Gears of War 3 ReviewRando Evans
Gears of War 3 is finally here and if you're like 90 percent or so of Xbox 360 owners, you're probably going to play it - if you haven't already. After two strong games, developer Epic has a lot to live up to. The Gears series has impacted the game industry in many ways, and fans of the Gears of War games have gotten to know the characters and universe quite well. So how does the third installment of the series which wraps up the current Gears story arc series do? Needless to say, most won't be disappointed.
The story (written by Gears of War novel writing veteran, Karen Traviss), takes place eighteen months after Gears of War 2. The human survivors are pretty much clinging to the last of the safe places to live. The story in Gears 3 moves right along at a good pace, without dragging you down with too many slow moving cut scenes or gobbly-gook B stories that are far to prevalent in most games. Just as the other Gears stories were never anything you'd call Shakespearian, the story in Gears 3 is very fitting for what the series has been. The everlasting battle between human, Locust and Lambent is always a call for something exciting to happen and it does, keeping you interested in the plot just as much as the gameplay.
While the gameplay hasn't changed an enormous amount since the first two Gears, there have been some major improvements throughout streamlining much of the gameplay and cutting those things that did not work before. For example, the clunky controlled vehicles have been removed and replaced with rail-shooter events instead (which I quite enjoyed). Co-op has increased to four players at a time too, making the multiplayer experience even richer. For those who have never played a Gears game Gears of War uses a heavy 'duck-and-cover', third person shooter system where a combination of four different weapons at a time (carried by the player) can be used in tactical combination with the other players. A combination of close ranged, and long ranged attacks keep each battle exciting including a HUD (heads up display) which will help you during active-reloads. These active-reloads are moments when gamers (if they hit the button at the right time) are able to reload their weapons faster and with more powerful ammo however if they miss the mark, their weapon will jam. Of course you don't have to try to active-reload your weapon, but it all just adds to the madness and fun of what Gears of War 3 is.
As far as the aesthetics, Gears of War 3 looks and sounds great. The music composed by Steve Jablonsky (famous for Gears of War 2, Transformers film trilogy, and Metal Gear Solid 2) is nothing less than perfect. The sounds of gunfire and explosions, screams and yells, and shouts of battle immerse you into this relentless military science fiction firefight. Aside from the eye-rolling remarks of the characters (which most of us have grown to love), the voice acting continues to be strong in this third installment. The graphics are no less than stunning and what you would expect from the Gears series with locations and characters all looking perfect, and the game running smooth with minimal, if not any, slowdown or glitches at all.
All 'Bros of Wars' jokes, Ice-T/Body Count musical promotion, and Cliffy B drama aside, Gears of War 3 is a near perfect game. Epic didn't spare any expense, either financially or creatively, and didn't let ego stand in the way of producing a stellar product. Gears fans will have no beef with anything presented to them in Gears 3 however there may be some protests from those who, after two Gears of War games, are looking for something fresh and new. Gears 3 does what the first two games did best using the theory, if it ain't broke, don't fix it. It was the safe bet for Epic to improve only slightly on what some consider the best third person shooter out there. But now that the main story arc is over, who knows what we can expect from the Gears of War name in the future. For now, we'll all stay glued to our controller as we experience the epic conclusion to what we have at hand.
Disclosure: We are provided copies of games from the game companies for some games that we review.