When Gears of War one burst into the scene 5 years ago chainsaws revving, it evolved the the TPS genre adding new elements such as cover, forcing the player to take a more tactical approach to the bombardment of set pieces, it encouraged co-operative gameplay, a mini-game that rewards/punishes the player in the form of active-reloads. Epic promised a "Bigger, Better and more Badass" game for the sequel and delivered in style. Set pieces were bigger in scope, bosses from the previous game were thrown at the players regularly and Epic also showcased what would be possible once the the UE 4 rolls around with some sequences having hundreds of enemies on screen. Though in the pursuit of thrills, the already paper thin story took a major hit. But then again this is a game about men pumped full of steroid killing enemies that crawl out from "E-Holes".
So where do you go from there?
Gears of War 3 is all about closure. While it answers most of the questions set by the previous games, leaving a few thing unresolved (Why does the locust queen look so human?!) it doesn't leave the player wondering what's next. It is a game that is built to last with a surprisingly coherent story and quite emotional at time, has a myriad of multiplayer options where co-op is king adding seemingly endless replay value.
This Is Sera!
Unlike previous games, Gears 3 sometimes shifts focus to different characters from the series, showing us their state of mind and even letting you play as Cole in a sequence. Dom's continuing mental anguish for the loss of his wife, Marcus dreaming about his father in a amazing prologue or the Cole "Train" going through a midlife crisis, reminiscing on past glories.
Epic also ups the amount of in-game chatter to further flesh out the character, with some really witty one-liners or jokes.
The campaign opens up 18 months after the sinking of Jacinto in which time the COG has been disbanded, the government fallen and humans scattered, some on the ship sovereign while the others brave the mainland. The lambents from Gears of War 2 have evolved and now the humans are in a two way battle against the "down but not out" locust and the wild infected lambents while forced to scavenge and trade with other survivors. The forces are scattered and scrappy and theres a feel of a "lost" world prevalent throughout the campaign.
Gears of war 3 introduces new characters from other media like books and comics.
The campaign is divided into five acts which can be tackled in a variety of ways offering both, the standard solo and co-op options where for the first time upto 4 players can bunch up to wreck havoc. And then there's the new arcade mode that turns on scoring, giving you points for kills, assists and so on and so forth. There is a separate leaderboard for it where the more competitive players can strive for the glory of high scores. Gears of War 3 also features mutators not unlike the skulls from the Halo series that add a twist to the gameplay. In Gears they are divided into 3 categories, hard, easy and fun, each changing the game as their name implies. Hard mutators make it more difficult and give you extra experience points, like one that requires you to active reload every single time. Others make it easier and reduce the XP you'll earn, like one that gives you infinite ammo. Fun mutators are just there for making the game a bit more ridiculous like adding a sitcom style laugh track to the game. The downside to the mutators is that you will have to invest a significant amount of time to unlock them all for use.
Fortunately, you can spend all that time in the most robust set of multiplayer options in the series till date. This includes the games verses multiplayer mode which offers the same mode found in the previous game like King of the Hill, Wingman, Warzone, etc or go into a straight up TDM. TDM has a respawn counter, giving each team 15 respawns making each kill seem significant.
The game also comes with a casual option for novice players giving them a feel of the multiplayer action, but is locked out when you reach a specific skill level or is not available from the start if you have reached a certain level in the previous games.
Hang them up high.
The multiplayer gameplay hasn't been altered in a significant way in any respect so veterans of the series will be shotgun rolling in no time blowing up enemies with the Gears arsenal.
Ideally you'll get matched up with players who are at or around your skill level, but since match making in Gears 3 is region specific, it makes it harder to find games, and more often than not you will be set up against bots, and while the game will eventually fill up with more players, it is still no excuse for bot battles. Epic has answered most of the problems that plagued Gears 2 but match making still needs improvement, they need to follow the example of games such as Halo, Battlefield, etc. Competitive multiplayer in Gears is well-designed. exciting and just plain fun, but playing it against pro's is frustrating, like "hair tearing, ground pounding" frustrating. This of course is more my fault than than the games but for people in a similar conundrum, there is Horde 2.0.
Gears of War 2 first popularized co-op survival with the horde mode with many of the heavy hitters of the gaming world following suit, churning out their own takes on the popular mode.
Horde returns in Gears 3 with Horde 2.0.
Its still about five people working together, taking on waves of increasingly difficult AI on different multiplayer maps. But Epic mixed up the formula by adding a tower defense element .
It has a cash system where you earn money for kills, assists, execution, etc which in turn is used to buy and upgrade barriers, turrets,decoys, or to buy more ammo or heavy weapons like the one-shot. Every tenth wave a boss will show up to ruin your day. The bosses are random and you will be facing anything from reavers to giant-a*s brumaks! All the new improvements help make the already amazing horde mode even better, guaranteeing a ton of fun.
Burn the bitch!
Gears 3 also introduces a new mode called Beast which turn the tables where you play as the locust attempting to eradicate the humans. In some ways its like the inverse of horde.
Unlike horde, here the money is not used to fortify but to use different classes of locust. You can be anything from the insanely fun ticker to the useless butcher to the indestructible berserker. Each class is useful for specific purposes, tickers are the best at breaking through the barriers(non electric) and other obstacles that slow down your team, while berserkers take a long while to unlock, are really useful during the last few waves especially on higher difficulties.Each of the 12 waves start with a 60-second timer, requiring your team to work in tandem to complete a wave, though everything you attack/destroy/kill adds a second or two to your timer.Its a fast, fun game mode that feels refreshingly different in a game that sticks stubbornly to a tried and tested formula that it perfected in the last four years.
Graphically, Gears of War 3 is a step up from the previous game. The campaign takes place across a vareity of different locations from beaches, to deserts and of course tunnels. Each area is lovingly designed with rich detailing. There is some really great art work that works for the game, helping further the sense of "doomed beauty".
There are some great weather effects and the new lighting engine really helps out the visuals and sometimes it looks phenomenal.
You will see really great explosions especially when the lambents explode, and the game runs buttery smooth throughout regardless of the on screen insanity. Even the texture pop-up issue that has plagued the UE3 since its conception is noticeably missing.
In all, this is a beautiful game, possibly the best on the Xbox 360.
Gears of War 3 manages to close of the trilogy in a satisfying way albeit with a few unanswered questions here and there weaves a tale that at times defies regular Gears testosterone fueled narrative and manages to be touchy. When the next game in the series comes out (it will be crazy to think otherwise) it will be a shift in terms of the story as Delta squad have finally found some peace and closure.
If this was to be the final game in the series (yea right) it pretty much covers all bases and creates a game with a plethora of options which will have players hooked for a long time to come.
Developer: Epic Games
Genre: Third-person Shooter
Age Rating: 18+
Platforms: Xbox 360
Edited by ScrewyAurum, 13 October 2011 - 12:22 PM.