"The Third Time is the Charm"
If you were to take some of the worst things you could imagine and combined them, the zombie apocalypse, World War 3, or even another season of The Real Housewives of Wherever, you still wouldn’t come close to the incredibly horrendous situation you find yourself in during Gears of War 3. The Lambent have continued to push the people of the planet Sera to the brink, following them into the oceans and into the last human outposts on the battered planet; bleak doesn’t begin to describe it. Without any exaggeration, where Gears 3 shines is in its ability to paint the most vivid picture of despair that any game has ever attempted. As I sit here, I’m still stunned from what I experienced, and I’m trying really hard to do this review without spoiling the fun, so bare with me for a few hundred words.
I’m pretty sure I gave Gears of War 2 an extremely high rating, and it deserved it. But, in a nutshell, Gears 3 puts its predecessors to shame. Of all the things I expected from the sequel, my jaw hit the floor the moment I saw the ways Epic Games and Microsoft improved this title. The graphics are beyond anything I thought the Xbox 360 was capable of. All the issues the system is notorious for (red rings, over heating) seems worth it if this is the kind of game I can get for the system.
- Diverse environments and enemies keep you on your toes -
Gears 3 comes with a nifty recap of all the action from the previous games, which gets you right back in the saddle through the eyes of Anya Stroud, the familiar series' voice, who is now a tough as nails Gear in her own right. Once you begin play it is obvious, as I stated earlier, that the situation is grim. Despite being successful in the second game, the Lambent are still a huge problem. As you fight to guard the ship you are docked on, information is introduced that may finally end a 15-year war with a truly relentless enemy. The gang's all here as you progress through the first few levels of the game.
One of the coolest additions to the game are characters from the awesome Gears of War comics. Sam and Jace make their game debut and they don’t disappoint. What really impressed me was the fact that a sensation of dread that they might die permeates the game; a connection to the characters that is unmatched by any other game. What truly sets Gears of War 3 apart is the fact that the story is even bigger and better than any game I’ve ever played, including the other massive Xbox 360 exclusive, Halo. The acting is first rate, and the graphics deliver facial expressions and emotions that are easily CGI film quality; the game is moving. But enough gushing, let’s get to the details so to speak.
As far as the gameplay goes, Gears 3 is second to none. The controls are beyond tight, and all the favorite mechanics have made a refined return. The roadie run is still here and works beautifully, and the active reload provides a gratifying feeling amidst mounting chaos. This is another way in which Gears 3 separates itself from its previous incarnations. For example, the fire fights are far more chaotic and dangerous than in Gears 2. Prepare to be decapitated by snipers, gunned down by shotgun blasts, and blown to smithereens by grenades. Even on the normal difficulty setting the game is oftentimes unforgiving. However, despite the difficulty, when you finally figure out how to progress through a particularly hard level, the feeling of accomplishment is unmatched.
The boss battles in Gears of War 3 are epic in scale and the level design is first rate, with plenty of cover for you and your enemies to use. Speaking of enemies, there are several new additions to the game, from explosive creepy crawlies, to hulking masses that mutate in the middle of combat. Don’t worry, if you somehow miss the original Locust horde, there are remnants of the monstrous enemies for you to fight as well. The game moves at a perfect clip and allows for a lot of variation since you get to play some levels as other Gears. Plus, there is now four player co-op, which makes the game something like video gaming nirvana. All the competitive multiplayer action is here as well, and the vaunted Horde mode makes its triumphant return along with several other ways to play that are sure to keep you sequestered for days.
- In terms of polished action, Gears 3 has it in spades! -
There are several weapons available to the player, including a cool retro version of the Lancer, with a more traditional bayonet on the front. The gun fires differently and your melee attack is also updated. While difficult to pull off at times, the bayonet makes quite the mess when successfully wielded. There are a few new grenades and tons of old favorites like the torque bow. Without giving anything away, trust me when I say there are plenty of new adversaries that mix things up quite nicely, requiring you to get the most out of your arsenal.
If there was anything I could complain about, though seriously minor, it would be that the game doesn’t always memorize what weapons you carry from level to level. It’s also harder to find ammo at various points of the game, forcing you to use weapons you find along the ground as you go. As I said, this is an extremely minor issue that is really just me grasping for a critique.
It’s rare that a game can tell an impeccable story and still provide the requisite amount of fun and challenge all at the same time. If you have an Xbox 360, then you have no reason in the world not to buy Gears of War 3; it is damn near perfect. You’ll laugh, you cringe, and you’ll be scared.. and yeah, you might even cry. The game is simply that good.
GameDynamo's Score for Gears of War 3 (X360)
|Dante' R. Maddox
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