Gears of War 3 ends a great series on an exceptionally high note
TwistedMetalFan wrote this review on .
Gears of War 3 picks up two years after the end of Gears of War 2. After the fall of Jacinto humanity is now on the edge of extinction. Marcus and the rest of Delta Squad have taken home on an aircraft carrier in hopes of avoiding the lambent, and locust which have plagued the land. It's not long after before Marcus discovers a shocking truth. This revelation is what sets Marcus and his squad on one last journey, in hopes that this one will end it all.
Gears of War 3's opening act sets the campaign's tone perfectly, for the first time in the trilogy things aren't just grim, they actually feel grim. One of the campaign's biggest achievements is that for the first time you can really feel the struggle that the main characters go through. Whether you did or didn't care about the main characters in Gears of War before, Gears of War 3 actually manages to make you care. Gears of War 3's campaign is intense, emotional, and extremely satisfying.
This isn't just the best Gears of War campaign story wise, it's also easily the most fun of the three campaigns. Gears of Wars tight and impactful shooting mechanics are in full force here. Gears of War 3 is still all about finding the best place to take cover, and then take out your enemy. This hasn't changed dramatically from past games, but is still just as satisfying. But like in the last two games, there are moments where hiding behind cover will work to your disadvantage. These moments require you to think on your feet and are some of the most intense gameplay moments in the entire game. Thanks to the story these moments also carry more weight than they did before, making it that much more satisfying when you finally take down one of the tougher enemies.
While the campaign is a lot of fun solo, you can also play with up to three other people. The A.I. in the campaign does a reasonable job helping you, but playing with actual people you can strategize with can make these moments a bit less tough than they were before. Gears of War 3's co-op works seamlessly. It's easy to invite someone into your game at any point in the campaign. If you set your campaign to public, people can jump into your campaign at any point, making finding people to play with easier than it was before. Playing with other people makes the campaign even more fun, and is one of the best ways to play the game.
The campaign isn't the only way to play co-op of course. The Horde Mode established in Gears of War 2 makes a triumphant return. The core of Horde Mode is still the same; you and a group of players try and survive increasingly tougher waves of enemies. But now every time you kill you get money, and you can spend that money in-between rounds on things like fences, decoys, and turrets. Or you can choose just to buy a new weapon, provided it's laying around on the map or more ammo for whatever gun you're using. This makes Horde Mode a more strategic mode than it was before. It also makes it a whole lot more fun than it was before.
If you want to get a taste of what it's like being on the other side, than Beast Mode is for you. Beast Mode is basically the opposite of Horde Mode. Beast Mode lets you play as the locust, against increasingly tougher groups of humans. Like in Horde Mode you're rewarded money for every kill you get, but in Beast Mode you use that money to unlock tougher Locust. Different locusts have different abilities, so it's key to learn what each one does quickly because you have a short amount of time to do so. There is no tutorial mode here, so you'll just have to learn how to play once you're in the game. But once you get the hang of it, playing as the locust is savage, gruesome, and very fun.
If co-op isn't your thing then you might want to try the competitive modes. The competitive multiplayer is similar to how it was in the past games, but it's still a lot of fun. Gears of War multiplayer requires you to learn the maps quickly, because knowing your way around the map is key. Knowing where the best weapons are, and where the best spots are can very well turn the tide of a match. Gears of War's multiplayer is one of the most strategic multiplayer shooters out there, and Gears of War 3 serves the series well. If this sounds intimidating, then you can practice in the new casual playlist. Only lower ranked players can use this playlist, so it's perfect for getting the hang of the competitive multiplayer before you attempt the big leagues.
Every aspect of Gears of War 3 is top notch. From the competitive multiplayer, to both Horde and Beast mode Gears of War 3 has plenty of great multiplayer options. But the real standout is the campaign. Gears of War 3's campaign is by far the best in the series. It's rare when a game manages to mix intense shootouts with emotional moments that have actual impact so perfectly. If Gears of War 3 only had the campaign, it'd still be worth full price. Gears of War 3 isn't just one of the best shooters of the year, it's one of the best shooters period.