Gears of War 3 follows the 2008 sequel to the 2006 original Gears of War and this time we’re 18 months on – in their timeline – from the last time we saw Marcus Fenix and the Delta Squad co. knock seven shades of shit out of the Locust.
Naturally, their arch enemy never stays down for long and they’re back again… and this time they’re not bringing their Dad – they did that last time – they’re bringing some other ungodly creatures, starting off with something mega-huge that has massive tentacles and a bad attitude. Plus, lots of little spider-like creepies – looking rather similar to the Headcrabs from Half Life 2, which run up to you and will bite at your ankles if you don’t vanquish them first.
Once again, the story is wafer thin but that doesn’t matter as all gamers really want to do is pick up their gun and fire away until the ground is laced with gory, alien blood. On the weaponry side, the main tool you’ll use is the Lancer which holds several hundred rounds of ammo and pressing ‘B’ activates the chainsaw bayonet. Get the chance to get close to a baddie and set it off and you’ll witness something so damn cool, but trying it on a more substantial creature isn’t to be advised as you’re more likely to come off worse. Another favourite weapon of choice is the Hammerburst which just dishes out a ‘melee’ smack in the face when you press ‘B’ but has scores of ammo to its name as well. You’ll also get to wear a Silverback, an exo-skeleton with massive guns – think of a souped-up version of what Ripley had to wear in Aliens.
There are no health power-ups in this game. If you’re up against it then you’ll need to rest and recouperate inbetween shooting. Your fellow marines will also take a number of hits so it’s up to you to revive them. Similarly, when you’re in need, you’ll fall to the floor and tapping ‘A’ will keep you alive whilst calling out to them. Hopefully one will be in reach, although at one point when I thought someone was coming over to assist, it was actually a big baddie ready to stomp on my head. That said, you won’t have far to travel, this time, when you do die as there are copious checkpoints.
The graphics and sound are as exceptional as always – with Gears of War 3 utilising the Unreal Engine 3.5 – and it can be a lot of fun at times, but there are also times when I’m finding this latest installment just too much ‘crash/bang/wallop’ and even though there are lots of massive beasts and explosions, etc., it’s all rather over the top and starts to be a little long in the tooth after a while. It also plays out in a roughly linear style, which is not a problem, but one thing that does become frustrating is that too often the game just seems to play by itself as it takes you to the next level. It does tend to blend in well with the gameplay but the problem is that it can take over for too long in one period.
There are five Acts in total and my footage shows just Act I as you play Marcus Fenix, although late you’ll become Cole as well. Note that both are played by the same actor, John Di Maggio, who, I realised while playing the latter character, is also the voice of Bender from Futurama.
Naturally, Multiplayer modes are available, but I much prefer single-player campaigns as I generally get my ass kicked when I play online.
For those that do enjoy them, there’s Horde, where you fight wave after wave of the Locust Horde with up to four other co-op players and Beast, where you destroy waves of Stranded and COG heroes as quickly as possible with up to four other co-op players. In addition, there’s also several other games including Team Deathmatch, King of the Hill and Capture the Leader.
Microsoft and Epic Games have also announced a Gears of War 3 Season Pass that entitles gamers to the first four installments of downloadable content (at a discount) that will roll out over the course of the next year, with the first releasing in November 2011. Previous characters in the series, including Tai and RAAM, will be future DLC characters.
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- Publisher: Microsoft
- Price: £49.99 (Xbox 360)
- Players: 1-2 inc. single player campaign, co-op: 2-5, system link: 2-10, online multiplayer: 2-10
- HDTV options: 720p/1080i/1080p
- Features: Downloadable content, leaderboards, voice
- Dolby Digital 5.1 sound: Yes
Reviewer of movies, videogames and music since 1994. Aortic valve operation survivor from the same year. Running DVDfever.co.uk since 2000. Nobel Peace Prize winner 2021.