Single Player Underwhelming *Slight Spoilers
Once upon a time I chainsawed the hearts of a riftworm and rode a rampaging Brumak through Locust-infested caverns. The good memories I have of Gears of War 1 and 2 are those of exciting set pieces while the bad memories I have are any point where they try to flesh out the story and characters. We're all familiar with the commercial where Marcus is running through the destroyed city as Mad World plays in the background. Gears 3 feels like it tries to take that "war is Hell" motif too seriously for the product it's portrayed in. I'm reminded of Mickey Rourke's poignant but out of place monologue in The Expendables.
"Give it a break. It's a Gears game." I can get past the poor attempts at tugging at my heart strings because what I'm really here for is shooting things and this is where my main problem lies: the single-player game itself is just kind of boring. Most of the game feels spent running through very similar looking buildings while shooting the less-than-satisfying lambent enemies. The most memorable moments are memorable for all the wrong reasons. Dumb "emotional" cutscenes (Cole's thrashball and Dom'splosions) and overlong boss fights are the primary aggressors making this campaign feel like much less than I hoped for.
This review is based entirely on my individual experience of the game. I played through the single-player campaign co-op on hardcore. I'm sure the multiplayer offerings are as amazing as everyone says. If you're looking for an exciting romp that brings to an end the story of a beloved series, you're probably going to be disappointed.