“Yeah! WHOO! Bring it on, sucka! This my kinda shit!” – Augustus Cole A.K.A. Cole Train.
Now that you know Gears isn’t the place to go for gamers looking for a deep story, allow me to say that it is still one hell of a package. Since I’ve already I mentioned the story, I guess I’ll start by clarifying my initial statement. The story in Gears of War 3 is by no means terrible, but it doesn’t have the same somber tone as Resistance 3 nor does it have any actual depth to the characters that go past “Oh, I care about this guy because I’ve played him for the past two games” rather than having an actual reason to care about Marcus Fenix or the other characters. Sure, there are some exceptions such as Dom, but who the hell is Jace? Or this Samantha Bryne? These are minor complaints and these new characters don’t detract from the main story (except for Jace’s God-awful dialogue). The pacing slows down a little in the second-third, but it definitely ratchets up to a dizzying degree for the last third of the game.
There are a couple of twists, but none of them are completely left-field. A couple instances have some emotional resonance, but that only occurs about once or twice in the game, which is damn good considering the stories of the prior two titles. In the context of the Gears of War franchise, Gears of War 3′s story stands high and tall above the other two and it never slows down to a snooze. I also appreciate the fact that Gears 3 ends the tale on these characters but it’s disappointing that some questions are left unanswered, such as the still-mysterious origins Queen of the Locust, Myrrah.
While the pacing may seem lacking in spots in the story, the pacing in gameplay is much tighter. Just when things might seem to be getting repetitive, some setpiece occurs or a new enemy shows up for you to mangle. The gameplay is polished to the finest damn sheen and it shows in that smile on your face when you execute that Locust or Lambent that’s been fucking with you for three minutes. Boss encounters are tense and their intensity stays intact in the splendid up-to-four-player co-op offered here. I honestly can’t think of any major problems. Sure, I can say it’s more of the same, but how much innovation can someone expect from a third entry in a franchise? Epic Games has outdone themselves by providing players with a meaty campaign that’s been polished with a surgeon’s touch. And of course, there’s the multiplayer.
The major new addition is a variant on Horde mode called Beast. Beast mode (I swear they called it that so they could get writers to type those words in sequence) is basically Horde in flip mode where you’re the Locust. It’s undoubtedly a good time and it’s an absolute must to play as Ticker — trust me on it. The competitive multiplayer comes firing with all the same ammo as the prior titles. Team Deathmatch, Capture The Flag, and Wingman among the popular game types. The greatest addition of all though is the game being lag-free. Matchmaking is brisk and easy and the reinforcement for leveling up that “one more time” only feeds to te addiction.
The graphics are, well, holy shit. Just when you think you’ve seen everything the Unreal Engine has to offer, leave it to the baby daddy of the engine to teach it some new manners. The score is rousing (there’s even a moment where they used Gary Jules’ rendition of “Mad World”) and brooding at the same time. The voice acting is all very solid and the guns pack knockout punches.
Gears of War 3 is a bonafide hit and a monstrous package of a game. The campaign is more than satisfactory (especially when played with friends) and the multiplayer keeps on giving. Gears 3 is a no-brainer for the first annual Game of the Year award on RealViews. Considering that I hated the first Gears Of War and moderately liked the second one, it’s saying a lot when I praise this game. Get it.
Lasting Appeal: 93