Violence, gore, mayhem, bullets, and tons of blood? These are the features that mark the oh-so famous series that has touched the hearts of many shooter-fans.
With the debut of the original Gears of War in 2006, gamers have never failed to remember the bloody third-person shooter despite the rush Epic Games was put through to let the game loose on the standard winter release of ‘AAA’ titles. The release of its sequel, Gears of War 2 in 2008 marked a sort of “civil war” among Gears fans, putting plenty of tension on the company that produced it. The campaign was a step-up from the original, but the multiplayer just did not deliver, at least not right away. Unfortunately, gamers are impatient. Yes there are still fans, hardcore fans at that, but the game just was not able to glue together its fanbase and a great chunk of it left, as did I, before Epic was able to patch the game up.
Finally, after a good long 5 years of gamer pleasing, heart stomping titles, the third and last game to the series has finally come out. Gears of War 3 is here. It has been here. And we’re here wondering if the game lives up to the hype. Epic game’s baby, their last game in a good long trilogy, definitely is a huge step-up and makes up for everything they’ve done to some of us in the past. It’s very polished, fluid, and nearly flawless in-terms of gameplay. It’s definitely the ultimate closer. Some of you might just not be into it, but it would be a lie to say the game is a disaster. The real question is will it be enough to restore its hardcore fanbase, and bring other people like you on for the ride?
Variety of content for all
The one thing that is great about Gears of War 3 is there are plenty of things to do. Obviously you will want to be playing the campaign mode, and once you’re done with it you can jump right into multiplayer as you please. Of course, if you’re not the PVP type and don’t feel the need to show your superiority among other gamers, there is always horde and beast mode. Horde is a tower-defense game-mode where you and some of your friends can attempt to survive against AI locusts in a series of increasingly difficult rounds. And feel the need to switch roles? Beast mode is essentially horde mode but this time, you get to be the beasts taking on AI humans trying their best to survive against your assault. So yes, there are four things for you and your friends to do.
A good closing finale to an epic trilogy?
I’m sure you want to know how the story ends. What happens to the humans and what is to become of the locusts? How is the campaign-mode overall?
The campaign itself is a thrill ride. It’s definitely something I’ll go back and play again just for fun. I don’t remember very many boss fights I’ve had more exciting or harder than the Lambent Berserker. Yea, you saw it coming didn’t you? Well mind you I did play the game on Hardcore with 4-players so the monsters were a tad bit more “buffed”. The artwork and levels are also something to behold. Some of the areas were nice and I stood there just looking at the scenery available.
I’ll also say the audio was great, from voice-acting to the general sounds. The characters match their voices perfectly and the tone is spot-on. A lot of what is said was expected to be said by the character, especially in some of the more depressing scenes like with Dom talking to his wife’s grave. There’s plenty of comic relief in between all the battles and characters like Baird and even side-characters like Griffin, voiced by the rapper Ice-T, definitely gives players a good laugh here and there. The game is also very loud, but what do you expect? It’s war. I was able to immerse myself in the audio and sound-whore quite well. The only disappointing part was the fact that the audio settings were very limited. I wasn’t able to adjust for different speakers or sound quality.
As far as story goes, it doesn’t really pick up till Act III. Act I and II just sort of help… set-up for what’s to come but there’s no real substance. The game takes you through an event, and then takes you through that same event with a different point-of-view. There are also only 5 acts so that leaves 3 Acts for story time.
Within those 3 “story acts” I would call them, there are some epic cinematics and the story definitely well, closes the game. The story was satisfying for Gears fans. But for someone like me, I guess it was lacking in some way. It wasn’t bad, but I’m going to let you know, that the ending and the whole overall Gears 3 story was… not as dark as I expected, In fact, it was very Final Fantasy. The hero somehow saves the world, diminishing all evil off the face of the earth with very little sacrifice from the list of available major characters. I might be twisted, but I was thinking death to everything, sad but epic ending type of stuff.
Other than that, the campaign was just truly epic. And to be fair, it did what it was supposed to do, which was close the game, for good and give players something to truly remember. It helps to know what happened before in Gears 1 and 2, but honestly, it’s not absolutely required, you can follow what’s already in front of you and get the jist of things.
Tower Defense and Tower Attack?
Made famous by Gears of War 2, it’s very clear some fans are just wondering what’s new in store for them in the Gears 3 Horde-mode. There are plenty of new things for you to do. Now you can build barriers, set-up turrets and decoys, and ride in a silverback, an armored mech-suit, once you unlock it. The new horde mode, which I guess was dubbed “Horde 2.0” adds a whole new depth of gameplay to its predecessor. Lasting for up to 50 waves, players will take on many challenges along the way which now include boss battles that feature the berserkers, armored kanti (plural for kantus? Who knows), and even a Brumak which was about half the size of the map. Horde is pretty much flawless in-terms of what it needs to do. It is simple enough for any player to just jump in and understand what they need to do… survive.
Tired of the survival style of Horde mode? Well how about you swap places and this time try and kill the humans in the all new Beast mode. Honestly, this is probably my favorite part about the game. Humans are allowed to set-up barriers, turrets, silverbacks and your objective is to utilize a growing list of locust creatures to kill the humans within a certain time-limit, set at about 1 minute and extends per kill. The more kills you get the more money and experience points are gained which are needed to unlock and purchase the next set of locusts. By the time you get to the end, you should have access to the Berserker, the armored Kantus, and the corpsers as playable creatures. It’s really fun but it’s definitely a game mode to be playing with friends as it is just intense fun party time really. Nothing to be serious over which is great for most people just getting off work.
Well really, these two game-modes were definitely my favorite parts of the game simply because it’s just, should I say reckless fun?
Multiplayer… of course it’s back
I’m not really into the multiplayer portion of Gears of War as most other people so I’ll talk about what it literally is. With dedicated servers and a fluid-motion to the gameplay, I’m going to say for what it is, it’s almost perfect. It’s a third-person game and mind you everyone has a preference but with no host advantage, the biggest complaint about the previous 2 installments, and no more excuses to blame lag, you get one great multiplayer experience. It’s also neat that if the host quits, the game doesn’t end, host switches to someone else. When players quit, they’re replaced by AI bots which I think is silly because more often than not I actually have a better chance winning against actual players than insane-level bots.
The map design is also great. People don’t understand that what affects the game and how its going to play is the way the maps are designed. Not at first glance but on a technical level. Gears of War 3 has maps designed for the cover to cover system. There are plenty of places to hide and the maps are very linear and very direct. And with the positioning of the power weapons (boomer,digger,etc), there’s usually a big fight for them as they’re typically in the middle. Spawn camping is never an issue as well since the spawns switch immediately and spawning players have “spawn protection” with is a brief moment of negating damage. Sometimes spawn campers are even punished because they don’t realize the spawns have switched till the enemy incinerates your behinds.
The game is definitely better in this fashion but let’s face it, Epic fails at bridging the skill gaps between players. Better players are still vastly superior… And you might think that’s common sense, but well, they’re pretty much immortal unless they slip-up. The shotgun is still the ultimate weapon of choice, unlike before mind you, but it’s still relatively powerful and in the hands of a pro is pretty much a one-shot/one-kill. I guess it isn’t really a bad thing because now that I think about it, since every weapon is over-powered anyways so you can use whatever.
All in all, Gears of War 3 lived up to its hype, especially among the hardcore shooter fans. It has enough content and some future DLC on the way, with plans to add more to all the modes. It’s one of the better games to have come out this year with dedicated servers in the multiplayer and a fluid gameplay. The game itself is easy to learn, but you’ll definitely want to get better to compete at a higher level.