Gears of War 3 Review, The Definition of Polish
Gears of War 3 is easily one of the best games this generation.
It’s hard to believe that the first Gears of War came out almost 5 years ago. I remember first seeing the title, and being blown away. It was easily one of the most anticipated new franchises this generation. Gears of War 2 released two years later, and while an improvement from the original, but Gears 2 had some problems. Now it’s time for the final game of the trilogy, Gears of War 3. Epic again has made a lot of promises, and it is now time to see if Gears of War 3 lives up to the hype.
Gears of War 3′s campaign takes place 2 years after the original, and puts you in the COG’s final stand. Everything has gone to hell, and you can see it all around you. Food Supplies are low, morale is even lower, and lies have taken their toll on people’s confidence. Last time we saw Delta Squad they attempted to end the war by sinking Jacinto, unfortunately the war isn’t over. The Locust are still strong, and a new threat, the Lambent, is making it even tougher for the COG to succeed.
Epic said many times that Gears of War 3 will have the longest campaign that they have ever created, and they told the truth. The campaign lasts about 12-15 hours depending on what difficulty you play on, and how many people you play with. You can now play up to 4 people for the campaign. Adding more players is always a good thing. The best thing about the campaign of Gears 3 is that, it’s easily the best campaign Epic has ever done, and you will have a blast playing through it. It’s full of larger then live bosses, and epic firefights that you expect from the franchise. Surprisingly the emotional side of the franchise is quite good as well. At many times you will truly feel sorry for Delta Squad, and seeing characters that you have related in such pain is truly depressing. When you achieve victory you feel truly accomplished. All around the actual development and storytelling has been improved in every way.
The story of Gears isn’t by any means elaborate, but due to poor story telling in the first two games, it was hard to follow. Luckily the character development was good, and kept some balance, and gave you a reason to keep playing. The character development is still where the game shines, and while playing you can see how the war has personally affected each individual person. Every question that needed answering and every story arc comes to a close. Questions like, where did the Locust come from? If Marcus’ father is alive, where the hell has he been? Why was Marcus in Jail? All of those questions are answered, and leaves nothing unresolved. After the credits roll you truly feel like the war is over which is a good thing. There are no secret endings, or hidden clips. Everything is simply over, and you will want to play the whole franchise all over again to relive the awesomeness.
If you have been playing Gears since the first game you are in for the best controlling and looking game yet. Gears 3 is faster, much faster. Getting in and out of cover is much smoother, and rolling into a wall to save your life has never been easier. These additions are much needed since the Locust have been working out in their spare time. Locusts are now more agile, and the larger Locust like Boomers now have no problem climbing over cover to hurt you. Locust will literally shoot out from the ground in pairs to change the tempo of every battle, and force you to constantly change your strategy. Just when you think you have everything under control, the Lambent show up. The Lambent are so different then the Locust and can throw you off your game in no time. Lambent will attack you afar, or will get right in your face. Some use guns, while others use projectiles that can do damage from virtually anywhere. They truly keep you guessing as some will mutate right in the middle of a fight. They add a completely new layer of combat that is much welcomed. Using the Lancer’s chainsaw is still satisfying, and charging into your enemies with the new Retro Lancer is a lot of fun. Every weapon, new and old, feels good. Classics like the torque bow and sniper rifle remain amazingly fun to use, and new weapons like the underground mine shooting Digger Launcher fit right into the gameplay. Just like the story telling, the gameplay has been improved in every way and I honestly can’t see it being any better.
Gears 3 visually has received one hell of a facelift. The newest version of Unreal Engine is leaps and bounds ahead of the previous versions. Everybody couldn’t argue that fact that the first two Gears games were pretty much brown and black. There were some added colors here and there in Gears 2, but it wasn’t enough. Gears 3 is simply beautiful, and I will even say it’s the best looking game on the console to date. Everything looks better, and it’s so refreshing to see new colors in the Unreal Engine. Environments look extremely colorful, and radiant. The weapons have so much detail and have real defining characteristics. Even the armor on Marcus looks amazing. There isn’t a bad texture in this game.
Horde mode is back and has also received some awesome new additions. Horde 2.0 adds more depth to the extremely fun and popular mode that made Gears 2 so replay able. There are still 50 waves of enemies, but the difficult has been ramped up substantially. With the faster gameplay, and smarter AI, even Gears veterans like myself will have trouble getting through all 50 waves. Every 10th wave now features a boss that could be Bumaks, Corpersers, Lambent Berserkers, or other larger than life bosses. You will have new toys to aid you in Horde 2.0. You can now build different things to help you take on the Horde like barriers, sentry guns, decoys, turrets, and even the new extremely powerful Silverback. Even with the new additions completing all 50 waves is no easy feat, and you will spend hours leveling up your barriers trying to finish every last wave.
You can also now play Beast mode which flips Horde upside down giving players the chance to play as the Locust through 12 waves as you fight the COG. You start off with just regular locust like tickers and drones, but successfully taking down COG gives you the opportunity to control Boomers, and Grinders. It doesn’t have nearly as much depth and Horde, but it’s a pretty cool addition. It’s fun to play it every once in awhile for a nice change of pace.
Multiplayer was a little rough in Gears 2, and lag was a huge issue months after the game released. There were a lot of cheap tactics that made playing Gears online not enjoyable. Luckily Epic has done everything possible to make Gears 3 fair and enjoyable. Matches are now on dedicated servers to aid lag, and slowdowns. Every weapon has been tweaked and thoroughly play tested to ensure fairness. The maps have been smartly designed to be fair on any gametype you are playing. All of the bad things that I remember about Gears 2 are gone, and I have already sunk many hours into multiplayer. The thing I really like about Gears 3 multiplayer is you have to play smart. There are no perks or kill streaks. If you want to win you have to practice for hours to learn how to defend and attack in every situation. Every gametype has a different strategy. Playing Team deathmatch is nothing like playing King of the Hill. If you play Gears 3 and just hang onto the sawed off shotgun, you are going to die, a lot. It’s really refreshing to just see a game that requires you to play smart. This is easily a title I will play for months after the release.
Polish is a word that Epic must have had on their mind from day one of development. Gears of War 3 is a monster of game, and every single aspect has been tested, and improved from its predecessors. Gameplay is faster and better. The graphics have been dramatically improved, and look amazing. The multiplayer is now balanced and a blast to play. There were a lot of promises that weren’t kept for Gears 2, and the extra time that was put into Gears 3 made a huge different. Epic truly made a game that’s bigger, better, and more badass.