Publisher: Microsoft Game Studios, Developer: Epic Games, Genre: Third Person Shooter, Release Date: Sept 20, 2011, ESRB: Mature, Systems: Xbox 360.
To avoid any story spoilers during this review i suggest you skip the entire Story portion to avoid any major spoilers. I will have just about every big spoiler related to Gears of War 3′s story in that section. Ok lets get this started. Some games come along every now and then that are so meticulously presented that the game is borderline perfection regardless of genre. I can say as of today Gears of War 3 is one of those games and in my opinion the best game available on the Xbox 360.
Presentation - Gears of War 3 is simply hands down the best developed Gears game in the franchise. Whether your talking about the story, visuals, sound design, multiplayer or overall content. Gears of War 3′s presentation stands heads and toes over its predecessors. Sure you experience those classic weird Unreal Engine physic glitches like Locust legs wiggling and protruding from walls or the ground. I consider the ladder simply nit picking and bares no real weight as far as faults go with this magnificent game. Gears of War 3 is presented with a practically flawless level design and unparalleled pacing in its core gameplay. Keep in mind you can play the entire story campaign online with up to three additional players.
Each level was not only visually stunning but laid out with ample space for cover for all players. Navigating through Gears of War 3′s interface was seamless. You won’t have any problem looking for Horde 2.0 or a Beastmode match. Looking at your medals or ribbons is simple to find. Say you want to switch Locus skins while in mid match between spawns just press start then select Multiplayer and your done. If your looking for online story co-op matchmaking its all there and easy to find.
The story was presented flawlessly in Gears of War 3. It made sense and even did the “emotional” story telling part correctly unlike in Gears of War 2. The visuals are some if not the best on consoles. The sound design and music score were also the best in the series beating out Gears of War in my opinion. Presentation wise this game was laid out almost perfect. You really can’t say anything bad about Gears of War 3′s presentation unless your simply nitpicking which if thats the case every game ever made should be done the exact same way.
Story – * Spoilers Ahead* Gears of War 3′s story starts two years after the sinking of Jacinto. Living on a huge military ship called Raven’s Nest. Some of the COGs including Marcus, Dom, Anya, Cole Train, Jace Stratton and Baird made a life for themselves. Ex Chairman Prescott who hasn’t been heard from of since the sinking of Jacinto shows up with a message for Marcus and ultimately starts the story. Its a message from Adam Fenix (Marcus’s father) who was feared dead but is alive and being held captive by Queen Myrrah (leader of the Locust).
The message Marcus gets from his dad relates to emulsion and its effects are killing Sera. Emulsion is a natural fuel resource unique to planet Sera or so we all thought. Adam Fenix has a way of stopping the emulsion from destroying the planet. You guessed it, Marcus has to save his father again and this time the planet depends on it. From here on out the COG including Marcus, Jace , Dom, Anya, Cole, Baird, Sam and Carmine set out on an epic adventure.
The story is divided into separate gameplay sequences. Early on you play as Cole, Sam, Baird and Carmine as they attempt to find supplies in Hanover (Cole Train’s old stomping grounds). Act 1: Chapter 3 Homecoming focuses on Cole Train’s emotional return to the city of Hanover where he was a Thrashball star. He reminisces about the good and bad and ultimately shows us all why he enlisted as a COG. This is why i love the story of Gears of War 3. It takes us and shows us a different side of characters who kinda been ignored in past games.
Later on into the story campaign Act 3: Chapter 4 Ghost Town. After some Locust and Lambent killing your now on Act 3: Chapter 5 Brothers to the End. You visit Maria’s hometown and where she is buried. Dom is the focus here and kneels at Maria’s grave where he wraps his COG tag around the statue’s neck overlooking her. Brothers to the End is a fitting name considering Dom would soon sacrifice himself to save Marcus, Anya and Sam. So yea, Dom dies in Gears of War 3.
Here i will give you some spoilerific things i picked up while playing through Gears of War 3′s story campaign. Chairman Prescott dies, but not before he tells Marcus where his dad is. Marcus’s dad was kidnapped by Prescott and taken to a secret research facility called Azura that is a secret island protected by an artificial hurricane. This (Azura) is where Prescott hid since the sinking of Jacinto. Some Locust have become feral and think for themselves. You encounter a few throughout the story campaign. They salvage old COG guns and make turrets out of them.
Emulsion is actually a bacteria that has the ability to infect not just Locusts but humans as well. You will kill many infected humans throughout the story campaign. Creepy stuff! The biggest story has always been why did the Locust come up out of the ground to begin with. Its because of the Emulsion. It was killing them as it started to rise up. So the Locust did what was best for them and starting attacking humans on the surface to preserve their existence.
Adam Fenix tested his countermeasure on himself at which he had to inject the Emulsion bacteria inside him which ultimately killed him. It is ultimately why the planet was saved as well. Adam Fenix was also working on a countermeasure for the Locust but ran ot of time. The latter is why Queen Myrrah had him held prisoner and Prescott knew about it. Oh and, Carmine lives! Its a great story and ties all of the loose ends up magnificently. I do have one question still. Why was Queen Myrrah a human?
Visuals – The Unreal Engine 3.5 was masterfully used by its creator to create one of the best looking console games in existence. Keep in mind i played hundreds of videogames this gen and there are quite a few moments that blew my mind in Gears of War 3. The zipline Cole Train scene was excellent. I thought it was a cutscene till i saw a reticle on screen. Shooting Locust on a zipline was crazy fun. Act 3: Chapter 1 Unbreakable boss battle with the Lambent Berzerker was awesome. The glow of emulsion as she leaked created a visual light show.
Act 3: Chapter 3 Breakneck Run was a highway tanker truck scene on rails. It was epic go youtube it or something i can’t describe it. It was that sick. You cut off a Brumaks head using two jeeps and razerwire near the end. Act 5: Chapter 6 Watery Grave was a first-person shooter submarine scene taking out giant sea creatures with turrets as you made your way into Azura. Let me make this clear, its the best looking game on the Xbox 360 in my opinion. The lighting, colors, art, textures, water and the ability for the Unreal engine 3.5 to combine all of that was amazing.
Sound – The music featuring orchestra tunes were memorable and fitting for each key gameplay moment or cutscene. All of the voice actors particularily the individuals from past games did their best work in Gears of War 3. The actors who voiced Marcus, Dom, Cole and Baird in particular. Dizzy and Anya were good as well. The cries of Lambent humans screaming “Kill Me” was hunting and creepy. The sound effects from the guns, enemies and even subtle walking was taken with extreme care. If i didn’t type it before i will now, the sound design in Gears of War 3 is the best in the series.
Gameplay – Nothing new or innovative to note. You still shoot and stay behind cover. What i can say playing Gears of War 3 is that its the most fun out of all of its predecessors and that trumps innovation any day of the week. The Vulcan Cannon is a two man gatling gun which adds co-op to operating a gun. One cranks the ammo and one aims and fires. Its a deadly powerful weapon. I loved it. Butcher Cleaver adds melee combat to Gears of War 3. The Cleaver is a huge cleaver that Butchers used to cut up Rock Worms in the Hollow. Its a deadly weapon to use in the story campaign or Horde Mode 2.0.
Gears of War 3′s greatness in its gameplay is its ability to fuse cover based third person shooting with great level design that features great pacing throughout the campaign. Whether its on rails, on ground, in a submarine or a huge boss fight with action set pieces the pacing was spot on and made you never want to put the controller down. The Silverback is a mech that is used at certain points in the campaign as a co-op focal point. Wether your carrying important objects and supplies or just thrashing Locust/Lambent the Silverback mech was a welcomed edition. Trading Weapons is also a added gamepley element that really helps when you run out of ammo. And to top it all off the Queen Myrrah boss fight was awesome. You had to use the Hammer of Dawn to finally kill her.
Replayability – I wrote an early impressions article detailing my experiences playing Gears of War 3′s multiplayer . The single player campaign lasts you between fifteen to twenty hours. There is a arcade mode for the single player not to mention the four player co-op. It seemed short in all seriousness due to its epicness (pun intended). Wether you play Versus, Beastmode or Horde 2.0 you will have fun. The multiplayer is deep with unlockables such as weapon skins, characters, executions and avatar awards. Oh did i mention that this is hands down the best launch Gears of War multiplayer ever? It is. The dedicated servers work beautifully for the most part. I never got so many double kills where myself and the other guy both kill each other the exact same time. Say goodbye to lag. The multiplayer is the best in the series from top to bottom and sideways. It has the most content and was the most fun to play in my opinion.
Final Verdict – Gears of War 3 is the reason why innovation in videogames is overrated in many instances. When you perfect your franchise the way Epic Games did with Gears of War 3 nothing else really matters. Gears of War 3 is a godly game. It isn’t the best game ever made but it is the best game available on the Xbox 360 in my opinion. Gears of War 3 gets my highest rating ever for a full retail game on Videogames Source. Thanks for reading.