The Gears of War games. What can you say about them? They're among the best games to be released on the seventh generation consuls and made the third person shooter as popular as it is today. The first game was more or less the Citizen Kane of the third person shooter video game; developing gaming techniques for the genera would be used for all time. While other games had attempted to use third person shooter engines, they were never as fun or as fluent as they were in the first Gears. The only downside to the game was that it seemed to lack plot and it gave you next to no info on the world itself or the back-story of the characters.
In Gears of War 2, you got a lot more of that, where they provided more depth to the plot and characters and introduced several mysteries about the world itself. Some people, however, complained that the graphics were too well polished, whereas the graphics in the first game seemed a lot grittier and the multiplayer seemed to have gone downhill.
So, the third Gears is out and I've finally played enough of it to give it a fare review. It's already met with critical praising on all fronts and has made millions in revenue, but is it really that good? Is it as good as its predecessors? Is it better? Is it worse? Well, let's find out. This is The Illusive One's Review of Gears of War 3.
The game takes place two years after the end of the second game. The COG had more or less fallen apart after their leader, Chairman Prescott disappeared and split into various factions throughout the world, with each group trying to survive the lambent hordes as well as what remains of the Locust.
Prescott shows back up however, revealing that Marcus' father, Adam Fenix, is alive and has been captured by the Locust. In a message, he reveals that the Imulsion, a kind of fuel in this world, is killing the planet and needs Marcus' help in order to stop it and this sends the characters on a mission to rescue Adam Fenix and stop the Locust and Lambent hordes once and for all.
On the positive side, I felt it was a great conclusion to the series. It was full of twists, full of heart retching moments and left some mystery to it alive. I know some people may hate that but I personal liked it.
On the negative side, the pacing seemed bad compared to the second game and just didn’t feel as epic. It just seemed like the story was rushed and almost like several chapters were missing from the story.
All around, I would say it was a good conclusion to the story. It did have its faults and could have been a lot better, (finales inevitably disappoint), but it did deliver a satisfying conclusion to the story and it was a decent way to end the series.
One thing that Gears has always been noted for is its great gameplay. As I mentioned above, the first game was basically the Citizen Kane of third person shooters and perfected the mechanics in ways that no other previous game had done before and every third person shooter out their owes something to it. Gears of War 3 continues this tradition with its duck and cover system and being able to chainsaw enemies in half is still as fun as always. Like the last game they added in new weapons like the retro lancer and the sawed off shotgun which were good additions to the game, (although it does beg to question where these weapons were in the last game). In addition it also includes the silverback mechanical suit which was basically a mechanical suit with guns and was a pretty cool addition to the game. Enemy wise the Lambent had great new looks to them. Before, they were just Locust with yellow blood. Now they actually look like another species and gives the player the impression that these things are a problem for the world.
Again you had all the usual multiplayer games which are just as fun as ever. The only difference in this game seems to be the maps, adjustments to hoard mode and the new Beast Mode. With hoard mode you can now earn money based on how long you’ve survived and how many creatures you’ve killed. With this money you can buy guns, barricades and even silverbacks to hold off the enemy and anyone who has played this mode knows that you will need these things. Beast Mode was another welcome change where you actually play as the locust trying to kill people. I personally haven’t played much of it but from what I have played its pretty fun and a welcome addition to the gameplay.
The biggest downsides to the gameplay, however, were the graphics as they seemed too polished and less gritty then its predecessors. For example, the blood in this game almost looked like red spray paint, whereas the blood in the previous games actually looked like real blood. The next thing may sound like a wired thing to comment on but the characters just seemed to clean. I mean, they never seem to get dirty even though they’re constantly getting blood sprayed on them and trekking through mud. It just doesn’t make any sense to me. On another note, some of the enemies just seemed way to easy to kill and many missions that seemed like they should have been in the game were left out entirely. All around it just seemed less difficult and less gritty then its predecessors.
If you can look past the for-mentioned cons, it still has solid gameplay. The multiplayer is still fun and the campaign still works. Again, it wasn’t quite as good as Gears 2 in this department but it still delivered the goods.
The characters of this game are kind of difficult to talk about because you either love them or hate them. The vast majority of the characters in previous games seemed to be made up of stereotypes who had been injected with Bane’s Venom juice. This has always been a wired trademark of EPIC Games and the Unreal Engine but in this game it’s even more ridiculous just how big their muscles are.
But that aside the characters are actually interesting and compelling and you want to see them win their battles. Marcus is still a compelling protagonist and Dom was a decent sidekick to him as was Anya. Adam Fenix, Marcus’ father, was a well written character and was able to convey a lot with limited screen time. The Locust Queen was still a good villain but was a tad to downplayed and that annoyed me to no end.
Most of the other characters, however, are open for debate. People will either find the character Cole to be funny, annoying, racist or all three. Honestly, I’m not sure what I think about him and I can’t decide which is the right adjective to describe him. They also go a bit more into his past which, strangely enough, actually made him less interesting. I don’t really know why, but it just does. Characters like Baird and Sam were similar in this regard. They both had a lot of childish dialog and bickered that we’ve heard a dozen times over in various forms of media and you either love them or hate them for it. The character Jace just seemed like a character who was just their just for the sake of having an extra companion character. From what I gather, he had a larger role in the novels, (I may be wrong about this), but here he just seemed like a character that was put in to satisfy the more dedicated fans. The Carmine brother in this game just sucked. He wasn’t compelling or interesting and just seemed like a throw away character. There were a lot of near death moments for him that made me laugh, but for the most part, this character was way to downplayed
With the rest of the characters, it again kind of comes down to personal preference. Chairman Prescott was your typical dictator asshole type character and you either love him or hate him for this. Colonel Hoffman was your typical R. Lee Ermey type military officer and again you either love him or hate him for it. The character of Dizzy was similar, in that he was a stereotypical redneck type character and you either love him or hate him for it.
All around, though, I liked these characters. They’re not the best cast of characters by any means but they’re still compelling and ones you’ll be emotionally invested in from beginning to end. And to any naysayers out their let me say this: Any game that can make a casual fan like me cry when main characters die, (and die they will), the writers and developers are doing something right.
All around, I would say that this game is better than the first but not as good as the second. Everything just seemed tuned down in comparison, almost like they were half assing it at times. If you play it you’ll see exactly what I mean. But that aside, it was a good game. The plot offered a satisfying conclusion to the trilogy, the characters were compelling and gameplay was just as fun as ever. If you liked the first two I say give this one a play through and spend some time on multiplayer. You’ll be glad you did.