The Cole Train runs on whole grain
Gears of War has become one of the defining franchises this generation, and Gears of War 3 closes the trilogy in style. It takes the “bigger and better” approach to sequel design to deliver one of the most robust, content-heavy games around. With its sheer quantity of quality content, Gears of War 3 is an absolute must buy for any fan of a good shooter.
A lot of what makes Gears 3 so good is precisely what made its predecessors successful to begin with. The iconic Gears formula is still fun at its core, and remains the benchmark for cover based third person shooters. Basic aiming and shooting, the cover mechanics, and even things like “roadie running” are still super satisfying; the game just plays great from top to bottom. The over-the-top tone and hilarious characters and dialogue also return, creating a “larger than life” campaign that’s a blast throughout. The individual story beats aren’t particularly noteworthy on their own, but the overall pacing, variety and focus of the campaign are much better than previous entries. It uses a host of new weapons and enemies to spice things up wonderfully, and it always feels like you’re doing something slightly different, but equally fun (excluding one or two rote rail sequences). Last but not least, you can finally play the campaign with four people cooperatively, and a lot of the game’s mechanics and level designs keep this in mind. All told it’s among the better co-op campaigns out there; definitely try to play it with friends if at all possible.
What really makes Gears 3 stand out, however, is both the quantity and quality of content available. Without being overly reductive there are four main modes of play in Gears 3: the aforementioned campaign, versus multiplayer, Horde and Beast modes (the latter two being five player co-op modes). All four modes are meaty and totally awesome. Beast mode is a wonderful new counterpart to the fantastic Horde mode, which returns much stronger than it was in Gears 2. The implementation of pseudo tower defense mechanics adds an extra layer of strategy to the entire thing, and it’s otherwise bolstered by the better array of maps, weapons and enemies. The various versus modes also feel a lot more balanced. There doesn’t seem to be a single dominant weapon, the maps are much smarter in their design, and the matchmaking actually works. I enjoyed all the versus options a lot more than before, but it’s still the cooperative elements that make me keep coming back to Gears. Between the excellent campaign and the addictive Horde and Beast modes you won’t run out of co-op content anytime soon, and it’s all incredibly good. In case it wasn’t obvious by now, Gears 3 is one of the best cooperative shooters on the market, and that’s one of the big reasons I dig it as much as I do.
Gears of War 3 is the Gears game to end all Gears games. It may not do anything particularly new, but it leaves no stone unturned in providing a polished, content complete package that has something for literally everyone. It’s an emphatic finish to one of this generation’s most poignant trilogies, and unless you already definitively know that you don’t like Gears I can’t think of any reason not to play Gears of War 3.
For additional information on my review style and scoring system, click here.