Published on September 19th, 2011 | by Kyle Spencer, Editor
Gears of War 3 Review
Platform: Xbox 360
Developer: Epic Games
Release Date: Sept. 20, 2011
The day has finally arrived where we now hold the conclusion of one of the most coveted Xbox franchises in our hands. Epic Games has built the franchise on being a hardcore third-person shooter with an impressive and ground-breaking cover system. Since 2006 we have seen many games try to imitate the cover based system that Gears of War was built on, but to no avail. 2011 is the time for Microsoft and Epic Game to ship the epic conclusion to this beloved franchise that has kept me up hours upon hours per night. So how does delta squad’s last stand hold up upon the other two game’s ground-breaking performances?
The first thing you will notice about Gears of War 3 is the visuals are absolutely stunning. You would not think that you would be able to build upon the mastery of their unreal engine but it is clear that Epic set out to do just that. Sure, the engine still has some minor flaws, but the overall visuals are crisp, clear and–unlike the other two games–bright. The sound effects and musical score also bring out the best in every visual. If you get the opportunity glance at the water and smoke effects as they are impressive to look at.
The story of Gears of War 3 is not one that I would call brilliant, but it serves its purpose. Gears has always been, to me a brutal, gore fest of pure bad-asses fighting off a brutal invasion. Gears 2 attempted to throw in some emotional plot points in the game to give the gamers a sense of emotion to the characters, and Gears 3 is no exception. It tried, a little too much, to be an emotional roller coaster. At its core, it is still a brutal blood fest. Each of the games characters has been given a sense of urgency and background. Looking at Dom you can tell that he has definitely seen better days. If you played the last Gears title you can understand why. Cole is going through flashbacks of his Thrashball days and Marcus is dealing with the emotions of his father being alive.
All of the creatures on Sera have become infected with this glowing, yellow emulsion fuel that transforms their bodies into even more bad-ass creatures. If you thought the fight against the Locust was over, you were wrong.
If you were curious as to how the co-op works, you will be excited. The full campaign can be played in 4-player co-op. There are eight playable characters you can choose from: Anya, Sam, Jace, Marcus, Dom, Baird, Cole and of course Carmine, the last of the brothers to make the team. Gears 3 is tight nipped in secrecy due to huge amounts of spoilers that go throughout the game, so I will not delve too much into the story of Gears 3, but do expect the campaign to run you 12-20 hours depending on co-op partners and difficulty.
There are also collectibles throughout the game that could keep you going for a few hours more. You will find newspaper clippings, articles and of course COG tags throughout the game. Are collectibles needed in a game like this? To me, not really. But it does give the players something else to do except for jumping into a kill-room then moving to another one.
The collision detection in Gears is a bit off, and often times I noticed that not even Epic Games themselves can fend off the ever problems of the Unreal Engine. Textures loading in late, and the frame rate drops with a large amount of characters on screen.
The last of the carmine brothers is here!
The Multiplayer in Gears of War 3 is where the heart of this franchise lives. If you have played the beta back in the spring you will already know how Gears 3 will play. They did take a lot of feedback from the beta and tweaked the Retro Lancer to become less accurate while firing from the hip, and have also dwindled the clip size of the Lancer itself (not by much). You will also notice that the multiplayer will be running on dedicated servers, so the outcry of “host advantage” is null and void now. The games run very smooth, with little lag at all. I’m sure come launch day the latency will increase due to the large amount of people trying to play but we are confident that the dedicated servers will hold up.
You are given ten multiplayer maps to play through, all of which are ample in size. Everybody’s favorite Gridlock makes its return and even though the layout is virtually the same, the looks of the map are not. The water has been hardened in the background, and the map is very gray and dark. The pacing of the multiplayer is the biggest return to form that all original Gears fans are going to rejoice over. The slow paced multiplayer of Gears 2 is gone and replaced with the pacing of Gears 1. Also there is a counter action to almost every kind of obnoxious play now. If you hated the kids who shotgun roadie run or shotgun roll then the Retro Lancer is a perfect weapon of choice, as not you can kamikaze run with the weapons bayonet out and kill them with no problem. With Team Deathmatch, (Warzone, or execution), capture the leader, Beast Mode, and Hoard 2.0 there is plenty to keep Gears fans busy for years to come.
Hoard 2.0 is a revamp of the classic game mode that was introduced in the first game. This time however you will be looking at a currency system that you will use to switch to more powerful weapons and build up defense to fend off the Hoard. Think of it as a Gears-style tower defense game. Your currency will be used to build up turrets, dummy soldiers, and barbed wire fences. To add to the mayhem there are now boss battles at the end of each ten waves – so no more Beast riders after Beast riders. Now it is a handful of Locust’s and one giant boss to fight. From Brumaks and Berserkers, your hands will be filled.
Beast Mode is the opposite of Hoard. Instead of playing one of the COG soldiers, you will be playing as the Hoard and hunting down the COG. Ever wondered what it would feel like to play as a ticker and explode in a group of COG? Now you will have your chance.
Gears of War 3 is the epic conclusion to the series that all Gears fans have wanted. A story mode that is fun to play through, four player co-op, and a revamped, and even better multiplayer, will leave all Gears fans hungry for more. I am sure that with the DLC incoming over the next several months we have not seen the last of Delta Squad or the lovable multiplayer, but this does close the book on this trilogy. No cliff hangers, no “I wonder what the next one will hold”, solid closure. This is the Microsoft staple and where the series goes from here can only be imagined but this game was worth every second I waited for.
[xrr label=”Rating: 9.5/10″ rating=9.5/10]
+ Excellent multiplayer
+ Horde 2.0
+ Good story
+ Epic conclusion
+ Sound quality