Gears Of War 3 (GOW3) is not just a game that warrants the purchase of an Xbox 360, it’s also one that redeems gaming console. It puts players into the war-hardened boots of Marcus Fenix once again as he strives to end the alien menace plaguing his planet since Emergence Day. The developer, Epic, is a fierce believer of the “If it isn’t broken, don’t fix it” adage, so if you’ve played the previous games in the series, you’ll know exactly what to expect.
You play as one of four burly dudes, and you’ll spend a lot of time taking cover, chainsawing enemies, blurting a ton of cocky one-liners and grinning from ear to ear at the over-the-top violence. You’ve seen this before, yes there are new enemies, weapons and enough set pieces, but at the end of the day, GOW is a laundry list of clichés. Throughout the game’s eight odd hours you’ll go through the whole gamut of conventional video game missions like flipping switches, surviving ambushes, watch people sacrifice their lives for the greater good. Thankfully, the game’s near-perfect pacing and relentless action hide this.
You can run through the entire campaign by yourself or team up with up to three of your friends over Xbox Live. The campaign’s just the tip of the iceberg in GOW3 and you can continue the co-operative experience by engaging in Horde or Beast mode. Co-op modes Horde mode returns from Gears of War 2 with some tower defence like features. For those who haven’t played it at all, it’s very simple. You need to survive 50 waves of enemies, each of which gets progressively tougher. Team co-ordination is essential because if a teammate dies, they have to wait out the entire wave making it that much tougher for the remaining survivors.
Beast mode is like Horde mode but the other around as you play as the Locust or the other hostile alien race, the Lambent. Your goal is to kill every human before the timer runs out. This ends up getting pretty intense because once the humans start setting up defences it becomes difficult to kill them in time.
Gears Of War 3 has to be the best looking game on the Xbox right now. Even though the Unreal gaming engine is nearly five years old now, Epic has squeezed every last drop from it to create an utterly gorgeous game world. Thanks to the chunky nature of your enemies, killing them is a highly satisfying experience be it with the pop of their skull after a well-placed shot from your sniper or the sound of flesh exploding when your shotgun meets their face.
The cover system also stays unchanged but the GOW series always had a fluid and practical system so changing it would have been stupid.
As much as we loved Gears Of War 3, we need to point out that this is essentially the same game you’ve played before with newer weapons, enemies and a coat of paint. If you weren’t a fan of the Gears Of War franchise to begin with, this one will not change your mind. However if you enjoy this series for its frat-boy mentality, polished visceral action and good production value, it will not disappoint.
What we like
Very satisfying action
Tried and tested cover system during combat
What we don’t
Doesn’t veer much from its predecessors
Clichéd game missions