Gears of War 3

Gears of War 3 Rolls Toward Its Conclusion

I have been waiting for Gears of War 3 for a good three years. This game has finally hit shelves and it’s time to finish the fight against the Locust.

This game is rated M for Mature and deserves this rating for all its gore and cursing.

Don’t pick this up expecting a fun family adventure (but then again, why would you expect that from a game called Gears of War?).

The Gears of War series has always had impressive visuals, but very often during cut scenes, you’ll see less detailed images. Basically, the game has to load the graphics and when the cut scenes start, it may not be finished. This is still a present issue in Gears 3, but it isn’t a big deal.

The audio is just as good as the other two. The characters have funny moments of dark humor and the music is representative of what is currently happening. However, the music doesn’t try to steal the glory, opting instead to compliment the action, or gloom, happening at the time.

The story is still very strong, and while I liked Gears 2 so much because you felt connected with Dominic Santiago’s quest to find his missing wife, here the star of the game is Marcus Fenix. Dom is in depression, the human army is falling apart, and Marcus’s father, Adam Fenix is revealed to be alive and has the solution to end the war.

The story does a good job bringing the player in and sympathizing with the characters, this time very much so with Marcus. You really feel like he and Delta

Squad are the last hope for humanity as enemies approach from all sides.

As far as game play is concerned, I’d say there is both a step forward and step backward. Anyone who has played Gears of War knows that it is unlike many other shooter games out there, going for a third person perspective with a strong emphasis on taking cover.

In Gears 3, it is easier to switch from covers, and you can continue aiming down your scope when you exit cover, something that wasn’t in the other games.

One downside of the game is that picking up items now requires you to stand over the item and hold down the button for two seconds. In the earlier games, it merely required a button tap. In some instances, this adds depth and required you to strategize. Do you risk standing out in the open to pick up a new weapon, or do you stay in cover with your current set up?

Another fault of the game is when you take too much damage, you go into a “downed” state. You aren’t dead, and an ally can come along and pick you up, but in Gears 3, it doesn’t work all of the time. You can be standing directly over the person holding down the button, the icon to pick them up is flashing, but it doesn’t work. This is something that mandates a patch, but I’ve yet to see one.

Aside from that glaring fault, there is a strong amount of replay value in this game. The campaign now supports four players (in the others it was two). An arcade mode competition is also included, where the players compete for the best score.

There is a level up system like in many other shooters, but you earn points to level up in all game modes, including campaign, which is pretty helpful. You don’t get to use things like perks and classes, but you do unlock weapon skins as well as characters from the other games. Of course, everyone wants to get to level 75 so they can get good old Anthony Carmine.

Online versus is still just as much fun as before. With new weapons like the retro lancer which is stronger than the regular lancer but has less range, there are more weapons to start with.

There are also a few new modes in versus, like “capture the leader.” It’s like capture the flag, but instead you take the leader of the other team hostage and bring them to your base. It’s a cool change of pace that can’t be provided by first person shooters.

Horde mode is also back and looks like Epic Games took a page from Call of Duty, because horde mode is now much more in depth as well. The premise is the same, 50 waves of enemies, and the only way to progress is to destroy all enemies.

This time around you earn cash for your participation. The cash can be put towards buying new weapons and ammo, or towards defensive purposes. You can set up barriers to keep enemies out, decoys, turrets to take down bigger baddies, and sentry turrets to help out in the fire fights.

Teamwork is still an essential part of the gameplay. If there is one cowboy who thinks he can take on the entire horde by himself, trust me, you’re better off without him. When every 10th wave includes a giant boss enemy, you really want every player helping to hold down the fort.

There is a new mode available called beast mode, which is the opposite of horde mode. Here, you are the Locust and you have to kill the humans within a time limit. You start off with weaker creatures, but as you build up your score, you can play as better Locusts, like the reviving head priest Kantus, or the rocket launcher wielding Boomer.

However, for those who give the game their all, by end game you can choose to play as the big, the bad and the ugly. For those who unlock the feature, they can choose to play as an indestructible Armored Kantus, a barrier breaking Savage Boomer, or the most feared Locust of all, the Berserker.

Like horde mode, teamwork is essential here too. Without good team chemistry, don’t expect to reach the 10th wave. Sure there are only 12 waves, but that’s not the point.

Gears of War 3 may be the end of the storyline, but unlike Call of Duty or Halo, I wouldn’t mind if more side games came out. This game is straight up fun and if you want a change from the 2000 first person shooters out there, here’s your answer.

Gears of War 3 gets 9.5 out of 10. Once those minor issues I’ve talked about are patched up, this game will be even better than before. This is a fun game with huge replay value that I’m sure you’ll want to keep playing.