‘Gears of War 3’ got off to a good start despite a couple of complaints. I mean, really, you have one of the most visceral-sounding weapons in all of gaming. What could go wrong? In this wrap-up, I’ll discuss how the game finishes, a bug, an Easter egg and how the similarities to the first two ‘Gears’ games affect (detract, contribute or both) the grooviness of this one.
The game mechanics and controls of the ‘Gears’ series have all been fairly steady, in a good way. Like any popular/prolific franchise such as ‘Call of Duty’ or ‘Halo’, developers have been pretty good about keeping the things that work, ironing out what doesn’t, and occasionally having fun with something new that hits as often as it misses. ‘Gears’ has only tightened things up with these two components. The two refinements I truly dig are how you pick up items (having to hold down the ‘X’ button helps to save you from accidentally picking up something you don’t want) and the way that, from cover, you leap over a wall with a baddie on the other side and give him a proper wallop, via your well-soled boot.
As for the similarities in the actual gameplay, you’ll recognize the action pretty much every step of the way. There’s a five-minute action sequence followed by a 90-second cut-scene almost the whole way through. This A) keeps the action going, and B) doesn’t leave you guessing, especially since a lot of the next rooms/scenes look like a really good place for a battle. So is this a bad thing? Well, you’re probably playing the game to shoot Locusts, so no, not really. However, it might have been nice to have a few more surprises, other than the inevitable cut-scene showing you the next boss you’ll have to contend with. My final thought on the similarities and retreads? The improvements are welcome. While the déjà vu is slightly distracting, overall it didn’t detract from my enjoyment of the game.
[POSSIBLE SPOILER – If you want to stay pure of an easter egg] There’s a scene fairly early on in the game where you can find a baseball cap to wear for an indeterminate amount of time. When you pick it up, you get what I’ll call the “Choose your own adventure” display. Where typically you pull the LT to go up the stairs or the RT to go down the stairs, this time around it’s LT for “wear backwards” or RT to “wear forward.” Awesome. [END SPOILER]
My friends and I discovered a strange bug that rendered a non-Player-1 player either frozen or only able to move (minus roadie run, aim and shoot). We had to have Player 1 back out to the main menu to relieve this issue, twice. Not a deal breaker, but a bit of a clunker on the co-op parade.
So, how does the game wrap up? Story-wise, good enough. Gameplay-wise, pretty dang fun. My two pals and I ended up finishing the story in approximately 15 hours on “Normal” difficulty. I’ll have to give it another go on “Insane.” How does the multiplayer stack up? Even better than ‘GoW2’. Everything seems streamlined and quick to match players. The Horde mode has a new money system where you can pay for rebuilding blockades. If you dug the multiplayer facets of ‘GoW2’, you’ll love the enhancements to ‘GoW3’. Is this the best ‘Gears’ to date? In my opinion, yes. The ton of silly cut-scenes, the weak manual and my dislike of the drab color palette aside, ‘Gears of War 3’ rocks. I highly recommend it to fans of the series and those curious about getting into ‘Gears’.