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SummaryI expected nothing less
The GoodI really thought the characters were a barrel of fun, even if some of them enter the story rather magically. I played Gears of War 2 a long time ago, but I honestly can't remember characters like Sam and Jace. I did recognize Anya and given it was pretty awesome to see her in person after all the build-up in the previous games, but regardless of the suddenness of their appearance I found myself enjoying the time I spend with them. Especially Sam was enjoyable because she was always bullying Baird in awesome ways and I believe the voice actress also did Alice in Alice: Madness Returns.
The gameplay felt very satisfying, I heard a lot of people complaint that cover-based combat is boring, but Gears of War is the one that introduced it and fittingly also mastered it. I and my cousin played on Hardcore, so enemies were a lot tougher than us and we couldn't take too much gunfire, so hiding was necessity and using cover to sneak past enemy lines and flank them would is also important because enemies will pull that on you if you don't do it first. It was also great to dodge and hide from fire and then finally kill a Mauler after much toil and trouble, sooooooooo satisfying.
The story is nicely paced, there are a total of five acts with each roughly five or six chapters, in between you get cutscenes and plot-twists that keep everything interesting. Of course the story isn't some kind of epic story like Lord of the Rings, but I doubt the series ever set out with that in mind, so instead we have a game with great gameplay and a story that will at least keep you interested enough to see it through. I would also like to award it for properly ending the story with an actual ending, no obnoxious cliffhangers that pretty much say "Yeah, all that stuff you did was pointless", just a good old conclusion.
I found Horde mode to be fairly entertaining, especially because you can now use currency to upgrade your defensive position. Having to keep track of money and spend it in order to help you in the next round adds another layer of depth to this already entertaining mode and I spend quite a lot of time on my lovely turret after we placed it. You also get to deal with Lambent more often and that is a nice switch from the standard Locust horde.
There are a lot of new items to be found in Gears 3, the most interesting of which was a Locust catapult you could use to occasionally throw all difficulty out of the window and have a little fun. Aside from that there are a few new weapons like the Retro Lancer, a few new enemies and of course the earlier mentioned upgrade to the Horde mode.
The BadThe original Gears of War had a few issues and cut to the third installment and they are still there, give them a little applause for consistency, people. The most annoying parts of the game are when Marcus says they are going to split up because that means two players are each going to have to play with a NPC as opposed to a real player, these sections are guaranteed to get you killed and every time you die you'll have to go through the entire unskippable scene at the start again. Aside from that there are also the easy chainsaw fights, AI problems and pointless collection side-quest that Epic Games is yet to get rid off.
The first Gears of War had some memorable scenes which build up the tension a bit more, scenes with poor lighting and instant death when in the shadows for too long. It is kind of a shame that the third installment in this franchise is just a constant stream of action sequences with no rest in between.
I am not sure if this is a new feature or if it was already available in the previous game too, but Gears 3 allows you to go competitive and have a scoring system during the matches that rewards players based on their actions. I remember this been in Halo 3 as well, but what Halo 3 did right was that special sequences always made it fair for both players, if one player was given a tank the other had a tank as well. Here however my cousin often ended up behind one of the catapults and he started taking down enemy airships that each rewarded him with more than a thousand points each while I and two others had to sit behind cover and take down the tree or four enemies that tried to sneak up on him from time to time.
The Bottom LineGears of War 3 might piss off a lot of people due to its popularity, but I have to say it's a pretty decent and fun game. The only problems I really have with it are the ones every Gears game carries around like the plague and a somewhat poorly implemented scoring system, but everything else is fun.
Gears of War will find most of its audience in the teenagers and action fans, luckily for Epic Games the main audience of the Xbox 360. I had fun with Gears of War 3 and hopefully you will too.