Gears of War 3 is the conclusion of Epic Games genre defining third-person science fiction shooter. With Gears of War 3 come the end of the survival for the humans of Sera’s struggle against the relentless forces of the Locust and the threat they both share; the Lambent. The story ends with some leftover questions and the multi-player isn’t as stable or solid as possible, but there is just something about Gears of War that make people find it completely worth the wait.
Plot [Spoiler Warning]:
You enter the game 5 years after the second Gears of War where you sunk Jacinto and pretty much put an end to whatever stronghold the Locust had left. You are sitting on a boat sailing through the sea as you are informed that the flooding has also managed to slow down the lambent, though their stalks are still riddled throughout the planet. You also come to find that Chairman Prescott has since abandoned the Gears and the COG’s have disbanded and spread to the last remaining safe zones on the planet while Delta Squad is stationed on a Raven’s Nest Class Carrier to avoid further Lambent incursion.
While Cole and his squad are looking for supplies, Chairman Prescott arrives on the carrier, providing Marcus with a data disk that shows his father Adam Fenix still alive and well. The ship is then attacked by a Lambent Leviathan forcing Marcus and his team to defend the ship from being sunk. Cole and his team arrive just in time to help defeat the Leviathan but the carrier is far too damaged to continue sailing. Upon inspection Marcus find that Chairman Prescott is mortally wounded and before his death gives Delta Squad the codes with the location of a secret base known as Azura where Adam is being held. Leaving some of the remaining COGs to help the survivors, Delta Squad set off for Anvil Base where the code can be decoded so Marcus can get the location of Azura.
Upon embarking your course, Delta Squad must pass-through Locust-controlled bases which force the Locust Queen, Myyrah, to alert all her troops to hinder Delta Squad’s path through their territory. While traveling you rescue Dizzy, a skilled mechanic and driver. Once Delta Squad arrives at Anvil Gate and help Hoffman defend against a Locust onslaught, they review the code and find the location of Azura but discover it is protected by a man-made Maelstorm, preventing arrival by air or by sea. Hoffman suggests taking a submarine to reach the island and points out the location of one located in the ruins of Char, a nearby city, but they will need to fuel the sub to which Dom suggests a fueling station in Mercy, which is also the home of his dead wife Maria.
At Mercy, the COGs discover humans have become Lambent from Imulsion poisoning, and fear the infection might spread. At the fueling station, Delta Team is surrounded by Lambent forces and Dom uses a truck to drive into the storage tanks and incinerating the Lambent in the explosion but killing Dom in the process allowing Marcus and the others to escape and head to Char where they find, repair and fuel the submarine and head off towards Azura.
After slipping under the Maelstorm, they find Azure is a fashioned resort. As they fight off the Locust that are also trying to get to Adam, the COGs discover that Prescott had knowledge that Emergence Day was coming, as he had ordered the construction of Azura and brought the world’s elite to it prior to the appearance of the Locust. Delta Team gets in contact with Adam through the security system on the island and explains he found a cure to stop the Lambent but needs the COGs help to execute it. Marcus and his team fight through the Locust to shut down the Maelstorm generator in order to allow sea and air backup to arrive on the island. As Lambent forces begin to appear on the island, the COGs make their way to a hotel where Adam is being kept. En route they are confronted by Myyrah who reveals that Adam has been working with her for twenty years and refuses Delta Team to complete their objective. After dispatching Myyrah, the squad reaches Adam’s room, and has a brief reunion between Marcus and Adam. Before leaving, Adam explains that the Imulsion is a living parasite adapting itself both human and Locust bodies to create the Lambent. Adam explains that he has developed an energy wave that, like a neutron bomb, will only destroy any cell infected by Imulsion. While it will kill the Lambent, it will also kill the Locust troops as well due to a lack of time to find a cure.
Marcus and his squad escort Adam to the roof of the hotel where the energy generator for his cure sits. The COGs defend against Myyrah’s attack as the machine powers up. Eventually, the machine reaches full power, sending a surge across Sera, killing all the Locust and Lambent. Adam reveals that he will die shortly as well, having infused himself with Imulsion to test his cure, and tells Marcus to live his life to the fullest before he is turned to ash and crumbles. As Marcus agonizes over the loss of his father, Myyrah, still alive from the last attack, she proceeds to walk up to Marcus bashing the entire existence of Adam and how he deserved to die, only to be stabbed by Marcus using Dom’s knife, killing the Locust Queen. As COGs forces celebrate the end of the war, Marcus continues to mourn the loss of his family, but Anya reminds him that his father’s last words and that now, thanks to them, they have a tomorrow.
The game has the same feel as the previous Gears of War titles, which means it is a cover based shooter with plenty of pretty walls and cover to stare at for what the game told me was an hour and thirty minutes. They added a few new weapons to the arsenal, one of which being the retro lancer which gives you the option to run up on enemies, stab enemies in the chest, raise them into the air and body slam them onto the ground. They also added a slew of new enemies, most of which only set the bar higher for rage quits when playing through on Insane mode.
There are a few things I noticed they changed, one of which was the ability for enemies to punch you to prevent you from using your lancer to cut them in half. Another was that you cannot climb walls with heavy objects anymore (like the chain-gun or shield). However, those are just minor changes that don’t completely change your entire gaming experience.
Epic games knew this was the last in the series, so they rightly gave their all to make this game as long and extensive as possible. The game runs for about at least 10 hours if you are playing on the hardest difficulty, on normal you might be able to beast it out through 7. There weren’t parts where you felt the game was getting to long, giving you a feel as if the game was a lot shorter than it really was. While this was nice, it also got to be annoying when going back through trying to get all the collectables and realizing this game was in fact much longer than it felt during the nostalgia filled first play-through.
I will say that there are a lot of unnecessary parts, like the constant reminder that Dom’s wife is dead, it feels like they just can’t seem to stop mentioning it, that and the annoyance of having Baird and Sam bickering for almost an entire act and everyone being awkward around Marcus about Dom’s death. I understand they are supposed to add depth to the characters, but after a while it just starts to get almost obnoxious to points where you lose sympathy for the character and gain hatred for Dom.
For those who have played versus on previous gears, nothing has changed. Shotguns are still overtly cheap, the aiming and cover controls are still too clunky to have a fun round and the lack of decent map planning makes most rounds to be lackluster in the variety of weapons on the field. I mostly was forced to just sit behind cover and wait for people who either pulled some magic shit and killed me with a shotgun using the reaction time of a paranoid cold war survivor or somehow would get downed and then their friend would manage to use a one-shot and kill me from across the field before I can finish them off.
They also lack an ‘assist’ stat so if an enemy is downed and a teammate runs up and kill them like a dick, you are out of a kill. So I mostly just stood back and stole kills the entire time since it seemed easier than doing the work myself which wasn’t much fun to begin with. Another annoyance was the respawn lock which once you run out of respawns you are stuck waiting until either your team some-how manages to re-earn them or you just sit there watching as your team gets slaughtered. The Versus mode could have been heavily worked on, but somehow people find it fun, so I guess kudos to those people. I just feel like as a multi-player system, it is really unbalanced and heavily lacking any kind of intelligence to be good at. “Pick corner and shotgun” as a strategy should not be a legitimate strategy that works.
Horde mode has been improved greatly, making it almost impossible to stop playing. They added a base system where you can purchase and build fences, decoys and turrets which come in real handy around that 10th wave when you have two Berserkers coming at you and as many boomers are the game could spawn just tearing you a new one. I personally found this to be the best of all the multi-player game modes, and it almost makes up for have two completely garbage modes which ironically enough are far more popular.
The last is Beast mode, which is just terrible. You play as the Locust and you try to kill human survivors. Which is all good and fun until you realize you have to purchase the enemy you want to be, and can only earn money by playing as cheap Locust first like tickers and grunts which gets you almost nothing as far as kills. There is again also a large problem with kill stealing so it is very hard to continue to earn money. Also, it takes far too long to unlock the other sets of Locust which makes it almost unbearable after the 20th round of playing as horribly weak Locust that get killed faster than you can earn money to keep playing as them.
The game is a great conclusion to the Gears of War series, for fans and for beginners. There is much left to be desired by the end of the story, which is typical in a game that has such a depth to its characters and world as Gears does, but it can get a bit over-baring for those who are not heavily invested into the storyline or characters with the amount of emotion they are trying to get across. The multi-player has a lot left to be desired and could have been better built, but for the most part it is just the same clunky broken system that was in the previous two Gears . If you are looking to finish the story, then you will enjoy the game and its entirety, if you are looking for something to play with friends online, you are heading in the complete opposite direction. If you are just a casual gamer looking for something to pass the time, I say it’s worth renting first, maybe use Qwikster and see if it is your cup of tea before buying.