THE Gears of War 3 Review

Developer: Epic Games
Publisher: Microsoft Studios
Rating Guide: How I Review Games

Review:

Before I start my breakdown of Gears of War 3, let me just say that I love the series.  I’m a huge fan of the game.  There probably isn’t a bigger fan than me of this franchise.  I think I must have played Horde mode and Gears of War 2 about a bazillion times.  It was the video game industry’s version of addiction to me.

The latest entry (and final possibly) was one of my most anticipated sequels of all time.  I helped launch the game as  matter of fact.  I enjoyed Gears of War 3 quite a bit.  Was that because I’m such a huge fan?  I’d have to say for the most part it was.  But will it be enough for those who aren’t die hard fans like I am?

Despite what you’ve heard or read, this is the only Gears of War 3 review you should pay attention to.  Prepare to head to COG Town … whoooo!

Gameplay, Graphics and Sound

Marcus Fenix, Dom, Baird, Cole Train and the rest of the COG return to finish the fight against the Locust and the newly found threat, the Lambent.  Along with the fearsome foursome come the female COG for you to control.  You get to play as Anya Stroud and also Sam.  You’re all trying to figure out how to stop the Locust threat once and for all.  You also end up on a mission to find Adam Fenix, Marcus’ father.  And that is where your journey begins.  There are quite a few new characters you get to interact with and sometimes play.  I thought Ice-T’s Griffin was pretty interesting to say the least.

Typically each mission has you alongside Dom, Jace Stratton, Cole, Baird, Anya and Sam.  For the most part the AI of your squad is sufficient.  But it is a bit disappointing at times.  There were plenty of times when they simply refused to push the fight and instead waited on me to come in and kill.  There were also times when for some strange reason my character would get stuck in aiming mode.  Coming from a cutscene I’d just be stuck in aiming mode or I wasn’t allowed to switch weapons.  And no I’m not talking about when Marcus was walking and you weren’t allowed to switch.  It was during battle.  It was weird.

The same goes for the enemy AI.  The Locust and Lambent aren’t real clever in the game.  Many times they’d stay in cover while you were shoulder to shoulder.  You can literally just run up and chainsaw them with no Locust attempt to counter.  Of course increasing the difficulty will help but that’s no excuse to dumb the AI down during the normal level.  Outside of spotty AI and a few glitches, the gameplay in Gears of War 3 is superb.  There is no better game at the 3rd person ‘shoot and cover’ than this one.  It plays so much better than the other two games combined.  From now on this is the way you make a game!  The gameplay was just near perfect.  Everything about the way you control the characters has been fine tuned.  Running, sliding into cover, movement … it was all very fluid.

It did have its questionable choices though.  For instance, the ammo in the game is handled differently than before.  Normally when you pick up an ammo box, any weapon you had would increase its ammo count.  However, now you only get an ammo increase for your main weapons.  Those include the Lancer, Retro, Gnasher and Sawed-Off.  You do not get an ammo increase for the Longshot, Boomshot and other “big guns” unless you pick up the same weapon type on the battlefield.  I thought this was a pointless change.  Why change the way ammo is handled in the game?

There is also a new mode to Gears 3 this time around called Arcade.  In it you gain points for progress and performance during the campaign.  It’s a way to compete for the best score against others.  You can also turn on the newly minted Mutators in this mode.  Remember the Easter bunny heads during the beta?  Mutators are things like that.  You can change the rules of the game and add some different elements to it via Mutators.

A huge bright spot in the game is its co-operative play.  It’s quite naturally one of its strongest elements.  You and some buddies can join up and fight the good fight.  Epic made it extremely easy for you to join a friend’s game.  In fact, sometimes it’s so easy that the person doesn’t even know you’ve joined.  It was a perfect implementation of co-op magic.  Is there anything better than 4-player co-op?  Nope.

I have a strange feeling that at some point Epic is going to introduce in-game cash DLC for you to buy.

Beyond the smooth gameplay is the threat that you’re using that gameplay against.  The decision to center the game on the Lambent made for a less than frightening experience.  I felt no threat at all throughout the game actually.  Epic could’ve given more attention to defining the Lambent and their history.  They could’ve given something to the enemy in order to introduce a new threat.  We got a taste of the Lambent in Gears 2 but they could’ve developed that taste.  As it stands, they simply assume that the player will know to be afraid.  However, there were no key moments during the game that stood out as an “oh shit, I gotta fight that” moment.  I wish they had given an introduction into the new Lambent or the new armored Kantus creatures to make them a species to fear.  And where were the big Boss battles?  The only one worth remembering was the final one.

I think Epic Games decided to play it safe with Gears of War 3.  Instead of following the “bigger, badder, more bad ass” philosophy they gave fans something that was not badder and with only a hint of bad ass.  It was bigger though.  The size of the world and its design was much bigger.  Make no mistake that Gears of War 3 is definitely a game you can enjoy.  But for fans of the franchise it doesn’t go out with a bang at all.  Gears of War 3 limped to the finish line with a story that was mostly predictable.  It was a much softer experience and no amount of cuss words will change that.

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About the Author

They call me "The Velvet Voice". I'm a Microsoft Xbox MVP and Author of the Day 8 New Human War book series on Amazon.com. I like sunshine, games and large amounts of money. You can follow me on Twitter @deaconblade. Take a look at my About Me Bio for more on what I do.

14 Responses to “ THE Gears of War 3 Review ”

  1. I’m really upset other review sites dropped the ball in Gears3 review. They all failed to mention the ammo change, which IMO, is a significant change.

    While the game was good, it clearly should not receive these super high ratings, such as OXM’s 10! PLEASE

    They should have made Horde mode adjustable to be a tower defense strategy or without it.

    The campaign is pretty long but I felt they didn’t flesh out enough character development(COG AND Locust).

    I find my cons in the game similar to those in Mass Effect 2 versus Mass Effect 1. Developers make changes based on what gamers said they didn’t like, but those changes end up being a detriment. Again, all in my opinion. Most people won’t even care for these things Deac wrote against.

  2. well you can’t expect them to really say what they feel … most of the reviews naturally include a certain level of ass kissery as one of my dear friends put it lol … comes with the territory i guess to stay on the good side of PR firms who ship games and developers who only want to be told how awesome they are.

    like you said, the game is good but anyone should be able to point out its shortcomings and the few things that significantly alter how it’s played.

    and you’re right .. now way this is a 10.

  3. Check it out, 3 of my past 5 played games were Gears 3, Gears 2 and Gears 1 LOL

  4. What a fantastic quote I read today describing what’s OFF in Gears of War 3:
    Tom Chick on the Quarter-to-Three wall describes what is off about Gears of War 3.

    “Late in Gears of War 3, someone will say, ‘Bloody hell, they found the UIR! It’s a Gorasni ship!’ The line is delivered as if it’s something that matters, but Gears of War 3 hasn’t told me what a UIR is or who the Gorasni are. The line might as well have been ‘Bloody hell, they found the Boop-i-dee-bop! It’s a Whamble-di-dee ship!’ It’s an example of how Gears 3 cares about itself far too much to be arsed to care about me.”

  5. he’s right .. exactly one of the points i made. there are some who see it, others simply rushing to get a review out lol

  6. If you dont know what a Gorasni ship is then you are not a true gears fan. Its a game. Not everything can be explained in a game. Read the books. I know what you are going to say , i dont want to read any books. Great but then dont expect to know everything about the universe. You can enjoy the game without knowing what a Goorasni ship is. Game doesnt deserve a 10 but it deserves a 8 because you says it deserves a 8 ? Lol . Reviews are personal opinions. You dont think its a 10 , fine but that doesnt mean it doesnt deserve it.

  7. lol i’m the biggest Gears fan you’ll find so saying it’s a “hating” thing is stupid. anyone who knows me will tell you no different .. i invented the term COG TOWN for crying out loud .. i’m the only one to have organized a Horde Challenge etc … so to say i’m hating on the game is just stupid.

    i’m telling you and anyone who wants to read a good review that Epic was lazy with the story. you don’t create ANY form of media with the hopes that your target audience has brushed up on whatever novels are out there. any good work of art (and games ARE art) should stand on its own without the need to go pillage through a novel. any respectable entertainment creator, movie director, developer etc will tell you that. you never simply depend on your audience reading a book to figure out what’s going on.

    Halo is a perfect example. the games stand on their own and the novels are simply an enhancement to the games. but you can play Halo and not feel like you’ve missed anything because Bungie takes its time with the story. Epic on the other hand rushed through this one as I see it…almost as if they were just dashing through to the finish to get on to selling you DLC lol (j/k) but you know what i mean :)

    i think the game was very good .. was it perfect? of course not. anyone who says so is bananas.

  8. [...] So let’s take a second look at the game and dive into what my opinions are.  How do they differ from Deacon’s view? [...]

  9. I’m sorry if I need to read a BOOK to understand what’s going on in the game, then the game is FAIL in that regard.

  10. Ive never been a great GOW fan but I love what I have played and look forward to playing through it these next 4 days. To me it’s a 10 no lag that I have had on MP and the SP to me is just fun. That matters to me now I need some horde players lol

  11. I don’t think any developer of any form of entertainment creates a project with just the readers of the book in mind. To me that limits the fan base because there are those who haven’t read the books but is that a FAIL on their part? Of course not.

    I haven’t read any of the Gears of War books or comics but I have enjoyed this Gears experience all the same.

  12. [...] Town is definitely thriving!  Microsoft reported some numbers on the first week sales of Gears of War 3.  My business is killing Lambent and Locust and let me tell ya … business is good.  I [...]

  13. [...] Epic Games and Microsoft aren’t waiting for the dust to settle as they announce the pending release of the Horde Command Pack for Gears of War 3. [...]

  14. [...] – Dance Central 2 $28 – Gears of War 3, Black Ops, Arkham City, Battlefield 3 $200 – Kinect Xbox 360 4GB $200 – Xbox 360 4GB [...]

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