Gears of War 3 (2011)

Let’s … Get … RASPY!!!

It finally came out. A game most proclaimed was the “most anticipated game of 2011” has finally been released and, after I finished playing a game that will be reviewed later, I was able to dive into Gears of War 3 … and beat it about 24 hours after I started it. Gears of War 3 is a third-person, cover-based shooter brought to us by Epic Games and Microsoft Studios.

As always with series, I feel the need to catch you up on the story of the other games first. In Gears 1, you start as your main character, Marcus Fenix, in jail and broken out by your friend Dom. You are COG’s (The Coalition of Ordered Governments) troops and a group of creatures called the Locust have attacked humanity. And you are the only one raspy enough to stop them! You lead your team of Dom, former thrashball player Cole Train (baby woooo), and the asshole mechanic Baird. Your main goal is to retrieve a resonator that will map out the Locust hive, in order to later deploy a Lightmass Bomb and destroy them. Then you do and that’s basically that. In comes Gears 2 and shows us that that was not basically that. The Locust survived and have found a way to sink human cities. We get down there and see it’s a giant worm that the Locust are using. We kill it. Dom finds his wife trapped in a cage in the underground tunnels, but she’s been tortured and traumatized so much she can’t even speak. Dom reluctantly euthanizes her. We later discover that the Locust are at war with another creature known as the Lambent. We decide that we are going to sink the city of Jacinto and flood the Locust tunnels with water, killing Locust and Lambent alike. We meet the Locust Queen, Myrrah, who admits she had the same plan so that she could destroy humans and Lambent alike. But we do it first. Nah nah nuh nah nah!

Now that we’re all caught up, we dive into Gears 3. We start off on a boat as it gets attacked by a Lambent Leviathan. With help from Baird and Cole Train (baby woooo), we kill it. Once we get off, we might a dying douchebag named Prescott (who I don’t remember, but he apparently pissed off the COG’s by ditching them a while back) who tells Marcus that his father is alive and has a cure to the Lambent problem. Marcus, who had previous thought his father to be dead, is not pleased to find out that Prescott had Adam Fenix kidnapped and taken to an island called Azura to work on such a cure. Our mission, if we choose to accept it, is to rescue him and destroy the Lambent.

This game had been called the “most anticipated game of 2011” by many people I’ve come into contact with. It’s not the case for me, however, because Uncharted 3 and Arkham City are probably more anticipated for me. I like Gears of War a lot though, don’t get me wrong. To me this game is a great game to cooperatively play with my friend Jordan, and it’s great fun for that. Of course, when he has to leave an hour after we start, I’m probably gonna finish the game without him (and I did). But, for me, the Gears games have been lots of fun but I wouldn’t put them near the top of my favorite games of all time or anything.

I think the story is probably the biggest failing of this game. It’s fine and everything, but it’s kind of predictable and lackluster. There have been a couple of great moments though. I still remember when Dom had to kill his wife. That was a very emotional scene. And when it was referenced in this game, I didn’t need a reminder. Other scenes, like Marcus’ fathers death, I am still wondering if I witnessed in the game or if it happened before the game. And apparently we thought he died in a helicopter crash of sorts, so I have that in common with Marcus. And now I can only assume my dad will come back when it’s time for me to end the inevitable zombie holocaust. I won’t spoil them, but this game had one or two good emotional scenes to it but, frankly, I saw them both coming. I will spoil something in a way though: It is a very, VERY bad idea to wear a helmet as a COG. Know what I’m sayin’, Carmine?

The gameplay is probably the finest thing about this game. It’s nearly flawless. The guns mostly feel great, although I admit I only typically use two of them (the Lancer and the Longshot) unless they’re not available. They added two (or perhaps more if I didn’t notice them) new guns for this game, the much touted Retro Lancer and the Digger. The Retro Lancer was like a shitty version of the regular Lancer and I didn’t use it unless I had to. The Digger was a nice gun though, but a sonofabitch when the enemy had it. You basically shoot a grenade into the ground and it digs it’s way over to you, pops up and explodes. The cover system works smoothly and I very rarely had a situation where I couldn’t get it to do what I wanted it to. And that was mostly when I had an enemy in front of me and at my side. And I didn’t have this problem often, but it’s highly annoying on the 2 or 3 times it happened, but your dumbass AI teammates occasionally found themselves disinterested in picking you up from a downed position, instead letting you bleed out slowly and having to restart.

Graphics are probably the thing they do second best here. You don’t really get to notice it too much throughout the game because the greater majority of the landscapes are ashy, broken, gross-looking cities with all the color bled out of them. But in this game, when you head underwater and when you reach the last level, you get to see the lush landscapes and beautiful colors and start to realize that these guys do graphics right.

The voice acting also works nicely. John DiMaggio plays Marcus Fenix in a much different way than he played Bender. He’s the raspiest of raspy. This caused many jokes over the years between me and Jordan, but it still works for the part. Cole Train (baby woooo) does his part as well, and is less annoying in this game than in previous incarnations. The same can be said of Baird. Also I noticed that Claudia Black, who I know as the voice of Chloe in Uncharted 2, plays Sam in this game.

I actually played the multiplayer a bit! Isn’t that wacky!? The versus options offer your regular modes: Team Deathmatch, Warzone (Team Deathmatch with one life), Execution (Team Deathmatch with executions), Capture the Leader (Flag), King of the Hill, and Wingman (Team Deathmatch with a partner). Horde makes a return in Gears 3; a mode where you and some buddies try to survive round after round of increasingly difficult enemies. Then they added a new mode called Beast mode. This, to me, is a swagger jack of Left 4 Dead. It’s Horde, but you play as the enemy. As you do better and better, you unlock more and more powerful enemies (although my favorite for most situations was the weakest enemy that ran up to enemies and made itself explode). At first I found it very difficult to get used to (much like playing as one of the zombies in Left 4 Dead was) but once you got a handle on it, it was pretty fun. If you want a nice change from a normal first-person shooter multiplayer, this is similar but different enough to keep you interested. I had a few problems with glitches though. In one of my first matches, someone went to trade an item with me and when I did, I froze in place with the rest of the game going on around me. Then I was booted for not participating.

I say this is a game worthy buying. If you’ve played Gears 1 and 2 then you should also pick up the pinnacle of their game making and find out how the series ends. I give this game a “RASPY!!!” out of “raspy”.

And, as always, please rate, comment, and/or like this post and others. It may help me get better.