Review: Gears Of War 3

By on September 15, 2011

I’ve had an up and down relationship with the Gears of War series. The first game was great, but the campaign didn’t really do it for me. Its multiplayer was what I loved the most about it. Epic Games did a better job with the campaign in the second game, but its multiplayer matchmaking was lacking big time. (Though, Horde Mode got my attention for a while.) Now, Epic Games returns with the final game in the Gears of War trilogy, Gears Of War 3. Will this third iteration finally get everything right? Read on and find out.

Gears of War 3 starts 18 months after the events of the previous game. The war against the Locust rages on, but a new enemy has emerged: the Lambent. And they’re infecting the planet from within. With survivors scattered and civilizations in ruins, time is running out for Marcus and his crew as they take up their Lancers to make one last push that will ultimately decide the fate of humanity.

I really don’t want to post much about the story because the best way to enjoy this game’s story is by not knowing anything about it beforehand. There are some moments that caught me by surprise, and you’ll see another side of Marcus Fenix that we’ve never seen before. There are also a couple of new characters that you’re going to love by the end of the game.

Level design for the campaign was obviously intended for co-op. From start to finish, you’ll be with your squad. And for the first time, you’ll be able to play with up to four buddies cooperatively online. Don’t worry, though; this won’t make the game easier, per se. You can’t go too crazy with your ammo wasting, as I learned first-hand during some battles in which I struggled to take down some enemies due to my previously irresponsible shooting.

I remember feeling nervous at times while playing — ducking behind cover, waiting to see what the enemy is going to do. My teammates are simultaneously focusing on taking down some other enemies. Then out of nowhere, a surprise wave of enemies pop in from out of nowhere to make this battle sequence even more challenging. As I mentioned, some enemies take more firepower to take down than before, so I’m trying to be responsible with the ammo I’ve got. But the enemy AI is smart — they start flanking me; there’s tense music playing in the background; your teammates are yelling at each other. All the things going on at once gave the experience such an intense feel that I couldn’t help but feel that nervousness. It’s something not many games achieve.

I played through the game on normal difficulty, but I was already imagining playing this on a harder difficulty online with some friends. It seems like it’d be even more fun. Don’t fret if you’re stuck playing alone, though. Single player is still a lot of fun. Your squad (A.I.) is much better than before, and they’re actually helpful in getting you through missions. Epic Games just nailed it with the campaigns new characters, enemies and challenging boss fights. They also did an amazing job cutting between cinematic sequences and gameplay. But what really stands out is the story. It was an emotional experience I’ve never felt in past Gears of War games. Just be ready. Trust me on that.

As for multiplayer, it’s better than the past two games combined. In terms of content, here’s a list of available modes: four-player campaign co-op; Beast Mode, a new five-player co-op mode that lets players take the role of the Locust army and go against humans. There are 12 waves in total, and the goal is to wipe out all the humans; Horde Mode with a brand new upgrade; competitive multiplayer, which features team deathmatch, capture the leader, king of the hill, wingman, execution & warzone. Matchmaking was a big issue in Gears of War 2, but Epic games ironed it out in Gears of War 3 and did a great job with matchmaking. Now, it’s much faster to find games online; no more taking FOREVER just to find a game.

I can keep on and on about the game, but let me just make this clear for you readers. This is the best game in the Gears of War series, and I might even say this is one of my favorite Xbox 360 games ever made, alongside Bioshock, Portal 2, Halo Reach and Call of Duty 4: Modern Warfare. There’s so much to do in the game that it’s worth its $60 price tag. This is coming from someone that isn’t a fan of the series, but Gears 3 completely changed my mind forever. Go buy this on day one.

The Good

- Story: The best of the series
- Matchmaking faster and better than ever
- Tons of new modes that will last you for months. High replay value
- Horde Mode 2.0 and for the first time 4 player co-op
- New female characters: Anya Stroud and Samantha Byrne. They can kick your ass.
- Unlockables, epic boss battles and yes, new enemies (Lambent Polyps and Stalks)

The Bad

- Maybe this isn’t too bad of a thing, but the game is so perfectly designed for cooperative play, that playing the campaign solo is extremely challenging.
- Not buying this game on day one

Final Word

Gears Of War 3 is the best game in the series. It’s a must-have for all Xbox 360 owners. This is truly one of my favorite games on the console. The campaign will make you play this non-stop until the end thanks to an epic story that actually brings some closure to the series. Once you’re done, go online and play with your friends. This really should be played co-operatively for the best experience. The muliplayer modes this game has will keep you busy a very long time. Gears of War 3 is definitely worth your buck. Epic Games went all out on this one. Kudos to the team.

5/5

This review is based on a review copy of Gears Of War 3 provided by Microsoft.

Danny Pena

About Danny Pena

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