Games / Game Reviews

Review: Gears of War 3

By Sean Booker
September 30, 2011 - 09:27

Gears of War 3 isn’t an overhaul of the series as other sequels may be, but for every gameplay element that stays the same, there’s a little some new that makes this one of the most well rounded shooters on the market. Epic Games have decided to finish off this trilogy with a more sentimental and deep story than just an increase in bloodshed. But don’t get me wrong, there’s even more ways to paint the battlefield with the remains of your opponent. And with the improved graphics engine they have powering this climatic ending, this game ends up being one of the technically best looking games on the Xbox 360.

From the start you should know the controls and gameplay like the back of your hand. You hold A to run and you’ll spend 95% of every gun fight behind some form of cover while you fight off the ‘Locust’ enemy. Gears of War 3 doesn’t change up any of this, you played it this way in the first and second games and you’ll play it that way this time. Instead, the majority of the improvements seem to be in the additions they added to all the modes.

Gears of War 3 is probably the most story driven of the last two games in terms of the emotion it implements into its campaign. It ties together all the story threads going on throughout the series in meaningful and sometimes heartfelt ways. The majority of the main characters each get a moment in the spotlight to have a specific set piece or cut scene all about their back story and general history. The game does a good job of making you care about the soldiers you’ve been playing as/with for years now.

The campaign has also been split into two versions this time: Standard and Arcade. Standard is what you’d expect but the difference that Arcade brings to the table is that it awards you points and score multipliers for every kill and action you do. This, along with the optional four player co-operative play in the campaign, allows for you to not only help your friends out with the story mode, but to also compete with each other while doing so.

Along with this, Gears of War 3 moves the player outside of the underground enemy base we found ourselves stuck in in Gears of War 2 and into the sunshine above ground. Not only does this allow for different and better looking lighting effects to be used but we’re exposed to a completely different color pallet than we’re used to. Gone are the greys, browns and blues of the world beneath and now we see bright yellows and oranges from the sun and sand above.

Apart from the campaign, the game features several different types of multiplayer. It terms of competitive, you’re looking at numerous standard and returning modes such as Deathmatch, King of the Kill and Execution. All six of these modes force you to play in different ways. Certain modes only have you on teams of two, some require you to perform an execution move to kill an enemy, while another has you focusing on one specific enemy to defeat before worrying about his team.

In addition, Horde mode returns with some key improvements. The majority of the format is the same: battle waves of enemies as they slowly getting harder and a boss wave will appear every so often. The biggest change is the addition of a currency mechanic to utilize throughout the waves. For every kill and wave completed you will earn money that can be spent in many interesting and fun ways. Some are basic like buying more ammo or purchasing different and more powerful weapons. The truly exciting use of the currency is crafting different fortifications around the map. For example, you can build spike walls around the entrance to a church, and a turret gun at it’s central hallway. This way you can set up your camp in a bigger spot and have more defense at your disposal. This causes the survival mode to almost introduce a tower defense aspect that works brilliantly

The newest mode introduced to the Gears of War series is Beast mode. This mode plays similar to Horde mode except this time you take on the role of the Locust monsters fighting against the humans that are trying to hold down their fort. In Beast you can play with a team of up to five as you take on wave after wave of opponents. Here too you can spend the money you earn (this time from killing the enemy and/or destroying their fortifications) to play as different and/or stronger creatures. Each Locust type plays in a unique way compared to the next. Some will be able to use cover, others can swing around big cleavers, while some can self-destruct when desired.

But what makes Gears of War 3 such a lasting game is the almost infinite number of in-game achievements to work towards. Some of these in-game achievements or “medals/ribbons” will be for getting a certain number of headshots while others will ask you to build a certain number of objects in Horde mode. What adds to this is there is four levels to every medal. For example, the bronze medal might require you getting 200 headshots, while the onyx medal will ask for 4000.

This, along with the countless number of different leaderboards it tracks will have you playing this game for a long time - and always with a goal set ahead of you. Not only will it track points collected in Arcade and the various multiplayer modes, but it will constantly notify you in the screen’s corner how you compare with the next closest player on your friends list. The game seems to track some of the smallest details such as how many of a certain enemy you’ve killed, to time spent in cover overall. It’s quite fun to be playing the game and seeing that you’re only five Grenadier kills away from passing your buddy.

Gears of War 3 doesn’t change up what we’ve come to expect (and love) from the series; but instead, adds a wealth of new features and game modes to ensure a lasting and fun experience. The addition of Arcade and Beast mode are great and allow for different and unique ways to play the game. And if all the different campaign and multiplayer modes weren’t enough to keep you playing, the incorporation of medals, ribbons and numerous constantly evolving leaderboards will. Gears of War 3 is a complete package for anyone looking for either a wholesome story, or just to take on some friends in Deathmatch and with all the content put into it, you’ll be satisfied for a long, long time.

Verdict: Buy It

Last Updated: August 31, 2023 - 08:12

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