Delta Squad is back in their last hoorah. Epic has said this is the last game to feature Marcus and the rest of the crew, and with that said, they let you know it. Gears of War 3 is an improvement in every sense of the word spanning the story, multiplayer, and gameplay from the previous installments. As a result, I rarely found myself getting that urge to set the controller down to take a break. It’s very clear that the extra time Epic used to polish, really paid off in the final product.
Action/Story: The pace in which the Locust are thrown at you in the amounts that would make you cry if you were playing by yourself on Insane, is something else. Don’t take that the wrong way, in the midst of all the carnage you realize that there is rarely a dull moment while traversing the savage warzones of Sera. One minute you’ll be at war the Lambent, the next, the Locust Horde will be shooting out of the ground ready to destroy the remnants of the COG forces. The story is engaging, long, and all-around fun to play through. Nothing feels as if it’s not important, everywhere you go and everything you do leads to something bigger keeping that anticipation and excitement alive.
Gameplay: Everything in this game flows really well, from roadie running, snapping into cover, and the way the guns handle, specifically the Retro Lancer and Hammerburst (a notable addition would be the iron sights for the Hammerburst, making it a gun to be reckoned with from a distance). It’s also worth mentioning that the A.I controlled characters are actually helpful and are typically very good about reviving a downed teammate. Although, when you have a downed teammate and several weapons around you, it can become a nuisance to wedge your way in between them to revive that person considering they both use the “X” button as their action.
Dedicated Servers/Multiplayer: This is by the far the greatest improvement to the series, and what that means is no more host advantage. I can’t explain how great it is that Epic decided on this, with the addition of the noted enhancements, this will make Gears 3 multiplayer a serious contender when competing against other AAA titles this and next year. However, Ranked Matches have first priority for dedicated servers, meaning Quick Matches will still be hosted by a player unless there are any servers left over. New multiplayer gametypes give the online experience a fresh feel, Team Deathmatch and Capture the Leader are notably the new gametypes and are just two of several versus modes.
Horde Mode 2.0: If Versus isn’t your thing, you can always jump into the revamped Horde mode with or without friends and have a blast. Gears of War 2 laid the ground work for this fantastic mode and Gears 3 takes it and runs with it, leaving us with a mode that will suck you in for hours.You start with enough credits to purchase a command post, this where you will make your stand against the Locust Horde. This must be done to purchase some other goodies down the road. No more are you restricted to just your rifle, shotgun, and grenades, now you can build turrets, gates, and decoys, each of these upgradable. On specific maps you can even purchase the Silverback Mech. To upgrade these perks to their fullest potential you must spend the money you earn each round. What this does is unlocks the next level of that perk, therefore transforming that barbed wire fence into a badass laser gate. Again, this is the case for turrets and decoys as well. You’ll be battling Brumaks, Corpsers, Berserkers, etc. So it goes without saying, you’re in for a good a time when you load this mode up with friends.
Beast Mode: In this newest game mode, you take control of a Locust character and are tasked with defeating the human forces within a one-minute time limit. There are twelve rounds, and as the game progresses more and more COG Heroes will join the fight. With each kill and destruction of the human forces turrets, gates, etc. you will gain more time to slaughter the COG and Stranded. With each passing round, the more you do, the quicker you’ll unlock the next tier of playable characters. Eventually you can take control of a Berserker, and that’s when the fun really starts.
The Middle Ground:
Sawed-off Shotgun: Now a lot of people see this plaguing the multiplayer, but there are tons of people that prefer this weapon as well. I personally, will only use it when there are several others in the match equipped with it. While you can label it as being “cheap” or being “bad” at the game, it does bring another variable to multiplayer. If you simply rush a player who’s holding a sawed-off, your chances of walking away are slim, however if you use your Lancer or Hammerburst from afar, you can easily counter a sawed-off wielding combatant. It definitely shakes the game up and you must rethink your strategy of attack, with that being said, only time will tell whether this is a welcomed addition. Trust me when I say that I do understand the frustration that the sawed-off breeds but this weapon isn’t going anywhere, so the only thing you can do is adapt. I’m quite sure that at some point this gun will be nerfed to a certain extent, whether it be it’s range or power. My money’s on the former.
No Dedicated Servers in Unranked Matches: This is one of the only gripes I can think of. When you load the game up, it’s obvious that Unranked Matches are the dominant area of multiplayer. As I stated above, you can catch a dedicated server every now and then, but for the most part they are player hosted. Speaking of, I don’t see myself having the problems I had running into host players from Gears 2, but it’s still prevalent at times.
This is the best entry in the series and is a must-buy for Gears fans. If you’re even remotely interested in Gears of War 3 and you want something to take the edge off (i.e. beating someone with their own arm), or even give Call of Duty: Black Ops a break, I would absolutely say pick this up. While there are some hiccups here and there, I’m sure we’ll be seeing updates that address most of the problems that typically lie within multiplayer. This is one you’ll be glad to have in your collection.
This review was based on a retail copy of the game, purchased by the reviewer.