spelled out precisely what each Gears of War 2 collectible is, just so you know what you’re looking for. After all, these collectibles aren’t just cog tags anymore, so what you may think is simply decorative environmental garbage may actually end up being one of the 41 collectible items required to give you the Completionist Achievement. Oh, and just for the record, this article contains a few spoilers, so read at your own risk. (If you just want to know which items are in which chapters, you can check out our abbreviated chapter-by-chapter breakdown here.)
You know right away in Gears of War 2 that the collectibles are a bit different this time around, both because they’re not sprinkled around the levels as often and because hardly any of them are cog tags. Sure, there are still a few cog tags in Gears of War 2; it’s just that you can pretty much count the number of them on one hand. Things start off in Training, which you won’t want to skip because it contains two collectible items. The first appears relatively early on, at the end of the alley, where you’ll find an Eagle Newspaper lying on the ground. The second collectible appears near the end of the level, and you might actually miss it if you run straight for the exit after climbing down the ladder. Instead, turn to the right after descending the ladder and head for the farthest “cubby hole” at the end of the hall. There on the ground, in a very dark area and positioned in a way that makes it hard to see, is an Ambulance Driver’s Log. That’s right: another Gears of War 2 collectible that’s not a cog tag. Sense a theme here? You’d better get used to it.
The next level, technically Chapter 2, is huge by comparison. With that increased size in the hospital come a whopping five collectibles. The first appears to the far left-hand side of the room in which you have your third Locust fight. The level begins with you on the second floor of a building. After you make your way down, battling your way to the ground floor, there’s a little closet of a room on the left-hand side that contains a green Doctor’s Journal on the floor. The next collectible comes about two rooms later, in the middle of what seems like a waiting room. In the center of the room is a trashed-out desk area with an opening on one side. Lying on the floor amid all the garbage is a red-and-white Jacinto Medical Center File.
Several more Horde battles transpire before you find the next collectible item in the game — COG Letterhead — lying on the desk in a small room adjacent to the bombed-out cafeteria. Fortunately, the next collectible item is much closer in proximity, on the second floor of the lobby. What is it? A COG Proclamation, which looks like a rusty-brown book. This one is a bit easier to find since it’s close to an ammunition supply (which you’ll definitely be looking for), but once again, it’s still hidden near some trash strewn across the ground. At this point, it sure seems like trash piles translate to Gears of War 2 collectibles, doesn’t it? The final collectible in this level is provides your first taste of a COG tag in Gears of War 2. Located outside the hospital just as you exit the door and to the right, you’ll find the COG Tags of Private Dylan Murphy. Who was Pvt. Murphy? No idea, but now you’ve got his tags, so do you really care?
Although the next mission sees you riding on a vehicle most of the time, that doesn’t mean it’s devoid of collectibles. In fact, one of them, a Grindlift Spec Sheet, is pasted right there on the vehicle behind you in what’s got to be just about the dumbest “hiding place” known to gaming. At the end of the level, however, Epic makes up for their generosity, hiding an Ammo Requisition Form near the ammunition to the left of the vehicle as you defend the driver. True, it’s near ammo, but unless you’re really looking for it, it’s hard to spot this small piece of white paper near the tipped-over vehicle.
Your next mission, “The Big Push,” takes a break from collectibles entirely, so relax and blast some Locust in ease. The next level, though, includes four of them, and amazingly, one of them is just the second batch of COG tags in all of Gears of War 2. The first two collectibles in this level come at you pretty fast: the Jacinto Sentinel Newspaper upstairs on the floor in the first building (again, what’s with the paper/garbage on the floor?), and a Memorial Inscription on the wall of the war memorial area (yes, you’ll have to go up and read the memorial wall, sort of like you would if you were really there in person and interested in fallen soldiers’ names). Directly across from the Memorial Inscription, but about 500 feet ahead, is a Driver’s Note from Landown Delivery. To get this collectible item, you’ll have to head for the back of the Imulsion station, where it’s lying on the floor near the doorway. As you leave that building and pass the fueling station, you’ll go through a dark tunnel that eventually gets blocked by some cars. But before you leave the tunnel, head into a small room on the left, where you’ll find the game’s second set of COG Tags and your final collectible item in this mission (and, for that matter, in this chapter. The next one, an arena of sorts, has no collectibles at all).
OK, so now we’re underground, slinking around among the Locust. Yep, we took the battle to the Horde. Not surprisingly, there are fewer Gears of War 2 collectibles underground; I mean, would you really expect to see a newspaper hanging down here? Didn’t think so. However, that doesn’t mean there aren’t any here, as you’ll find some unique collectibles and, yes, even some COG tags from your fellow soldiers.
Your first chapter underground doesn’t include any COG tags or collectibles, so by all means, just focus on blasting the Horde. The second chapter, though, which involves much less wandering than the one preceding it, includes two, both of which are pretty well hidden. The first one appears soon after entering the level, just after the second worm creature. To the left of that worm and hidden behind some vines in a small room is the Grindlift Pilot’s Journal. It’s hidden among some rocks, but if you look for the blue-glowing Grindlift, you’ll have an easier time spotting it. You’ll encounter plenty of Locust before finding your next collectible, because it’s located close to the end of the level. After battling through a nasty chamber with Drones, Reavers and two Troika (yes, you’ll know the room when you come to it), head behind the Troika on the platform, where you’ll find a Kantus Scroll. This one’s actually pretty easy to spot, but since you may be a bit frantic after the big battle, it can be an easy one to miss.
Almost like a reward, Epic has populated the next mission, “Disturbing Revelation,” with just one collectible, and it’s pretty much impossible to miss. After battling through the first wave of Locust, a stone door will open and allow you to pass through to the next hallway. Immediately to the right of the door, just on the other side, is the next Gears of War 2 collectible: a Locust Emblem. This one’s pretty cool, because it basically resembles a Locust COG tag. You know, if Locust Horde wore those sort of things….
The next mission, “Sinking Feeling,” has two collectibles, including one set of COG tags, so keep your eyes peeled. The first one, a dingy piece of paper that’s really an Ilima Help Wanted Ad, is hidden up on the path/platform to the right of the Bloodmounts. You’ll know it’s nearby when you see the Pistol. The second collectible item, a set of COG Tags, is located near a graffiti-covered wall just after “Cole Train” saves you. They’re lying on the ground in plain sight, but since the floor is a mottled gray color, it’s easy to miss if you’re busy spinning the camera around.
The collectibles are pretty spaced out in the next two levels, which is nice considering the intensity of the enemies you’re fighting. In “Captivity,” the next chapter, you’ll only find one collectible, the Ilima City Journal, which is located in a rock outcropping just after you spring Baird from the Locust jail. Why you’d spring this prick is beyond me, but if he gives you access to this collectible and takes a few bullets for you, so be it. This actually takes place pretty early in the level, so again, once you find this collectible’s location, focus on the enemies and wait for the next mission to resume your collectible/treasure hunting.
However, don’t wait too long in the next mission, because if you do, you’ll miss its first collectible item: Car Gold Magazine. Lying on the ground (of course), this Gears of War 2 collectible is directly to the left of your location as the mission opens, so don’t just rush head-long into battle. Spin the camera to the left and pick this rag up, then go about your blast-happy ways. You’ll pass four more groups of enemies before you get to the next item, an ever-elusive set of COG Tags — and these ones are really elusive. After you talk with Carmine, an avalanche of rocks will fall behind you, forcing you to run for your life Indiana Jones-style. However, as you near the end of your run, you’ll find a ramp going up to safety. Immediately before this ramp, look on the ground to the right and you’ll find the COG Tags. It’s worth risking Marcus Fenix’s life to get them, because once you die, you’ll respawn at the nearest checkpoint and have these tags in your War Journal. Sure, that may sound silly, but for the big Achievement Whores out there among us, this is a must-have item and worth the sacrifice. Fenix would be proud.
OK, take a breather. After that last mission, you’ve just completed Act 2. Seriously, go wipe off your hands, grab a soda and maybe a bite of popcorn. Just don’t dive into the Chee-Tos; those leave a nasty orange gunk on the Xbox 360 controller.
The first chapter of Act 3 contains no Gears of War 2 collectibles. The second mission, however, contains three, all of which are hidden in itty bitty closets of rooms with no real purpose other than to give Epic a nook and cranny to hide stuff. The first collectible is hidden in the first small room to your right after beginning the mission. There, wedged on the floor between a file cabinet and a desk, is a New Hope Computer Printout. You’ll end up twisting and turning a bit through the building before finding your next collectible, a New Hope Memo, located in the back right-hand corner a room adjacent to the main hallway. If you’ve found the room with the flamethrower, you’ve gone too far; the collectible is located in the room right before that.
The final collectible in this level is located near the room in which you encounter some Wretches and some turrets. After letting the turrets kill the Wretches, you’ll want to go down and turn the turrets off. Behind that switch is a tiny room with a red-and-brown piece of paper on the ground, the New Hope Medical File. Congratulations, you just found the collectible. At least this one doesn’t really look like the rest of the papers on the ground nearby.
The third mission in Act 3, “Rude Awakening,” features two collectible items for interment in the War Journal. This level starts out in a chamber-filled facility that you fortunately don’t have to memorize to find the collectibles. That’s because the first item, a New Hope Journal, is in a small building to the right immediately after you exit the facility. The temptation is to run toward the train upon exiting, but avoid that Pavlov’s-dog reaction and instead turn toward the right, where the back room of a small building contains the journal in the back left corner.
After exiting the train, you’ll find yourself fighting through a garage of sorts. Once you pass the garage and before you board the last train, turn around and head for the building at the rear of the train yard, which “contains” your next collectible: Captivity Marks. We put “contains” in quotes, because this collectible really, truly looks like wall decorations — the numbers an inmate might scratch onto a wall. However, those numbers are actually the next collectible item, so make sure you “grab” them. This is one of the more obscure Gears of War 2 collectibles in the entire game.
The next level is vehicle-based, so enjoy the ride and head for “Displacement,” the next mission that includes some collectible items. This level is pretty linear, so finding the collectible item isn’t all that challenging. As you enter the ruins, take out the waves of Locust that come your way, then head for the right-hand side of the ruins. On the right is a short flight of stairs, and at the top of those stairs lies a gray Stranded’s Journal. Easy peasy, there’s your collectible for the level, and in fact, there’s your last collectible for Act 3.
There’s just one collectible in this first mission, and it’s darn near on top of the level’s exit. In other words, when you see the last objective, don’t bum-rush it. The objective in this mission is to access the terminal to look for Dom’s beloved Maria. Rather than tap the end terminal, though, walk over to the other terminal across from it and tap it instead. This will give you the mission’s only goodie: the Locust Terminal. Nice to see a creative naming scheme, huh?
The next level marks a return to Epic hiding collectible items in Gears of War 2 in dark, dank corners. Fortunately, after the last level’s experience, you’ll be in tune to Locust terminals and will be right at home finding this mission’s collectible, a Locust Prisoner’s Journal. This journal is located in a small alcove to the left of the level’s second terminal; make sure you pick it up before hitting the terminal’s buttons.
“Hornet’s Nest” is the next mission, and not only does it have absolutely gorgeous architecture, but it’s got two collectibles to add to your War Journal. The first item, the Locust Jailer Document, is located in a hallway near the level’s beginning. After blasting past a wave of Locust, walk down the stairs and turn immediately right. Follow this narrow hallway until you’re forced to turn left, where you’ll see this tattered piece of parchment on the ground near a puzzle piece-looking pattern in the ground.
A while later you’ll encounter two massive Grinders with Mulcher weapons. Believe us when we say you’ll know these big creatures when you see them. After defeating the two beasties, you’ll need to pay close attention to these directions: the room after the Grinders has two closing doors. As soon as you enter this chamber, roadie run up the steps and across the room, where (if you’re fast enough) you’ll be able to squeak inside the second closing door before it shuts. At the back of the room you’re now in — behind a Troika that you’ll want to grab to use in the next room — lies a Human Finger Necklace. That’s your collectible.
The next chapter’s secret items aren’t exactly hidden, but one of the two is definitely not your everyday collectible. That would be the first one, a Locust Calendar. After the first massive chamber, and after the spiral staircase, you’ll enter a massive room. Toward the left of your entrance location is what looks like a pedestal with candles around its top. This funky pedestal is what you need to grab. From there, it’s off on another series of staircases and rooms, one of which you’ll need to activate a bridge. This bridge will span the entire room, and after you run across it, turn left and walk all the way to the end of the hall, where you’ll find the next collectible: Locust Defensive Plans. After snagging this collectible, you’ll activate another lever that makes some stairs appear and connects to the ground level. If you’ve pulled this lever and not yet gotten the Plans, you’d best look around the ground before moving on.
“The Best-Laid Plans” is the next mission, and its two collectibles are both obscure and hard to find among the patterned ground. So, rather than look for the items specifically, look for a couple of landmarks instead. The first landmark you’ll want to look for is the Locust Lift. Before you get on the lift, walk around the perimeter of the palace until you see small alcove on the right just past the lift. Inside this little area, near a set of three or four shallow stairs, is a Locust Invasion Map. The next collectible, though, is flat-out weird. To find it, take note of where you team back up with your squad after defeating the Grinders. To the right, where the Grinder was shooting, is a staircase. Climb that right-hand staircase and walk down the hall, and you’ll see a pattern on the floor that looks like a bisected half-moon (almost like a reel-to-reel film reel cut in half). If you investigate the pattern, you’ll find the Trinity of Worms collectible. Who knew looking at the floor could be so rewarding?
At this point, it’s fair to assume you’re thinking Epic has completely lost it. After all, the now collectibles amount to patterns in the floor?! Fret not! The next mission’s lone collectible, Locust Tablets, can be found by simply turning to the left as you enter the room and looking on the ground between the second and third columns. If you’re forced to choose a path before getting this item, you’ve missed it. Seriously, it’s right at the beginning of the level.
The first mission of Act Five in Gears of War 2 doesn’t have any collectibles, but at this point in the game you’ve only got five left to collect, so consider yourself in the home stretch. The second chapter, however, has two collectibles and a whole mess of big-scale action. After your air support eliminates the remaining Locust from your first battle, head down a set of stairs to your right and head for the small looped platform down below. On this patio lies the COG Recon Report, a small item with a blu-glowing screen, almost like a Gears of War-ified PDA. This is your first collectible. The second collectible is near the end of the level, which culminates with a fight against two Brumaks. Yes, two Brumaks. During this battle, look down to the right of the Longshot (sniper rifle) onto a lower platform, where you’ll see a pair of COG Tags. Yep, those COG tags are your last collectible for this level.
As if the increasing number of enemies at this point weren’t indication enough, the architecture, level design and pacing clearly show that you’re nearing the end of the game. But try to keep your cool, because there are only three collectibles left in Gears of War 2, and if you miss one of them, you’ll be kicking yourself later. In this next mission, “Free Parking,” you’ll find yourself doing battle with wave after wave of Locust. After one particularly brutal battle in a plaza against a Grinder Boomer, you can easily lose track of your collectible-hunting goals. But just behind the wall to the Grinder’s right you’ll find the first collectible in this mission, a Jacinto Sentinel Newspaper. This essentially resembles a newspaper, and since it’s covered by some fall leaves, it marks Epic’s return to “garbage as a collectible” hiding strategy. Fortunately, the next collectible isn’t nearly as hidden. Shortly after you get the Hammer of Dawn, you’ll walk through a street strewn with debris and lined by bombed-out buildings. On the left side of the street is a particularly busted-up building with a pillar of some sort lying on the ground. You can find the COG Tags — the game’s last set of them, by the way — near that smoldering husk of a building.
The 41st and final Gears of War 2 collectible can be found in “Tenuous Footing,” the second-to-last level. After defeating a few waves of Drones who are climbing up the building toward you, the floor will drop out and you’ll careen down to the ground. After the building collapses and before you leave the room, look in the corner behind the desk and you’ll find the last collectible, another copy of the Stranded’s Journal.
So, there you have it, an exhaustive Gears of War 2 collectible items walkthrough. No, we didn’t give away exact navigation, nor did we talk about any plot points or “big time” spoilers. But, we provided what we hope is a good indication of where you can find Epic’s new vision for in-game collectibles. Some of them are insanely obscure, and some of them seem darn near impossible to find (the closing door one, for instance), but with any luck, this walkthrough has provided not only a guide for your own treasure hunts, but a few ways for you to drop some Gears of War 2 knowledge on the people on your Friends List.