Gears of War 3 Review: A Perfect End To A Fantastic Trilogy

Posted: September 18, 2011 in Now Playing (Video Game Reviews)
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Pros:
Amazing Story
Multiplayer In A Word Is…Awesome
Horde 2.0 Is Addictive And Fun
Tougher AI Is A Huge Plus

Cons:
Too Bad The Story Has To End

Destroyed Beauty. Hope Runs Deep. Brothers To The End. These were words to describe what would be the epic conclusion to an amazing trilogy. Since 2006, Gears of War has played a huge part in my modern gaming life. The epic story of the humans of Sera fighting for their very survival against an enemy from below is definitely something of a big budget Hollywood movie except we get to play it on our Xbox 360. Now in 2011 we come to this moment. What do the humans do? What about the Locust? Does Carmine(s) live or die? More importantly, just how does the story end?

It’s been eighteen months since the fall of Jacinto, the last human city. The COG has fallen apart, the Locust keep coming, and now the Lambent have made things worse on Sera. The humans now must make their last stand or perish forever. The one thing that has stayed constant throughout this time is Delta Squad. Marcus Fenix still leads his heroic badass team, but this time you can tell that the ravages of war is getting the best of them. Dom’s grown some facial hair and yet still struggles over the loss of his wife. Cole has got some issues which you’ll see play out. Even Marcus, as tough as he is, has a moment when he finds out that his father lives. Now I’m not going to spoil the rest of the game for you. You’ll just have to play the game to find out what happens next.

For anyone that has played a Gears of War game in the past, the gameplay should come as no surprise. Everything is still pretty much the same as you take cover and fire at the enemy and throw in the occasional melee attack just to show off. Locust and Lambent alike will try their best to make your life miserable as you find yourself in a gunfight at every turn with some cutscenes in between to mix things up. Throw in an occasional boss fight and what you have is an epic experience that should not be missed. Each of the characters also throw in their typical one liners during the action, because we all know that every badass macho game needs lines like “Shit Yeah!” or telling enemies to “Fuck Off!” I also want to mention the enemy AI. Now is it me or does Gears of War 3’s AI much better than it has been in the last two games? I was really impressed as the Locust and Lambent are giving me more of a fight then ever before.

Since it’s inception, the Gears of War franchise has been known for it’s awesome weapons. From the trademark Lancer to the almighty Hammer of Dawn, no game rains down death more impressively than this franchise. I always loved using my Lancer and run up to a Locust and rev up my chainsaw for the cool bloody death animation. That really gets me going. Now with Gears of War 3 there are some new weapons added to the mix. The Retro Lancer may have an old school name, but an assault rifle with a bayonet does make things quite interesting especially in the melee department. You’ll also find a sawed-off shotgun for some close range kills with tons of blood and gore. Those are some nice hardware, but all pale in comparison to the awe inspiring Silverback. This kick ass mech can deal out some massive damage while sacrificing some speed, but you can expect some Locust running in fear. Plus it also looks really cool.

The one thing that really impresses me with the Gears of War series as a whole is the impressive looking graphics. From the big hulking characters to the impressive looking backgrounds and environments, Gears of War 3’s art style trumps both Gears 1 and 2 combined. Yes, I said it! A lot of work was really put in to make sure that Gears of War is more than just a game…it’s like a work of art. In a way, the graphical look can tell a story by itself. This is also done well in Gears of War 3. Sometimes while I’ve been playing the game I can’t help but notice the awesome visuals only to have some red show up on the screen and before you know it I was dead. No more staring at the pretty pictures. Lesson learned.

Just like Gears 1 and 2, Co-op multiplayer has returned except this time in the campaign up to three people can join you for all the fun on Xbox Live. Remember the theme “Brothers To The End.” Everything works with drop in/drop out format just like most other games. If there’s one thing that I like about co-op, it’s the fact that I’m never alone playing a great game. Having my online friends join me for some Locust and Lambent killing leads to good times and also so competitive banter. Gears 3 also includes an arcade scoring mode similar to the Halo games which brings both co-op and competitive play into the mix. Hold on a second! Did I just mention Halo in a Gears of War review? Do the Locust live in the Hollow? OK, I know mentioning Halo is blasphemous here. I just wanted to stress a point. The Locust do live in the Hollow.

Also returning from Gears 2 is the infamous Horde Mode. A game mode that every other title has copied to some extent…even Halo (there I go again with the Halo comment). Now dubbed “Horde 2.0” a new element has been added. Tower defense. As you slay countless amounts of enemies you’ll gain money that you can use to buy items to help you against the Locust horde. Also added in is the occasional boss battle which raises the challenge aspect. I’ll be honest with you guys. When I play multiplayer I’m more of a co-op type then competitive, and Horde was where I spent most of my time. In Horde 2.0 I had a blast as I wasted Locust and worked on my defenses. A good tip to all you Horde players out there is make sure you have good teammates along with effective communication. I also want to mention that you can also turn the tide of the war and play as the Locust and take out the COG as well in Beast Mode.

Competitive Multiplayer has been Gears of War’s biggest and most fun feature. Gears 2 did have a huge setback in that department which led to multiple title updates. Good news this year is that Gears 3 decided that a beta was needed and now the multiplayer has been perfected. All of your favorite game modes including Warzone, Execution, Meatflag, and more return once again because they’re just fun to play. Also added is a Team Deathmatch mode which gives a team 20 lives to share together. Once there used up it becomes a last man standing type of match just like Warzone and Execution. Overall, the multiplayer is awesome just like it was in the previous games and jamming with friends chainsawing, grenade tagging, and the occasional sniping makes the expereince even better. Finally, each game I played was mostly lag free which is huge plus in my book as well.

With it’s epic story and fantastic multiplayer, Gears of War 3 ends the trilogy with a bang. The really sad part is the feeling that after playing the game for ten hours during the camapign was that the end was inevitably coming. There was a tear in my eye as I witnessed the end of an amazing story that I was attatched to for five long years. The big question for me was wondering if this was really the end. At one time we thought we finished the fight with Halo (damn there’s that Halo mention again) only for Microsoft to announce Halo 4 in 2012. While this storyline ends, maybe Epic Games can start a new storyline with the early days of the war before Marcus Fenix and Delta Squad. Just making a suggestion.

Gears of War 3 is the perfect ending to a fantastic trilogy. There’s plenty of hardcore action, blood, gore, and drama in a campaign that will keep you on your toes for many hours. Most of all, it’s a ton of fun. Your definitely going to want to play the game over and over again for more than just collectibles and achievements. The multiplayer is addictive as ever and will keep both amatuers and pros busy for a long time especially with plenty of other multiplayer games on the horizon. I don’t think that I have to mention that this game is a must buy. On a final note, I want to thank Cliff Bleszinski and the crew at Epic Games for making an exceptional franchise that will live on as a classic for many years to come. Thank you.

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Comments
  1. kapelaxfactor says:

    Yeah! hell yah!

  2. ps vita says:

    Just finished this….definitely a good end to the trilogy…can’t wait to see where the series goes from here. A must buy for any gears of war fan.

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