Gears Of War 3 Review

December 4, 2011 at 12:05 AM | Posted in (All Posts), Reviews, Video Game Reviews | Leave a comment

Gears of War 3 Review

The Gears of War franchise is one of those cases when something actually is just what it appears to be on the surface, and despite how that may sound, I mean it in the nicest way possible. Just one look at a cover or screenshot from any of the titles showcases hulking marines with guns literally half the size of their bodies set in a post-apocalyptic setting. Gears of War 3 is being advertised as the “finale” of the trilogy that was started back in 2006, and if it indeed is the end of a franchise, Gears 3 is trying to go out with one giant, coffee-filtered, muscled-up “bang.”

But before I get much further, I have to ask, “Where do I start with a review like this?” Chances are, if you are a Gears fan, you’ve already picked up the game and love it. As gamers, let’s not kid ourselves – if you own an XBox 360 and you love third-person-shooters, you’re in the minority if you do not own a game from the Gears franchise.

And I suppose that’s the problem here – I’m in the minority. I apologize, because this is not a class of gamers I want to be in. When I first purchased my XBox 360 in 2008, I was so excited to play Gears of War. I absolutely love third-person-shooters, but Gears of War didn’t work for me. To pinpoint one aspect to blame for my dislike of the franchise would be lazy, but in order for me to accurately describe “why” I don’t like Gears would take far too long. If you are someone who plays video games quite regularly, you’ve likely dabbled in a game of Gears of War at some point in time, and it’s fairly easy to tell if you’re going to be a fan or not. As much as I’d love to make this article about how I think the series is overrated, let’s instead talk about what Gears of War 3 does right and wrong.

Take everything you loved from the first two and keep stacking and polishing. The result is Gears of War 3, and I don’t mean to repeat myself here, but I mean that as a compliment. One massive addition is that the campaign mode now has 4-player cooperative play, allowing 4-players to play through the story mode together, which clocks in around 10 hours. The main playable character is of course, Marcus Fenix, the protagonist from the previous games, although you do switch off to control other characters at certain points. Without spoiling much, the story ties up all loose ends, including putting closure to Marcus’s quest to find his father.

The multiplayer mode builds upon the success the series has received in the past by adding more maps, a new variety of weapons, and new multiplayer modes all together. One new addition is Beast Mode, where the players takes control of various Locust creatures and are challenged to take out as many CPU-controlled humans as possible.

There is more than enough for loving fans of the franchise to cherish, and I have no doubt in my mind that the hours of gameplay time Gears of War 3 sees on 360s will likely surpass its forerunners.

For myself, Gears of War has always been a franchise that just puzzled me. Never before have I actually “worked hard” at enjoying a game. What to me feels rather clunky and took too long to become accustomed to turns out to be the play-style of choice for thousands of others. I’ve played games with far worse stories, but to call Gears of War a masterpiece for its plot seems absurd. It’s certainly a decent plot for a video game of its kind, but the praise it receives as a whole leads me to believe that Gears of War is more of a revolutionary game in the sense that most of its success is coming from another field – multiplayer. I can almost hear a unanimous “duh” from fans of the series, but if you were to strip away the story and single-player-campaign from these games, I believe Gears of War would be just as successful. I don’t mean that as a bad thing necessarily, but I’ve always been someone who sees gaming as something I experience alone. But to debate the future of single player gaming and online-multiplayer is a subject for another day.

The bottom line is this: Gears of War 3 is not a good “jumping on point” for someone who has never played the previous two, but if are a fan of Gears of War as a franchise, Epic Games has delivered a giant love letter to its fans that delivers in every field. Just because I’m not one of those fans doesn’t mean I can’t acknowledge a well developed product, and it goes without saying that Gears of War 3 is everything its fans were hoping for.

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