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

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Soldiers in the beginning. Brothers 'til the End.

What began in 2006 as a fight for humanity, ends in 2011 as a fight to survive. Marcus Fenix and the rest of Delta Squad find themselves in the middle of a free-for-all between the Locust and the new mutating Lambent as they begin attacking anything in their way. The few remaining Gears are scattered throughout the land, and are losing soldiers every day. Marcus receives news from a surprising source on a way to stop both the Lambent & Locust, and he once again leads Delta Squad out to save what's left.

The conclusion to Epic's Gears of War Trilogy is one of the best games of the year, and in my opinion, the best Gears of War game to date.

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$59.99 is still tough to swallow these days, but Gears of War 3 offers a complete package of content, with more coming in the few months to keep the experience going. Initially you have Campaign, which can be played with three others and features an Arcade mode, Versus mode that includes Dedicated Servers for all of the multiplayer matches which offers smooth and nearly lag-less games, the return of Horde mode dubbed 'Horde 2.0', and the all-new Beast mode, which features you taking on Stranded and Cogs as you play the Locust Horde. Gears 3 will keep you busy with it's robust content.

With Campaign, the story picks up about a year after the concluding events of Gears of War 2. If you want a quick refresher, or have never played the first two games, Epic has included a 'Previously on Gears' clip that quickly catches you up to speed with the gist of main points.

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The Campaign took me about 10 hours with about 70% of that original run going solo, only having a co-op buddies pop in towards end when we were at the same area of the campaign. It's full of great moments and small touches of emotion that really make the story stand out from it's two predecessors.

Arcade mode allows you to play through the campaign mode with scores attached with each person, so you're competing for the best score while still working together. Mutators are a new addition to the game, and besides being available in Horde, you can use them in Arcade mode. These include effects like Super Reload, which once a perfect reload is achieved, doubles your clip size, and increases the damage you deal out with each shot. Others are just for fun like the Big Head mode, while some make the game more challenging including a Mutator that requires you to perform a perfect active reload in order to reload your gun.

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Gears of War 3's Campaign is great, and with Arcade mode and co-op, it really begs to played again and again.

Hardcore Gears of War fans will also be happy with the changes made to Gears 3 multiplayer, while novice and new fans will be able to enjoy it without getting overwhelmed by the many Gears 1 & 2 players picking up the game. If you've never played a Gears game, there is a Casual mode for multiplayer that helps you get accustomed to the cover-based combat and weapons, as well as being able to play with friends and bots to practice for matchmaking.

No matter if you're Hardcore or not, everyone will appreciate that Gears of War 3 utilizes Dedicated Servers to prevent any type of Host advantage, while also reducing lag and connection drops. It's an awesome addition, and one I hope will be required for major online capable titles.

Experience this time around seems to be increased as well so it shouldn't be too hard to earn your wings. Besides increasing the experience no matter what you do in Gears 3 you'll be able to earn experience, even when playing campaign or playing with bots albeit it won't be as much as you'll get from regular multiplayer.

Multiplayer is a big component here, and one that definitively does not disappoint.

Lastly, but not least, are the survival modes Beast & Horde.

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The Changes made to Horde really allow you to dig in on an level. Before the round even begins, you must pick an area of the map to start as your command post. Earning money each round can be used to upgrade that command post, and even set up other posts around the levels. In Horde, the money earned can be used to buy ammo, set up barriers to slow down the enemies, build turrets, and hopefully dispatch a Silverback, which will set you back 12,500 worth of Horde currency. Another new feature is that every 10th wave will feature a boss enemy that will really put your survival skills to the test. Horde is still my favorite mode, and will get even better with the planned DLC coming out for it.

Beast could be simply explained as the opposite of Horde, but there is a bit more to it. You'll start out being able to choose only between the butcher, tickers, wretch, and drone, but over time and money earned, you'll be able to unlock the Boomers, and even the Berserker. With Horde you'll building barriers to stop the enemies, but in Beast you'll be trying to tear them. Strategy comes into play here when only a few locust can actually tear down fortifications, which encourages players to go in with a team that takes different roles. While Horde is 50 waves, Beast is only 12, so there is a time limit for each round that forces you to kill the humans as fast you can. You'll get time with each kill, but it's not enough to relax with, so you'll be always on the move in Beast.

This is probably one of my longest reviews, but that's because there's so much to this game. The visuals are fantastic and push the Unreal Engine 3 to it's edge, while the controls are tighter and offer new options for players to check out.

Gears of War 3 was developed by Epic Games, and this game earns the title of being Epic.

Other reviews for Gears of War 3 (Xbox 360)

    Well, I Know What Game I'll Be Playing for the Next Three Years 0

    As a critic, I’ve found the most challenging reviews to write involve games to which I have a particular emotional attachment, and this is certainly the case for the Gears of War franchise. As long as I’ve had an Xbox 360, Gears of War has been a constant and dependable companion. Sure, every once in a while I’d run off and have a fling when a sexy new Call of Duty game came along... but once the thrill wore off, I’d realize all those new frags were meaningless, and soon I’d be stomping Locusts ...

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    Single Player Underwhelming *Slight Spoilers 0

    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 ...

    2 out of 2 found this review helpful.

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