johnthegoat's Gears of War 3 (Xbox 360) review

Gears Of War 3 Review

Developer: Epic Games

Publisher: Microsoft

Six years on from the debut of Fenix and his band of merry men, Gears of War 3 brings the trilogy to a climax, and what a climax that is.

Whatever problems humanity had after the end of Gears 2, they’re nothing to what’s going on in the third instalment. Humans, already pushed to near extinction, are on the ropes with the Coalition of Ordered Governments (The COG) all but disbanded. The Lambent are a bigger threat than ever, and what Locusts have survived the sinking of Jacinto have been forced to the surface, turning the formidable foe into an enemy consumed by desperation, fear and anger. Gears 3 builds upon the shared fears of the humans and locust, creating an atmosphere and tone that have been painfully lacking in previous games.

The first thing that players will notice when they pick up the controller is that gears 3 is a beautiful game. Previously criticised for having a colour palate containing nothing more than shades of brown, Epic games have obviously taken this on board. Taking players across multiple environments, and using plants and foliage to inject colour into areas that would otherwise be lacking. This by no means signals the end of the now recognisable gears artwork and scenery; it’s just that it now has a little more variation. Adding to this, the world is brought further to life by the mechanics of the game. The controls are as tight and responsive as ever, and what players will actually be doing as they work through the game has also been shaken up. Players will be taking part in skirmish battles, fighting into the heart of the enemy base, repelling attacks on human strongholds and performing daring rescue missions, making it the most varied Gears game yet from a gameplay perspective.

The story in Gears has also been afforded a lot of attention. The smart one liners, although present, now have a much smaller role when defining the characters personalities. It’s obvious from playing through the game that there has been a real effort to create believable characters that have their own story to tell. Cole is expanded upon greatly, and there’s a pivotal point about half way through that not only changes the atmosphere for the rest of the game, but will actually affect players invested in the franchise.

Gears of War games are not only known for their single player experiences. Multiplayer has become a huge aspect for fans of the series, and in all honesty, this is the best, and most complete of the bunch. Again showing that the developers have learned a lot from the other Gears games, the decision to have a beta before release has allowed Epic to iron out any balancing, or matchmaking issues. Gone are the overpowered weapons at release, and gone are the advantages hosts attained in previous games due to lag. Any fans of Gears multiplayer will find a lot to love this time.

Horde mode is also back bigger and better than ever. Players now have the ability to build tower defence like barricades, diversions and turret guns to slow down and stop enemy attacks. The more these are made use of, the better defences you will unlock. To make things a little tougher, random boss fights have also been introduced. Every ten levels will now see a major enemy injected into the map. These will range from Brumaks, to lambent Beserkers. Not only can these fights be tense and hard as nails, but they add a whole new dynamic to one of the most fun modes in Gears of War. There’s also a new game type called Beast mode that lets players take control of the locust armies’ hell bent on killing COG and Stranded forces. Although short, this mode is still fun, and a welcome addition.

To say the game is perfect would be a little bit over the top. Although varied and fun, it doesn’t quite have the same wow factor that the first Gears did. There is also an underwater section of the game that is just awful. This coupled with the fact that the lack of interesting narrative in the previous two outings have created a few glaring plot holes and that it’s probably the easiest of the franchise up to and including hardcore difficulty, does weaken the experience. With that said it is still the best Gears title yet, emulating its siblings to become the best 3 person shooter on the Xbox today. Anybody sitting on the fence as to whether they should get this game should go and buy it now, you will not regret it.

3 GOOD POINTS

  • Real effort put into story.
  • Horde mode is better than ever.
  • No more rubbish driving sections.

3 BAD POINTS

  • Much easier than the older games.
  • Lacks the wow factor of the first game.
  • Leaves gaping plot holes.
BreakdownScore
Graphics:In a word awesome. There are the odd moments that look a little off, and there are very slight popping issues, but it’s one of the best looking on consoles, and a huge improvement on older iterations.9/10
Gameplay:As tight and responsive as you would expect a Gears game to be. Environments, missions and objectives are varied, and characters will do exactly what you tell them.9.5/10
Story:A real improvement on older games. Epic have obviously taken a great deal of time over the story this time. The problem is that the older games have lacked story, and because of this, there are some plot holes that don’t fit with the outcome of the game. Good effort though.7/10
Replayability:This game is literally brimming with content. Meaty campaign, HUGE multiplayer, Horde mode and Beast mode. I’m willing to bet few if any people will complete all this game has to offer.9.5/10
Value For Money At:If you own an XBox, this game is a must buy. End of.£40
Overall:Fantastic. Gears fans won’t be disappointed in the slightest. Love the franchise? Then you’ll love this game. New to the gears universe? Then this is a great time to jump in, and will have you buying up the older games. There is a very convincing argument to say that this is the best 3rd person shooter out there. Those sick of 1st person shooters should get this as it’s a greatly alternative. Granted there are a few problems, but in all honesty you won’t even care.9/10
Amazing
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