I like Gears of War...actually no, I love Gears of War. Some people on here who know a bit about me understand this fact. Does this make me biased in choosing Gears of War 3 as my GoTY? Sure it does, but this doesn't mean that I think that all 3 games in the franchise are the greatest things ever (maybe) because I easily thought GTA IV was the best of 2008 instead of Gears of War 2. Now with that out of the way, I'll dive into some of the reasons as to why Gears of War 3 is my Game of the Year.
I don't care that it's my opinion but I'm 100% confident that Gears of War 3 is the best third-person shooter in terms of overall feel and control. If third-person shooters are not your thing then I understand your feelings about not caring/liking this game a whole lot, but I'll be damned if this isn't just a solid game in the third-person shooter genre. People like to compare this to Uncharted 3 because they share the same genre which in some cases that's fair. It's cool being able to jump and climb around in Uncharted 3, but I always come back to Gears 3 when it comes to wanting to shoot shit better. The guns feel and shoot great, character movements and animations are very smooth, everything just feels right.
Yeah, the overall Gears of War fiction is dumb, but my love for the franchise is what kept me invested in the story. (I draw the line at the books; I tried one of them and then managed to stop myself before it was too late) Gears of War 2 was where they fleshed out the Gears universe and made the Locust somewhat more interesting (Giant Worm anyone?) but Gears of War 3 made the story more personal and added a sense of desperation to the events that were occurring. The game still has a lot of the traditional Marcus saying, "Nice", moments but they made the overall story more serious. Say what you will about the ending and leaving a rather large plot hole in regards to the Locust Queen, I was satisfied with how the story ended and I also had a fucking blast playing through that whole thing.
To me, this is where the meat of the game is. The multiplayer in Gears of War 1, even though it was basically small and sparse in scale, was what got me hooked into this franchise. It's fun blowing people the fuck up in this game. It's the only game where I get the most satisfaction after killing someone because of how bad they can get messed up, it's crazy. Gears of War 3 surpassed its predecessor in every aspect of the multiplayer. Bullet lag and host advantage? Thanks to dedicated servers, that shit is gone. Tired of having shotgun focused multiplayer matches? EPIC made the rifles more useful than they have ever been before. Thanks to EPIC's stat tracking, the Lancer is actually the most used weapon in ranked matches. I've never had as much fun in any other multiplayer game, the modes are great and EPIC does a fantastic job of tossing in some custom game events every week.
With all of that said, it's easy to see people being intimidated by the competitive multiplayer. People are crazy on that game and if you don't know what you're doing you'll be ripped apart, literally. That's when the other coop friendly modes become more appealing. The new Horde mode in this game is fantastic; they added the ability to construct barriers, turrets, decoys, whatever. This new element makes it fun to fortify yourself with your friends and try to survive against the waves of Locust enemies. There's also Beast mode which is like Horde mode in reverse, but with a time limit on each round. There's just so much shit to do in this game and EPIC has already delivered in adding more content such as the 5 new maps that are available for free. More maps means more places to play some Horde and Beast mode in.
In The End
This was honestly a hard choice for me to make. I've been enjoying Skyrim a whole lot and I still have plenty of shit to do in that game even though I finished the main questline. It's a game that is easy to get lost in and waste away the hours but in the end I know that there's only one game where I'll still be playing well throughout 2012 and that game is Gears 3. I've put in about 45 or so hours into Skyrim with plans to invest more time into that game, but the crazy thing is that I probably have put in even more hours than that into the Gears 3 multiplayer. Also, it didn't help that I was finally forced to stop playing Skyrim on my 360 and go back to PC because I hit a part where the framerate wouldn't stop being in the single digits.
Some people will never understand the appeal of this franchise or share the love that I have for it and I understand that. Getting to sink many hours into the best, most polished entry in one of my favorite franchises is why I consider Gears of War 3 to be my Game of The Year.