Amazing end to an Epic trilogy
The story of Gears 3 is very solid, featuring all the characters you cared about in the old games as well as making some new additions to Delta (a new and badass Carmine, the quirky rookie Jace, and the tomboy Sam) - all with very interesting characters. It shows humanity on the edge of collapse, living either on huge ships or gone into hiding on the land. All of this happens because of the new threat called Lambent, which even the Locust are terrified of and who devastate any area they get to. It is here that you begin the campaign. The game keeps you on the edge of the seat by keeping you guessing how it will end and features an absolutely heart breaking scene around two thirds of the campaign in. The story feels like a very solid package, leaving you satisfied at the end with little or no holes being left to be explained in DLC or possible sequels. If you were in any way interested in the campaigns of the previous Gears games, you will want to see how Delta squad deals with the unsurrendering Locust and the ominous Lambent.
The gameplay should be perfectly familiar to old Gears players: most of the game you spend behind cover occasionally popping up to shoot or instead choosing to blind fire. With the third game, Epic have perfected the formula; the camera is a bit more zoomed out than previous games allowing for a wider view of the battlefield, the roadie run is accelerated to make cover transition quicker and getting to cover is as fluid as ever. In addition,you are given new weapons to play with as well, such as the One-shot (instant kill sniper rifle that takes time to set up), the Digger (which propels grenades underground wherever you need them to go), the Sawed-Off shotgun (which has only one bullet per mag and a very slow reload but is absolutely devastating up close), the Mauler (which was present in Gears 2 with some Boomers carrying them, but is now available to players),and the Retro Lancer (which is much more damaging than the normal Lancer and has a bayonet charge that is an instant kill but suffers from terrible recoil). The gameplay is nice and varied in the campaign, shifting from typical gun battles to turret sequences to vehicle sections, keeping you interested over the course of the ten hour story. The multiplayer modes remain the same with addition of Team Deathmatch, where each team has a limited number of respawns. The online keeps you drawn in with a leveling system that awards you with new online characters and challenges (like a certain amount of kills with a certain weapon) that give you gun skins and medals. Horde mode makes a return with Horde 2.0, which retains the classic Horde formula (although now with new enemy types and bosses every ten waves), but adds a tower defence aspect which allows you to lay down turrets and other defenses in exchange for currency that you earn by killing enemies. The game also features a brand new Beast mode, where you trade places with the Horde survivors, controlling different Locust (who have different purposes) and working together to overcome the humans. Finally, the campaign can be beaten in four player co-op and can be played in Arcade mode, where each kill gets you points, which is especially exciting in co-op where you compete with friends for the higher score.
The visuals in the game are absolutely stunning, showing how Epic truly have mastered their own engine. The framerate is very steady and never drops below 30 fps, and I found a lot less texture pop-in in the game (multiplayer apart). The game itself features a nice variety of landmarks, from ruined cities to barren deserts to tropical islands, all of which look fantastic thanks to amazing lighting and detailed textures.
I would say that this is a must-buy not only for Gears fans, but all shooter fans in general, since the game functions perfectly and provides gorgeous backgrounds for the battles. All the different multiplayer modes, the long and interesting campaign, and the perfected gameplay will not leave you wanting when you get into this game.