Action-packed, solid release from Gears.
After 3 installments it's kind of hard to keep things fresh and interesting. Gears of War is not the sharpest tool in the shed anyway, the focus has always been and will probably always be action. From checkpoint to checkpoint the campaign evolves and the brief moments in-between stand as return to wellness. They try hard to add depth to the overall experience, the story seems better developed, better told, taking more twists. Still, no one will play this game because of that.
The single player campaign is long enough to keep you satisfied. I grew accustomed to shorter games. When you manage to deliver a short but sweet dose of gameplay I won't complain. Still, it's always nice to see a game that takes its time; of course RPGs are expected to be doing that but action games tend to get shorter.
The shortcomings so easily found in today's games are so evident here. The game tries hard to keep the player engaged in something that's not really all so deep, we got used to the characters so it's much easier now. It's all basically a giant pathway leading to what was planned, impossible to ever feel lost or exploring. Sure there's the lost items you go around trying to find but most of the time they're in ingenuous locations, nothing too fancy that feels like you're going way off.
The player basically has at h is disposal the weaponry from previous games functioning in much the same way. Some additions are present though. The Digger is a strange little weapon. Worked by a big guy similar to Boomers instead of going up you launch a projectile that digs beneath the ground until it finds a target. Most covers will be useless at this point. Let's just forget how improbable a weapon like that sounds and just feel glad for the developers' imagination.
Most enemies are recurring, though now they mostly seem to be infected by a yellow chemical that seems to infect even humans, making them extremely volatile. Some have morphing post-death formations, launching acid-balls at you and your teammates. Another grotesque appearance are the armored locusts, real tanks when it comes to bullets but somewhat weak to explosions. Unfortunately getting consistent doses of explosions is not the easiest task, let alone how unwieldy it is.
The campaign consists of 5 chapters, each with it own number of acts. Some go as far as 6. They don't seem to pass by easily though, there's quite a lot to shoot. As always with Gears you have some acts that are different than the usual bullet rain. Vehicle driving while shooting everything in the way is an example, there's also a submarine cruise through giant sea monsters and marine mines.
The multiplayer rocks as much as previous games, since most player base should relocate to the newest version expect to have better chance than Gears of War 2 to find a good community, but most players must have moved on to Judgement. With the nest Gears of War and remakes coming it doesn't look too good. The usual modes that more often than not revolve around killing your enemies while doing something else, it might be simple deathmatch or king of the hill, there's several to choose from but the basic principle stays pretty much the same.
If competitive multiplayer is not your thing--I know it's not mine--there's co-op that feels much better at home in Gears. You'll be facing the locust army in a group of four anyway, why not take the CPU from the control of the other 3 and put in some buddies you might have? Sounds like a great idea. Again, you need people who play the game and if you don't all hope's not lost for you yet. You might want to join a random party online, not as much fun you'd have with a group of friends but at least you're playing with humans--or whatever the case is for those who populate online shooting games.
There's nothing really wrong with Gears of War 3. It's a safe game from all perspectives. If you enjoyed the last 2 in the series there's a solid 100% chance you'll like this one. Some might say that's unfortunate because they lack creativity, but do we really need it at this point? From now on we might need to start requesting some advancements, but the formula has done great things in the past and this title is as solid as any of the previous ones.
Fortunately the third-person shooter genre is not saturated as the first-person scene. Gears of War does its job right and deliver a solid experience from start to finish. There's a lot of new stuff to be found but the core gameplay is intact. If you came this far you might as well go ahead and finish the fight against the locust once and for all. At least until the next spin-off or full-fledged release that is.