Originally this review was going to start by explaining the Gears of War series leading up to the 3rd and latest game released. As popular as the series is and regardless of what console(s) you own everyone has heard of it; the idea was scrapped and decided just to start big because there’s a lot of review here. Simply put – Gears of War is back, better, and running how it should.
Continuing the storyline from the previous games, the Delta Squad and survivors are nearly on the brisk of defeat as supplies are low and safe areas are virtually non-existent. Just like before you’ll take your band of soldiers, which now include females, to shoot, chainsaw, and shotgun Locust and the new Lambent threats chapter after chapter. For newcomers, the Lambent are a mutated enemy that are dangerous, glow with this disease, and explode upon death. The characters refer to them as “glowies”; Marcus and crew are huge killing machines with a 4th grade vocabulary, go figure.
The campaign is mostly what you’d expect as you run, duck, cover, and shoot from Act to Act but nicely added is the 4 player co-op. It’s a great feature that makes me wish it was implemented into the previous Gears games. The storyline comes to a close and completes this trilogy although the rumor is more Gears just not with these characters and plot. Overall the game play and story are pretty well done and the addition of Arcade Mode (game play that allows a score multiplier and points) increases high replay ability.
Versus returns in a big way with new weapons to annihilate your foes, all new maps, and best of all dedicated servers. While close range battles still result in a shotgun spree, the rifle’s damage has been increased to give you a better fighting chance before someone blows your body into giblets. All your favorite modes return as well such as Wingman, Capture the Leader, Team Death Match, King of the Hill, etc. Now that fights are on dedicated servers, you won’t run into lag too often or what appeared to be host advantages. Really makes the matches play smoother and flawless as it should have been since the beginning of the series. Ranking up is made a little easier with the newly added ribbon and medal system. Ribbons are short term experience rewards you earn by completing tasks like killing 5 enemies without dying, chainsaw 3 enemies in a row, killing multiple enemies with a single frag grenade, etc. Medals are long term items that will take more time to obtain and a majority of them have different tiers resulting in bigger demands. For example, killing 100 enemies with the Lancer will unlock the first tier, 500 for the second, as for the 3rd and 4th tiers those numbers are in the few thousands for kills.
Another fan favorite returning is Horde Mode where you slaughter wave and wave of enemies. New additions have been setup with the inclusion of boss waves and defense mechanics. Killing enemies will grant a dollar value which can be spend in fortifications like spiked fences, sentry turrets, decoys, a character operated turret, and Silverbacks. Horde is no longer a simple cover and kill game mode anymore as you can set up base and locked yourself into a highly fortified area where everything you purchase can stop enemies from reaching you. Horde was a great addition in Gears 2, the changes and revamps included now have surpassed the original.
Making its debut is Beast Mode which is slowing becoming my favorite game mode to play. Beast Mode allows you to control enemies such as Tickers, Wretches, Blood Mounts, Boomers, and Berserkers as you fight survivors and main characters from the game. These guys will be fortified much like you are in Horde Mode so getting a balanced team of Locust will be ideal to winning. The only downside is the lack of waves where Horde has 50 waves, Beast only has 12. Still it is awesome to select a Ticker and blow up a few people in the process.
Gears of War 3 was one of my most anticipated games of 2011 and it did not disappoint. Newcomers of the series can easily jump into the game while veterans will feel right at home. Campaign is done well and Arcade Mode adds depth and replay ability. Versus finally feels right, fair, and balanced. Horde’s changes are very welcoming and having a defense perimeter increases your survival rate. Beast Mode is an awesome new game mode and can only hope it expands with title updates and DLC. Gears of War 3 is truly the best in the series and deserves to be play.