Epic Games has seemingly left their best for last with Gears of War 3. The previous two titles, while great to look at, had a few minor problems that fans had to contend with. Spotty controls, online lag that was likely to cause one to throw a controller, and 2 player co-op. That being said the games were still very solid and tightly crafted. It isn’t often that you find a blockbuster developer who is willing to listen to the fan base and actually try to give them what they want. Well not our Epic. No sir. Not only did they tighten the controls to the point where they are nearly flawless but they also added dedicated server for online play and upped the co-op count to 4 players.
Not only did they improve on these details but they once again gave us an action packed campaign filled with some “OMG” moments. That being said it’s the campaign that also brings the game down. The actual story is kind of ho-hum and not all that memorable. Its full of action and tense gunfights but in the end I found that I don’t really care what happens to main characters. Killing off one of the main characters was a nice touch but afterwards it kind of felt forced and you could see it coming from a mile away. I also have a problem with the main baddie, Queen Myrrah. Is she human? What’s with the British accent? Is she Marcus’ mom? I just couldn’t take her seriously. I found General Raam from the first Gears of War to be a much more menacing foe. Oh well. But those small gripes aside its still a blast to play through either solo or with 3 of your best buddies.
Not only does the game have a tight single player offering but the online multi-player component is even better. It is here that you will find one of the biggest improvements. The introduction of dedicated servers for online play is a genius move that more games need to adopt. The versus matches are virtually lag free and the addition of a Team Death Match mode is a stroke of genius. Sure, the other modes are still fun but having a online standard of TDM in the mix gives the game just that much more replay value. Much like other multi-player game of today there is a leveling system that will help you unlock new player skins. What, no guns to unlock? Thank god! To me this has always been one of the big draws to the versus matches in Gears of War. You want a stronger weapon to gain an advantage over your enemy? Then you are gonna have to fight for it.
That’s right folks. The power weapons are lying around on the maps and if you want it you have to earn it. LOVE IT! Just knowing that the playing field is leveled in terms of weapons makes the game so easy to pick up and play. Aside from the multi-player madness there’s the Horde mode and the Beast mode. Both work the same but the Beast mode, which has you playing as the Locust and attacking the COGs, doesn’t feel as polished as the Horde mode. Don’t get wrong, its a lot of fun but it just lacks the same punch and intensity that Horde mode delivers.
In Horde mode you and your fellow COG’s, can be played with 5 players, must defend yourself from wave after wave of Locust invaders. As you play, your team will earn cash for kills and other milestones. In between waves this cash can be used to power up your weapons or defenses. This is a must do as each wave gets harder and harder to defend against and the Locust will throw the kitchen sink at you. It kind of plays like a RTS game on steroids. It is pure a adrenaline rush and it will require airtight team work in order to survive.
All in all this game is a complete package with a little something for every shooter fan. If you haven’t played it yet do yourself a favor and give it some love. You deserve it.
|Developer: Epic Games|
|Publisher: Microsoft Studios|
|Reviewed Platform: Xbox 360|