Gears gone wild

User Rating: 8.5 | Gears of War 3 X360
Gears 1: radical at the time of launch, and great.
Gears 2: shallow fun, but not memorable.

Gears 3 gave me a lot of polarized experiences. it's a mixed bag and here are my impressions:

- these vary from flat out average to quite spectacular. up close a lot of stuff looks pretty ho hum. to be specific, i think it's the quality of the lighting effects that really wowed me at times. some scenes and structures (the hotel near the end in particular) are quite breathtaking.
- the hyper steroid hero character designs verge on creepy. the men are silly huge. i also found it funny that at the beginning of the game, we see that throughout his imprisonment, apparently Marcus got to wear most of his battle armor. why? because that's what his character model looks like...

Sound and script:
- good stuff. weapons, background, creatures, music are all of high caliber.
- much of the dialogue is painfully macho (even the women's), to the point of feeling embarrassed just hearing it. and for the love of all things holy, Cole Train does not have to say "Whoo!" at the end of every single line.

- this is one of the most fun and varied arsenals out there. pretty hard to beat that lovely Lancer with chain saw, BUT you're going to need to get to love the Gnasher and sawed off shot guns if you hope to excel in MP.
- plenty of ammo, often just when you need it.

Cover and friendly support:
- a very noticeable pattern of obtrusively placed wooden (not too futuristic) crates litter many maps. these obvious paths often stand out as a bit of a lazy tool for the developers.
- your friendlies help a bit too much, making your experimental run and gun deaths of little consequence at normal difficulty. they too often come to your aid during brutal firefights. i'm pretty sure you could just hang back and your sturdy friends could take care of every last beast.

Enemy AI:
- generally dumb, sucking up bullets and whatnot, but with occasional flashes of flanking genius.
- at least you know that eventually, they'll stop coming, unlike COD's never-ending enemy parade, stopped only by stepping over "the line".
- there are many "rinse and repeat firefights - here they come, we've triggered enemies spawn... the close similarity between many of these segments can get a bit tedious.

SP story:
- pretty interesting, overall. it gets more fun and interesting as you progress. in fact, i was very disappointed with the game after the first 3 hours, but by the end, i was much happier with my purchase. the series story is quite nicely wrapped up once everything has been well and truly destroyed.

- pretty damn fun! never tried the MP for 1 or 2, but i'm enjoying this.
- the weapons distribution and upgrading is actually quite a fair and equitable system, but like i said, shotguns rule the roost.
- there's a clear sense of satisfaction when you team up with your... team... for a nice win. working together really makes a difference here.
- maps are limited, but enjoyable.
- matchmaking process is a bit pokey, but reliable.

- this game gets better as you go, but make no mistake - the SP is an on-rails shooter.
- the 3rd person mechanic feels a bit cartoony, tired and clunky to me.
- there are a few chuckle-worthy lines, and a giant heap of terribly clichéd ones. overall, the script writing is painful.
- 3 provides satisfying closure to the trilogy.
- the Lancer with chainsaw is one fine, fine weapon.

3 is good, but "great" is pushing things a bit. i'd give it an 8.25 if i could. worth a buy, but not worth standing in a midnight line-up. thanks for fun series, Microsoft!