Gears of War 3 was delayed in order to give the Xbox 360 a blockbuster title for the 2011 holiday season. Epic Games used that extra time to polish the hell out of the campaign, co-op and multiplayer modes. They have also accumulated a vast well of experience from their previous titles. So is it too much of a stretch to expect the best Gears of War game to date?
Since I don’t have Xbox Live! Gold, the split screen co-op campaign was all I had to go on. As far as campaigns go, it was a pretty good one. It capped off one of the best franchises born in this console generation and wrapped up the current story arc in an adequate manner. It didn’t answer every question, but there was an ending I was happy with. In fact, I was so pleased, I don’t think I’d want to see another Gears of War game for long, long time.
Gears of War 3 was the end result of a formula that has been experimented on, refined and honed. Epic Games kept what worked and left out what didn’t. There were a few new additions like the Silverback mech suits and the One Shot rifle, but those were safe bets compared to the “Thwamp” styled levels from the second game.
Botched experiments and a small core move set left Epic Games with little to work with. Introducing new weapons with limited use added flavor, but didn’t leave a lasting effect. The only logical course of action was to add more of the same.
Opening up the battlegrounds allowed for more enemies and true four player co-op. Since I was playing local split screen, A.I bots filled in roles of personal revivers. They did an admirable job at first, but they began losing us in the latter stages of the game. Maybe things got too hectic? Or maybe we were far too reckless.
It was extremely rare to die because we were out witted or outnumbered. Our deaths were our own fault. The overwhelming desire to spear our enemies with our Retro Lancer bayonets got the best of us and lead to numerous fatalities.
The Retro Lancers were a product of the dark times on planet Sera. Things were looking grim for the COG and the Gears. The last human city of Jacinto was decimated and the volatile “Lambent” infected Locusts were running amok. The human numbers were so thin that they couldn’t afford to have Gears be the exclusive domain of men any longer. Women were allowed to enlist and, as it turns out, they were just as bad ass as their male counterparts.
The situation may be dire, but that didn’t mean the game had took place in dimly lit underground caverns. Gears of War 3 was the most colorful of the trilogy and it pulled it off confidence. One of the best looking Xbox 360 games to date? Definitely. It was technically sound, but also pleasing to the eye. They finally figured out how to model women and hair!
They also figured out how develop an atmosphere and deliver a few laughs. I love Baird. That guy just livened up the mood like no other with his sarcasm and bitterness. His tiffs with Sam weren’t original, but they were new to the franchise and offered something more than just military banter.
Like with Gears of War 2, Epic Games tried to invoke an emotional moment. However, like the last game, they didn’t do a very good job. The course of events which lead up to it were unreasonable and therefore the payoff fell flat.
I learned quite a few things from Gears of War 3. I learned the source of the Lambent, the demise of Sera and the whereabouts of Adam Fenix. But the key takeaway from Gears of War 3 was that I’ve had my fill of this franchise. The gameplay has reached its peak and I don’t wish for more. This third installment won’t win over those who weren’t fans in the first place, but those searching for Gears of War perfection should look no further.
Hop aboard the Cole Train, baby! Whoo!
For more information on Gears of War 3, visit the official website.