The Amazing Spider-Man (2012)

It’s Like the Movie … With 800% More Cross-Breeds

The Amazing Spider-Man (2012)I found myself terribly torn by today’s game.  There have been games like the one that I’m reviewing today that were some of the most fun and enjoyable experiences that I can remember in gaming, and others still that reached the level of mediocrity at best.  When this game came out, it looked to be a return to form for the series, but I still had my trepidations.  I wasn’t prepared to waste $60 for a game like the most recent few, and I just wasn’t interested in taking the risk.  I put it on my Gamefly queue instead, and eventually it arrived.  Interested to see which type of game it resembled more, I started playing The Amazing Spider-Man, developed by Beenox, published by Activision, and featuring the voices of Sam Riegel, Nolan North, Kari Wahlgren, Steven Blum, Claudia Black, Ali Hillis, Bruce Campbell, Fred Tatasciore, and Stan Lee.

A few months after a mediocre film was made about him, Peter Parker (Sam Riegel) and his girlfriend Gwen Stacy (Kari Wahlgren) sneak into restricted areas of Oscorp to find Alistair Smythe (Nolan North) attempting to clean up after Dr. Curt Connors’ (Steven Blum) experimentation with cross-species DNA, making him into a giant Lizard and Peter into a man of spider.  Well, the man-spidering of his DNA does not go unnoticed by the other hybrid creatures in the facility, and it causes them to break from their bondage and attack the facility.  Gwen gets bitten in the process and she is quarantined along with Smythe and others to quell the infection.  Desperate to find a cure for Gwen, Peter frees Dr. Connors and sets him to work creating a cure while he tries to capture the freed cross-breeds before the infection gets out of control.

So what’s the final decision?  Was this game a return to the free roaming Spider-Man that I loved, or is it another mediocre addition to the series?  The answer is “Yes.”  It’s both.  The bulk of the game felt pretty average, but there’s no denying that I’m a fan of the free roaming parts, and I’m very thankful they went back to that.  The bulk of the story was pretty mundane, much like the movie that spawned it.  In fact, the story of the game is very similar to the movie, at least the part that pertains to Dr. Connors.  And since that story alone had already been told and it was necessary to prolong the story of the game, it seems that they just took that part and added more creatures.  And since they didn’t have that many creatures in the canon that fit the bill, they just turned the other characters with various origin stories into cross-breeds, like Rhino.  Another thing it had in common with the movie was that Spider-Man’s trademark quips never really landed.  Spider-Man is supposed to have killer one-liners, man!  That’s something you just gotta get right.  I would say that the occasion when they worked the most was in most of the interactions between Spider-Man and the reporter.  Altogether, the story didn’t really offer that much, but I can’t say that it was awful.

There’s not a whole lot to say about the look of the game.  It looks really good and I had scant few complaints about it.  What complaints I might have is that the faces never looked realistic, but the rest of the stuff in the game looked so good and set the mood so well that it made up for it.  Also, I’m beginning to think that there’s a very good chance I’d be able to make it around New York without a GPS because of these free-roaming Spider-Man games and their attention to detail in making New York as accurate as they can.  I would be looking for a collectable and see that it was located in Time Square or Central Park or other random places, and I knew where they were without having to look that up, even though I’ve never been to New York.  Well, I might not be able to make it around the city unless I was swinging through it on webs, but I might be able to translate that into walking.

The free-roaming stuff was really what sold this game to me the most.  I missed that aspect of the Spider-Man games so much.  The last three Spider-Man games I remember playing were all really linear, and that just made my penis soft.  That doesn’t feel like Spider-Man!  It doesn’t feel right to just be Spider-Man just after he showed up at a museum or a linear back alley and making me follow a straight line to the boss at the end.  So this game had that much going for it.  It also had boss battles, and I appreciated those because they all felt really epic, even though they really weren’t much more than quick time button pressing events.  There wasn’t a whole lot to the other fights either.  A lot of pressing X to punch faces, and occasionally pressing B to finish someone.

The achievements in this game are not entirely difficult, but they can be fairly time consuming, extremely tedious, and inevitably I gave up with about 800.  There are 700 comic books to collect in the city of New York, and finding them is not helped by the fact that every one that Spidey picks up causes him to say something that sounds like a sales pitch for comic books.  Things like “Cover price went up, but still worth it.”  But these weren’t that bad for me because I enjoyed swinging around the city aimlessly.  But there were also magazines to find inside the linear levels, and I didn’t have the patience to go back in for those.  I also wasn’t interested enough in the game to try to go back for the second playthrough on Hard.  But still, 800 is close enough for a game I rented for 3 days.

I was happy to see that Amazing Spider-Man returned the Spider-Man games to their beloved past of free-roaming games, but this outing still ending up being expectedly mediocre.  The story was nothing special, the fights were easy, and they went way overboard with the collectables, but there is a good amount of enjoyment to be gained from swinging around New York as the be-webbed one.  I’d say there’s enough in this game that it’s worth a go, but probably not until you can find it for around $20.  The Amazing Spider-Man gets “The Vermin” out of “The Rhino.”

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Rage (2011)

Oh, I’ve Got Some Rage Now…

I was very excited to get my hands on this game since the moment I heard about it.  id Software has been one of my favorite developers since Wolfenstein in 1992, though they really stuck with me with Doom.  Quake was also a very good game.  When I heard that they were developing another game, I was already on board.  I saw a lot about it at E3, talking about the fact that all of their environments are hand painted and not just a random texture generator.  When it finally came to the store shelves, I didn’t buy it.  It was a busy holiday season for gaming and funds were tight.  But when it went on sale on Black Friday, the time had come.  This game is Rage, developed by id Software, published by Bethesda Softworks, and includes the voice acting talents of John Goodman, Dee Bradley Baker, Nolan North, Phil Lamarr, Tara Strong, and Claudia Black.

In the year 2029, an asteroid strikes the planet, killing a large amount of people.  The remaining people in the wasteland have huddled together in communities.  Some of them are just regular people, some of them are bandits preying on those regular people, some of them are mutants preying on anything.  There’s also an ominous authority figure called … what was it? … Oh yes, the Authority.  And, of course, there’s a resistance against them with the equally as clever moniker, the Resistance.  We play as a person that emerges from an Ark, buried deep underground and kept in cryostasis for 106 years.  We emerge and are greeted by a member of the Ghost clan (a group of violent bandits that look like Quan Chi from Mortal Kombat), but saved by Dan Hagar (John Goodman).  From this point on, we help people around various towns with their odd jobs to gain reputation in those towns.  Eventually, we join the Resistance and take on the Authority, who is hunting us because Ark Survivor’s apparently have access to something they want.

I was fairly devastated by this game, but the majority of the reason will be in the next paragraph.  This is a pretty classic first person shooter with not much by way of gameplay to separate it from the pack, but id Software arguably created the genre, so it’s all pretty smooth and comfortable.  They don’t add much of anything to the gun types.  They have the standard machine guns, pistol, shotguns, but they do add a boomerang type device called a Wingstick.  You could toss this out, get a decapitation, and have it return to you.  The weapon was nice enough, but it became pretty useless later in the game when it would only knock the enemy’s helmet off and allow them to keep shooting at you.  The enemies varied in type and look a large amount, ranging from bandits dressed like indians, bandits in armor, and the robotic, heavily-armored Authority.  Each one looked pretty different, and also moved different.  The mutants would run along walls and roll, making them difficult to shoot.  Part of the problem with this game is a problem I’ve had with other FPS games in recent history: the headshot.  There was a time when the headshot was all you needed to take out the regular enemies.  This first began to change when Dead Space came out, touting their strategic dismemberment and how a simple headshot would not be all it took to defeat your foes.  But I liked the headshot.  You have to be pretty good to get the headshot and you should be awarded for it.  This game makes the headshot pretty insignificant since most enemies are armored and a headshot would mostly just remove their helmet.  I want headshots to have their power back!  Especially since this game had a crossbow that the game claimed would help you get into locations with stealth, but without being able to one-shot kill your enemy with a headshot, a crossbow shot to the head just gets their attention and they start shooting, throwing stealth out the window.  The look of the game is pretty glorious.  Though you occasionally need to wait a beat or two for them to load up fully, you can see that they took the time to paint these textures.  The environments are ugly, but beautifully executed ugly.  What should you expect of the environments in a post apocalyptic game?  The game is kind of open world, allowing you to leave a town and drive around the wasteland a little, but there are certain paths to take and no real reason to do it unless you’re on a mission, so that turns it more towards linear.  The level maps repeat fairly frequently, but they make you take different paths through them and that keeps them fairly fresh.

::SPOILER ALERT::  It’s not much of a spoiler alert actually.  I won’t spoil the ending of this game because there wasn’t one.  I was playing through the second disc of the game, doing what felt like an average mission that might be closing the third act.  I get to the top of this structure, press a button, fight off mutants, press a button, fight off mutants, and then press the final button and … um … wait a second?  Where’d it go?  They completely forgot to write a ending.  You press that button, a cinematic plays of arks popping out of the ground, and the credits started playing.  For joking purposes, I half thought about stopping my review abruptly right about now, but then I realized how annoying that would be, which is something the people that made Rage didn’t realize.  It felt like it was rushed to completion, but I never saw the demand for this game reaching such a boiling point that they should decide to release it before it was finished, or crap out some really lackluster ending.  So why?  If you had the time, use it to make the game amazing.  Everything else in the game worked very well, but the ending was so disappointing that it tarnished my memories of the rest of the game.  ::END SPOILERS::

There is apparently multiplayer to this game as well, but the ending made me so angry I didn’t even look at it.  From what I can gather, it takes the mildly entertaining vehicle combat used during trips from one location of another in the game and makes you face off with others.  I don’t know, and I don’t care.

It’s not possible to call this game a complete loss.  It’s a gorgeous looking game with some of the tightest shooting mechanics you can find, as well as enemies that give an added degree of challenge with their acrobatic maneuvers.  It’s a completely satisfying game that you will really wish they had finished.  The ending is just so rushed and crappy that it makes me feel like I just wasted my time.  But I didn’t.  I say this game is worth a rental, but know what you’re getting yourself into by the time you reach the game’s end.  Rage gets “…

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Pitch Black (2000)

You’re Dancing on Razor Blades Here

Today’s review request came from a coworker of mine by the name of Fabio.  The movie is a cult hit that is about 50% sci-fi, 50% action.  It’s also the movie that introduced me to Vin Diesel … so I’m not sure how I feel about that.  But we’ll worry about that when someone makes me sit through the Fast and the Furious or the XXX movies.  Today, we talk Riddick, or more specifically, Pitch Black, directed by David Twohy, and starring Radha Mitchell, Vin Diesel, Cole Hauser, Keith David, Rhiana Griffith, Lewis Fitz-Gerald, and Claudia Black (FROM UNCHARTED!  OMG TO THE MAX!).

There is a ship flying somewhere with some people on it when something happens and it crashes.  I am real good make writing!  The captain dies in the accident and so the docking pilot, Carolyn Fry (Radha Mitchell), must take over as acting captain with police officer, William J. Johns (Cole Hauser), as her military adviser.  Besides being stranded on a really sunny planet, the other major concern for all people living is a man named Richard B. Riddick (Vin Diesel) – a murderer Johns is transporting to a prison planet – who has escaped and disappeared.  The people go out looking for civilization and find an abandoned facility with a ship they can get working.  Riddick decides to hero it up (kinda) for the promise of being able to disappear when they leave.  But there turns out to be a problem: nighttime is coming for the first time in 22 years, and with nighttime comes big bad creatures that start picking off the remaining crew.  Riddick becomes more necessary to the remaining crew because of a surgery he’s had to make himself able to see in the dark.  Will Riddick be a hero, or does he have ulterior motivation that will not benefit the crew?

This movie was not well received by critics, but was fairly well liked by the average Joe.  Being halfway in between, I decided I must declare this movie “meh”.  This movie probably should’ve connected with me more than it did, but it wasn’t able.  They story itself was fine enough.  I like a sci-fi movie and this was definitely that.  You’ve got space travel, alien planet, strange creatures, super powers, and plenty of things that easily qualify it as sci-fi.  But it also went for a lot suspense that I just didn’t feel was there.  And when you attempt suspense and fail, you end up with long, drawn out scenes with you waiting for something to finally happen.  The few fight scenes that were there were pretty fast and uneventful.  Riddick hangs down from the ceiling and attempts to choke Johns with his legs, this goes on for a bit, Johns starts hitting Riddick with a baton, Riddick falls down.  Back to square one.  They try to build a lot of tension in the scenes that are in total darkness with the threat of deadly creatures that they can’t see, but when one finally gets somebody, it’s over pretty quickly.  They, admirably, spent a decent amount of time developing some of the characters so that we were interested in them and kind of cared about.  It was mainly just Fry, Johns, Riddick, Jack, and Imam that were developed.  Everyone else just had a timer over their head before they were picked off.  The look was also pretty good for the time and the amount of money they probably got for this movie.  The first half of the movie is so damned bright that you sometimes can’t make out what you’re looking at.  This was nice because it bleached your eyes and made the darkness that much deeper when it shows up.  They used shadow very nicely.  There are scenes when Riddick slowly disappears into the shadow that are nicely executed and a nice scene where one of the crew members is bleeding out in the darkness, lit only by a bottle of alcohol turned into a Molotov lamp, and he spits alcohol onto it, creating a burst of flame and showing he’s surrounded by creatures.  That doesn’t end well for him, but it looked cool for us.

The performances were surprisingly fine.  Radha Mitchell didn’t really surprise me.  I’ve seen her play a character at wit’s end before and she does it here very well.  She tries to keep a strong front but it cracks as more and more pressure is heaped upon her that she was in no way ready for.  Vin Diesel actually put on a solid performance, but there were problems with it.  Part of it was the fact that he always talks in a very raspy whisper and I can barely make out what he’s saying.  I guess that’s supposed to make him appear strong or something.  The writing takes away from the character somewhat.  He is seemingly omnipotent, being able to hear and smell things that aren’t happening anywhere near him, and a lot of his lines are cliche tough guy lines.  But I think Vin Diesel did what he could with the character and at least made him interesting.  Cole Hauser’s character was pretty interesting as well.  He starts off being portrayed as a good guy, but a drug problem, hidden identity, and some less than admirable intentions make us realize that Riddick is the actual anti-hero.  None of the other characters, not even my beloved Claudia Black, made much of an impression on me.  Mainly ’cause most of ’em died.

Pitch Black got me started in a good way by playing a commercial for Escape from Butcher Bay, a very revolutionary and awesome game from back in original X-Box days, but then took me down into meh territory with some bad, or typical, writing and less than inspired fight scenes.  I give it points for it’s solid visuals and decent performances, but it failed to capture my imagination.  I find myself on the fence about it, so I recommend giving the movie a chance.  Not necessary to buy it right off the bat, but it’s worth a rental to formulate your own opinions.  Personally, I give Pitch Black a “They say most of your brain shuts down during cryo-sleep” out of “You think I’m trying to prove something?”

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Uncharted 3: Drake’s Deception (2011)

Did He Save You From Your Life, or Damn You to This One?

It’s time for the review of my most anticipated release of this year. It took me a long time to stop saying that Final Fantasy VII was my favorite game of all time, and when I did, I switched it for Uncharted 2. So, obviously, the release to the third part in the Uncharted series was very exciting to me. Could it live up to my expectations? Bet you wanna know, don’t you? Well too bad! REVIEW OVER! Uncharted 3: Drake’s Deception is brought to us by Naughty Dog and Sony Computer Entertainment.

Our hero, Nathan Drake (Nolan North), and our hero’s old dude, Victor Sullivan (Richard McGonagle), are meeting a pretty obviously evil dude named Talbot (Robin Atkin Downes) in a pub. They are in the middle of a negotiation to trade cash money for Nate’s precious ring from his ancestor, Sir Francis Drake. Nate and Sully decide that the money is counterfeit and refuse the trade, which starts a fight they must face-punch their way out of. In the alley outside the bar, Nate and Sully are surrounded by Talbot and Charlie Cutter (Graham McTavish) and Talbot’s client, Katherine Marlowe (Rosalind Ayres). She steals Nate’s ring and Charlie shoots Nate and Sully in the chest. The series has ended … if you’re dumb enough to believe the two main characters die in the first 5 minutes. We flashback 20 years to when Nate met Sully and when Nate stole the ring he wears. Back in the present and SURPRISE! Nate and Sully weren’t really dead. They were in cahoots with Charlie. The three meet up with Chloe Frazer (Claudia Black) and trail Marlowe. In her secret hideout, they find out she’s after the lost city of Ubar, which is apparently a super sweet city lost in the Rub ‘al Khali desert. As per usual, Nate must get to the special place before the random bad guy gets there and takes something that he will not use in a nice way. Also, they meet up with Elena Fisher (Emily Rose) in Yemen.

I believe this game would be much higher rated if it were Uncharted 2 and Uncharted 2 were Uncharted 3. It feels more like a midpoint than a successor. As with the other two games in the series, this is an action-adventure game with a good deal of platforming, some face-punching, and a good deal of shooting. The platforming works very well with no complaints. In Uncharted 2, the climbing areas would change as you made your way through them to keep them lively and keep you on your toes, and they brought this into Uncharted 3. At one point you find yourself trapped in a burning building. You shimmy up beams until they crack in half and you need to improvise. You run up stairs and they crumble beneath you, but they become less helpful grips on the wall. All very fluid and fun. The melee system takes a big leap forward in this game. It’s getting dangerously close to Arkham City quality. It handles roughly the same: punch faces with square, counter with triangle, tap the left stick twice to throw a Nate-arang. It’s a welcome upgrade because the melee system in Uncharted 2 wasn’t bad but didn’t impress. Of course, in Uncharted 2 you didn’t have to use it all that often. In Uncharted 3, there are entire parts where you’re just surrounded by multiple enemies and you have to fight your way out. And it’s not bothersome because they improved the melee so much. They also made it possible to do an instant finisher if you were in the right place. If you were standing next to them, you could finish the enemy with a bottle, a wrench, a pan, or even a fish. Not a joke. It’s funny, but it’s not technically a joke. But the greater majority of the gameplay here is going to be shooting … and therein lies the problem. I don’t know how it happened, but Naughty Dog done fucked up the aiming mechanics. I recently decided that it would be easier to run an HDMI cable through my wall so I could leave my PS3 in the living room and not have to move it back and forth into my room when I wanted to play it. The shooting mechanics were messed up to the point where I really thought the thin wall separating my PS3 from me was messing up the responsiveness of my controller. Turns out they just fucked it up. This is very strange since there were no problems whatsoever with the shooting mechanics of Uncharted 2, so you would assume they could just copy and paste the same code and at least leave it the same quality as their previous super awesome game. Instead, they messed with it and now it can be extremely annoying to try to shoot an enemy because the slightest touch of the analog stick would either not be registered or it would jump past the enemy’s head and you would just miss. Naughty Dog has promised a patch to fix their sloppy shooting mechanics, but I’ve already got the Platinum trophy for the game, so who knows whether or not I’ll be playing it when they fix it. But, to be fair, the shooting is not so sloppy that it will ruin the game, it will just hurt more than it should because of the game that preceded it. The last boss was also much easier than Uncharted 2’s boss and was slightly underwhelming.

The story, as usual, is well delivered. I think it may be getting to a point where it’s dangerous for Uncharted because all 3 games follow the same basic routine. Nate’s looking for something (mainly out of a sense of adventure), someone evil is also looking for it (mainly out of a desire to rule the world), and Nate takes it upon himself to stop them (mainly out of the fact that he’s the hero of the game). But one couldn’t say they retread the same path since they always go to completely new landscapes each time. The first Uncharted was mainly jungle, the second mainly snow, and the third mainly desert. I don’t remember the first one super well, but I know that Uncharted 2 and 3 do share some pretty epic set pieces. You explore and fight through a burning chateau, a sinking boat, a scorching desert, and a gorgeous city hidden inside a sandstorm. All of them are beautiful. Except for the desert. That sumbitch almost kills us. Douche bag desert. There was also a section that was VERY reminiscent of the scene in Last Crusade when Indiana Jones was trying to take out the tank. I think that even happened around Yemen, but I haven’t seen that movie in some time. But the characters have been well developed over three games and that makes you care for them. You never expected Nate and Sully to be dead in the first scene because why would they show that in the trailer, but there is a pretty surprising scene near the end that was shocking. I did find myself a bit bummed at the end that they didn’t really go that supernatural in this one as they did in the previous two. They had a hallucinogenic water thing going on that had a myth surrounding it about genie’s and some junk, but it’s not nearly as supernatural as the other games. And the water does set up a big fuck you thing like TV shows and movies like to do when something big and game changing happens but FOOLED YOU, it was a dream. That’s kind of cheap, but I saw it coming and don’t want to give it away if you don’t. There was also a part where Nate trips balls because of the water and that made me kind of nauseous. One thing I didn’t like about the story was that there was some backstory between Nate and Elena that was never really explained. They’re kind of awkward around each other in this one and they mention how she’s wearing a ring he gave her, so it’s kind of implied that they may have been engaged, or at least serious, in a relationship together and then it ended but she wasn’t super angry about it for some reason. I wanted to know what the backstory was but it was never explained.

They bring back the same voice crew from the previous games and they still knock it out of the park. Nolan North plays Nate as the cocky, Indiana Jones type character that he’s always played, but he’s still very charming. Sully is the father figure that I never had … just kidding. But he is a great father figure for Nate. Talbot is an asshole that really makes me want to kill him, and then make me happy when I do. Marlowe is more of a hands-off evil person that looks almost exactly like Helen Mirren, and I was a little bummed that they didn’t actually get Helen Mirren to do the voice. But the person they got did fine. She was a manipulative bitch as a good evil person should be. She tries to make Nate blame Sully for getting him stuck in the pattern of always being about to get killed. Chloe’s sexiness was potted down a bunch for this game and she wasn’t in the game that much, but she did have a good couple of funny lines. Elena was Elena, but I love her so it’s good. Charlie Cutter was an odd character. I felt it was strange that he was this brand new character that everybody in the game knew except for us. Just ’cause the crew has signed off on you doesn’t mean we’ll like you, buddy. You gotta earn it. All of the character’s interactions with each other were very natural and real, and usually had a good funny touch to them. I especially liked the conversation about cell phones that they had when Nate had been trying to contact Chloe and Charlie and he said he ran out of minutes on his phone and Chloe’s was broken. I’m not going to transcribe it or anything; you’re supposed to play this thing.

I admit I was bummed out, but when I look back, it’s still not a bad game. The only reason it seems bad is that it followed a game that was so amazing. The platforming is great, the melee is greatly improved, but they messed up the shooting. The characters and story is great and set in some of the most epic settings to date. It treads similar ground to Uncharted 2, but stands out as a great game on it’s own. Once they release the patch, this game will be amazing, but still a step down from Uncharted 2. If you own a PS3, I still think you should own this game, or at least play it. It’s a pretty easy Platinum too. The hardest thing about getting Platinum is beating it on Crushing, which isn’t that bad. So get this game already. …DO IT! I’ll give this game “Uncharted 3” out of “Uncharted 2”. Get it? ‘Cause it’s slightly worse than Uncharted 2? Eh, go fuck yourself.

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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.