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Review - Gears Of War 3

Discussion in 'Gaming Reviews' started by ODB, Oct 20, 2011.

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    Story


    Its 18 months after the fall of Jacinto (Gears 2), the last major Human city left on the planet of Sera, destroyed to flood the Locust tunnels and the inner hollow and to kill both the Locust and the Lambent (Locust mutated by prolonged exposure to the naturally occurring fuel source known as “Imulsion”) alike.

    For a brief time everything was quiet as the survivors tried to re-build on the Island of Vectes until the Lambent re-appeared. Chairman Prescott of the COG (Coalition of Governments), Head of State and generally a hugely unlikeable character and a complete Dick (he’s actually called Richard - honest! ) suddenly abandoned the COG and left them leaderless. Hand forced the COG as we know it disbands. (Former) Colonel Hoffman takes off with some survivors to Anvil Gate whilst Delta Squad takes the remaining on a Raven’s Nest Class carrier (An aircraft carrier basically for the COG Raven’s – helicopter type aircraft) to avoid any more Lambent attacks…*

    …and this is where we start on a ship where its been quiet for months until suddenly a Raven arrives


    *This can all be viewed in the ‘Previously in Gears Of War’ section of the game, a rather nice looking cutscene

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    Gameplay


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    You are (as in other Gears games) Marcus Fenix, Sergeant of the Delta Squad AKA “Delta-One”; son of the deceased but legendary COG and renowned scientist Adam Fenix, accompanied by your squad Dominic ‘Dom’ Santiago – a brother to Marcus but a broken man after being forced to euthanize his wife (Gears 2), Augustus ‘Cole Train’ Cole – a former professional Thrashball player (who for a short while you get to play as, which is a nice little change, helping you to understand the life he once had!) , Anya Stroud – Former communications officer though the last 2 campaigns and a love interest to Marcus, Damon Baird – the squad tech wizz .

    You are joined along the way and helped or helping other Delta Squad members new and old such as Dizzy, Clayton Carmine - Brother of Anthony (Gears 1) & Benjamin (Gears 2) Carmine (The standard gears joke after each one died in their games, there was an online vote – “Fate Of Carmine” - as to whether Clayton should die or survive this game and you could buy the avatar t-shirts with each decision!) and characters from previous games such as Victor Hoffman. All with the intention of wiping out the Locust and Lambent once and for all!

    For those that havent played a Gears of War game before, Gears of war 3, as per the other games, is a third person cover based shooter. You can go in all guns blazing but you will go down. The enemy in Gears are some of the toughest enemies you will ever see in a game, even just the grunts! No couple of shots will take these guys down…you need a certain level of skill. Using cover is the way this game should be played and its easy to navigate around or over cover and go straight into a run/charge/roll/melee smoothly without causing you issues that get you killed. The use of blindfire is also required sometimes and if used correctly it will change the course of a battle.

    The standard Locust/Lambent enemy is a humanoid type adversary called ‘grubs’ carrying weapons such as the hammerburst assault rifle or maybe even the lancer of a dead COG. However there are various other types of enemy such as the ‘Boomer’ (huge humanoid like things that are slow moving and shout ‘BOOM’ carrying a grenade launching gun) and various enemies roughly the same size and build. These are you standard enemy throughout all of the Gears of War campaigns . There are also much bigger and scarier things such as the giant Leviathan sea beast, huge (and small) spider-like ‘corpsers’ and various other humungous things. However this time the Locust aren’t the main enemy…it’s the Lambent. These are mutated versions of the Locust enemy with the added surprise that some mutate mid attack into something else completely different to make it even harder. Now as the mutation is caused by the fuel known as ‘Imulsion’ it goes to reason that these guys are also EXPLOSIVE! So when you take these guys down its best not to be close range!

    You start with 4 weapons. Standard COG Issue Snub pistol (a semi powerful, quick firing pistol that can hold its own), frag grenades (extremely powerful and thrown in an ark or can be used as a proximity mine), Gnasher Shotgun (slow to fire and reload but truly devastating at close range) and the MKII Lancer Assault Rifle equipped with a chainsaw bayonet (rapid fire, quite accurate and packs a punch…hit the melee button at close range and watch as the chainsaw tears through the enemy).

    All these weapons can be changed at any time you find something better but pistols and grenades can only be changed for other pistols and grenades. Ammo is gathered from ammo boxes and stashes you find along the way or from weapons you find on the ground. As with all gears games there are various other weapons you can find along the way which you can choose to swap for or leave, which can be tough as sometimes some of the weapons are REALLY needed. You also occasionally get some huge weapon like a ‘Mulcher’ (mini gun) or a ‘Mortar’ (Yup! mobile mortars!!) etc that can be (slowly) carried around without affecting your standard loadout BUT these weapons can't be reloaded OR climb over obstacles due to their size.

    I wont go into each of the weapons but if you wish to read up on them try here - http://gearsofwar.wikia.com/wiki/Category:Weapons

    However the real ‘weapon’ with your standard loadout is actually YOU!
    As good as the weapons are they are all slow to reload and during a heated battle this can get you killed. So you are forced to not only learn but master (an achievement in previous games!) the art of the ‘Active reload’! The are 3 types of active reloads:

    STANDARD – Fast reload

    PERFECT – Not only will this improve the speed of the reload itself BUT will hugely affect the weapons…whether you get a better range, firing speed OR power increase

    FAILED – double the amount of time to reload you better be prepared for the consequences of failure!

    You’ll be forced to learn this but you’ll quickly master it (especially in MP where it makes a serious difference!). Basically you have a box under your weapon HUD. In the middle of this box is a bright white area that as it goes along becomes less perfect white. Hit the bright white bit bang on and its perfect, any further its an active. Miss the white area altogether and you fail. Sound easy? Try doing it….then try doing it during a battle

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    Campaign


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    The campaign leads on from previous games and wouldn’t make any sense without playing them..its a fitting swansong to the Delta squad we’ve grown to know and love though has a large amount of set pieces and cut scenes that slow the game down too much at times and distract from the action. As people had the same issue with Gears 2 many were hoping it would go back to the way Gears 1, which didn’t overly rely on set pieces but I think this is probably worse for them though. Having said that Epic have nailed the story and the cinematics with this and it really shows. Epic must have known they were on to a winner and its no surprise people are again talking about a movie.

    There are 2 forms of campaign. Standard which is a standard campaign playable on 1 of 4 levels OR there is Arcade mode. This though visually the same gives you points per kill and compares you on a scoreboard to others who have played the game to see who’s killed more of a certain type of enemy and other various such things. Arcade can be played either Private where you invite people to the game OR Public where anyone in the world can search for a game and join together. One thing I did notice however is that on standard campaign anyone on your friends list can jump into your game at any time and as far as I can tell this can't be changed. This sounds great but its not! In one game someone on my friends list joined my game and prompty died 8 times in a row meaning I had to keep restarting and eventually rage quit. At the very least it should give you a prompt on-screen asking you to allow them to join you not just letting them do it as standard

    Multiplayer


    Aside from the Campaign There are 3 different multiplayer type games.


    (Important thing to note with Gears 3 is that due to MP issues with Gears 2 it now runs on dedicated servers)


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    HORDE – Up to 5 players, private or public. 50 waves of enemies with a boss wave on every 10 levels. After every 10 levels the enemies get harder, stronger and there is more of them. This gets SERIOUSLY tough! Building defences using money earnt and co-operative play is a must with this game type but you can see why its so popular and is emulated by numerous other games


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    BEAST – Kind of like Horde except this time you are the locust! You can be one of the smaller weaker locust right up to the near-impossible to kill berserker. 12 Waves to get through though it’s a bit too easy and I did it the very first time I played it. It could do with fleshing out a bit more and it’s a damn shame you cant fight human opposition. A damn fine addition though it feels like a prototype for the next version

    One issue I’ve noticed with both Horde and (especially) Beast is that matchmaking can take an age for no apparent reason


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    VERSUS – standard Multiplayer games (COG vs Locust) broken down into:

    • Team Deathmatch – 15 Team respawns per round

    • Warzone – No respawns, first team to eliminate the opposition wins. 3 rounds

    • Execution – Same as Warzone again No respawns and execution kills only

    • King Of The Hill – Hold onto a specific area (marked with a floating ring) for as long as possible earning a point for every second of capture. Earn extra points for each capture or break you do. First team to 150 points wins

    • Capture The Leader – Each team tries to Capture the randomly assigned opposition Leader for 30 seconds

    • Wingman – 4 teams of 2 players against each other

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    In general the MP side of previous games was not forgiving, had a steep lurning curve and was basically a place dominated by Gnasher shotguns and a killing ground for newbies. This put a lot of people off the MP side of things and it became more of an underground type of game not for the fainthearted. Gears 3 MP is far more balanced, more varied, far more forgiving and though still a steep lurning curve, its nowhere near what it was before. Each weapon can now be used (standard loadout is Gnasher/Sawn Off + Lanceer/Retro Lancer/Hammerburst with other weapons to be picked up in the map) though you will still have people running through the whole thing with Gnashers claiming it a weapon of ‘skill’. Its not a weapon of skill and the beautiful thing about Gears MP now is that EVERY weapon has a way of being countered…the skill is now knowing how to counter and not in the kill itself continually. This is without a doubt the best Gears MP game so far with even with the Hardcore original crowd admitting such in general

    Epic also regularly tweak MP in line with fans complaints/comments. There are also numerous special events that come up like ‘ticker Tuesday’, ‘Torque Bow Tag’ etc. Epic are to be commended on the way they treat and listen to Gears fans and if only other (ALL??) companies would do the same!

    Controls/Mechanics


    Using cover can cause a problem from time to time, the buttons for run and cover are the same, so you’ll be running along holding the button down and then you snap to a wall! Minor though annoying Apart from that one issue mechanics are spot on this time round with Epic tweaking it based on comments.
    Movement is fluid, the recoil is spot on and you feel like you have a weapon in your hands with the vibrations from the controller


    Graphics


    Graphics have always had a grittyness and murkiness to them previously admittedly intentional to give it that gritty vibe it did need a bit more colour in it. I’m pleased to say that the colour isn’t quite as depressing as previous games and there’s a bit more life in the colour palette this time round, though it still purposefully leaves some colour out to retain its gritty dullness
    Graphics themselves have improved, facial animations have hugely improved and there’s real depth in their expressions this time round. Cut scenes especially well done to add to the cinematic vibe Gears has always had and I didn’t notice many issues during gameplay except the writhing of dead enemies bodies (or former parts of bodies) though as this has been the same in all gears games I’m guessing they’ve never bothered sorting it as its no problem causer

    Sound


    Not much has changed in regards to sound as far as I could tell. Weapons sound fantastic as ever, you can hear scuttling enemies coming at you from the sides nicely which gives you a clue and certain enemies shrieks sound great on a surround setup. Maybe would have benefitted from having a proper gaming headset but sounded great on my 5.1 system even if I didn’t have it on loud, though for some cutscenes I had to turn the sound down as it truly roared which was great! This is a game that definitely needs surround to get the scope of things
    Voice acting was spot on as ever but a considerable amount of emotional voice acting was done splendidly

    DLC


    At this stage no DLC has been released but the 1st DLC of 4 is coming out soon. This adds more to the Horde mode. Epic have stated there will be DLC for Horde, MP Maps and Campaign (Now announced to be a 3 hour campaign set before Gears 1 but from the eyes of the enemy as you play as General RAAM). These can be bought seperatly or bought in a ‘season pass’ for a 33% discount. Also available separately (for an extortionate price!) are skin packs for MP weapons some static some dynamic. These don’t add anything to the game and are literally visual only and they do not come as part of the season pass.

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    Verdict


    I wouldn’t touch this game UNLESS you have completed both of the first campaigns, it just wouldn’t make sense plot wise, but if you have you will love every minute of it, despite a few sad moments done exceptionally well (one in particular perfectly created with story, emotion, fantastic graphics, advanced cinematics and the haunting sound of Gary jules Mad World - a song long associated with this game from the very first adverts for Gears 1 - all blended together perfectly into BY FAR the most stunning single scene in all of the Gears games and possibly any game ever and I'm not ashamed to admit I got a bit emotional) that might make you wish you’d never played it! This has to be my personal game of the year so far (bias view though as I’m a huge Gears fan and its my favourite gaming series ever!). Campaign is fantastic though I do think it relies too heavily on set pieces and lacks the same attitude, pace and general toughness of the original campaign. Apart from that Campaign was fantastic and dealt with a couple of poignant moments very well and not cheesy like they could have been. Humour level was perfect too with the banter of the characters and some of the events during the campaign (plenty of funny easter eggs within the game too if you google!). Campaign wasn’t as good gameplay wise as Gears 1 but a much better cinematic story though far better than Gears 2 all-round

    Slight issue - Its too easy! I’ve only had a brief blast of Insane but Hardcore wasn’t particularly Hardcore like it was on previous campaigns which makes me feel they have dumbed it down for people new to the series and the brief Insane blast wasn’t hard either, though its now instant deaths on Insane with no chance of revival!

    MP is an absolute blast and far more varied than previous games so even a newbie too it (like me!) has a chance to get into it online. Great fun with a team or even if you go solo. Still bloody tough though with a steap lurning curve but its not the Gnasher battles alone like it was in previous games

    Horde – perfect but seriously solid as time goes on. My only criticism of this game is that it takes too damn long to play it! Would be better if you could jump in from the level you left at (AFAIK this cant be done but please prove me wrong!). You dont have to do it in one sitting though to unlock achievements

    Beast – fantastic fun but it’s a shame that its so short and is a bit limited. Would be far better if it was like Horde mode a bit more in places! @Epic – why not try joining the two modes together and allowing you to be on either side!

    Finally


    Just want to clarify something. Numerous game publications have said this is the final Gears game.

    WRONG!

    Epic have stated this is the final Gears game based around Delta Squad, which if you play the game you can see. They haven’t killed the Gears franchise off yet and I doubt they will when they can provide games of this calibre that have such a strong and loyal following

    Perfect for the seasoned COG with the added bonus that MP is easy for a new person to get into if its put you off before. A few too many set pieces, a fantastic but what felt a bit half hearted Beast mode and the issue with unwanted people joining your standard campaign mar what would be a perfect 10 otherwise!

    9.5/10


    NB – As I do not own a 3D I cannot review the 3D aspect of this game. If someone has played this in 3D please let me know and well get your verdict added in
     
  2. nice one ODB. great review
     
  3. Nice one mate. Good read that! :thumbsup:
     

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