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Gears of War 3 XBox 360 Review - -
Gears of War 3
Reviewed by
James Wright
Gears of War 3 XBox 360 Review Gears of War 3 is the most epic game of the year and if you're a fan of third person shooters, than you've come to the right place. This is not a game to miss.

Gameplay 9.0
Graphics 9.0
Sound 9.0
Value 9.0
Publisher: Microsoft
Review Date:
Sep 2011
James Wright


Gears of War 3

If there's one reason to purchase an XBox 360, the reason is Gears of War. Gears of War by Epic Games is easily one of the most entertaining third person shooter games to be available on any platform. Strong words but true... reminiscent of cinematic blockbusters like Aliens and Starship Troopers, Gears of War put the player in control of protagonist Marcus Fenix, a veteran soldier who takes no sh*t from anyone or any being. The series is set in the distance future where mankind has colonised the stars, however their reach into space has been hampered by the deadly alien collective known as the Locust.

Unfortunately for mankind, they have been losing against this deadly force and 18-months since the fall of the last human city, Marcus and his elite team of soldiers must save the last bastion of mankind. Welcome to Gears of War 3 and to quote Apone from Aliens "Another glorious day in the Corps! A day in the Marine Corps is like a day on the farm. Every meal's a banquet! Every pay check a fortune!" which is definitely not true in the world of Gears of War but it's a damn cool saying.

Gears of War 3 is also dubbed as the conclusion to this series but if we've learned anything from Halo, this is hopefully not the fact because this current instalment of this violent and over top the shooter is easily the most fun I've had all year... so yes, I want more! With its primordial type atmosphere, the developers of Gears of War have managed to make the series quite emotional and nerve racking at the same as you attempt dispose of your enemies with as much deadly force as possible. Best of all, the classic mechanics of the gameplay remain from its vicious alien stand-offs to immersive cover system plus relatable characters and a very memorable story.

Familiar faces return in Gears of War such as Marcus Fenix and The Cole Train but more importantly, there are two new female characters that include Samantha (Sam) Byrne and Anya Stroud... both with awesome personalities who really add the atmosphere and dynamics of the game. Sam Byrne is actually an Australian! But before the player is thrown to the dogs, the developers ensure that the player is reacquainted with the story and as Delta squad enjoy a moment of respite before things once again turn to sh*t.

Without spoiling the final instalment of Gears of War 3, early the game, you get to play as another member of Delta Team which not only serves as a plot point but opens up the familiar story of  Marcus to something uniquely different. Fortunately even if you have never played Gears of War 1 and 2, you still can jump straight into the game and play, however for a true holistic experience which is much more beneficial, having played the original games will definitely enlighten the whole experience.

Once you do jump into the campaign, things begin to fall in place quite quickly and picking up the control feels perfect as you shoot, cover and explore this ravaged planet with tons of surprises and boss battles along the way. There also lots of new enemies from both the Locusts and the Lambents such as the Digger Boomer (quite tough to kill) and the Lambent Stalks which keep on populating the battle field with enemies until they are destroyed.

Gameplay does follow a familiar path to the previous Gears of Wars titles and during key moments in the game, the player is given a detour of either A or B. I really enjoyed the use of detours in this series as it opens up the campaign for another play or two. Vehicles played a key role in the previous instalments but in Gears of War 3, I introduce Mechs!

Although not full blown Mechs, the exoskeletons that you use are still quite powerhouses when used to interact with the environment and enemies, not to mention extremely fun to use. These things can not only take on the larger enemies but are also used to help solve a few odd puzzles here and there. But Gears of War is all about the battles and fortunately, the game is buzzing with battles from the get go.

The cover system once again plays an integral role to the gameplay which must be used in order to survive, especially in the open space locations but just like Aliens, there are plenty of claustrophobic areas to really get on your nerves, not to mention a couple of jump out moments. The campaign mode also can be played cooperatively (2 locally via split-screen or 4 online) so if you do become injured in the game, one of your colleagues or your real-life counterpart can heal you and thankfully the auto-save and checkpoints are used well in the game should you duke it out alone. When you are injured, you can crawl to safety until a team member heals you and if they fail to get to you in time or they are killed, you need to restart.

Weaponry plays an integral role to the title and there's quite a large amount of arsenal available to the player. Familiar weapons from the previous games return such as the Hammerburst with a few new ones as well such as the Retro Lancer. You can also swap ammo and weapons between characters and what's cool about Gears of War 3 is the introduction of a level system.

Depending on what difficulty you select, ammunition can sometimes be quite sparse, especially on the higher difficulty and sometimes it's quite hard to manage when you are surrounded by the Locust and when in doubt, the chainsaw works wonders. For the most part, ranged weapons are the key to succeeding in Gears of War such as the Mulcher or the Predator like Vulcan mini-game. The AI in the Gears of War 3 work quite well with the player and this is one of the rare games where they actually do some work, however for the more realistic experience, playing it online with up to four player takes the gameplay to a totally new level. AI ranges from easy on the lower levels to quite insane on the hardest level.

When it comes to multiplayer modes, the game has it all from traditional modes such as Team Deathmacth to something more unique like Beast Mode and players can tweak the conditions of the gaming environment via mutators such as turning on friendly fire or other interesting elements. Online modes allow up to 10 players to engage in various versus modes and thankfully there is a level system employed so that newbies are not thrown in with the experts.

For us, one of the most popular online modes was Horde which allowed up to 5 players to face off against a never ending wave of Locust. However in order to spice things up, the developers have tweaked this mode to award the players with every kill that they make by purchasing additional defences. This can become quite hectic but it's such a joy to play, especially when your pushed to the edge which is why this mode is popular. There is actually an element of strategy employed here because unlike a regular shooter, you need to use the defences that you purchase such as decoys or turrets to hold off until the next attack. Beast mode on the other hand allows players to control the Locust as opposed to the humans and basically reverses this popular online mode. Just like horde, you are rewarded for each kill you make in order to upgrade your spawning. Needless to say, multiplayer has been tweaked and improved considerably.

Graphically, Gears of War 3 is a true technological treat on the XBox 360 with some amazing backgrounds and locations that you visit. At times, the planet that you are on appears like Earth but then something totally different will be thrown at you feel like you're on an alien planet. Character animation and detail are the highlights, especially the facial animation which comes into its own during in-game cutscenes. Voice acting is a little over the top but there is a sense of realism with all the characters in the game and the sound effects sound spectacular through a decent surround sound system. Finally, to link it all together, we have the amazing soundtrack that seems like it has been taken out of a Hollywood science fiction move and helps adds to the emotional elements of the story.

Final Thoughts? Gears of 3 is a fitting way to conclude this amazing series (although fans will definitely want more) from its immerse campaign mode which contains cooperative to a whole wealth of multiplayer fun such as the Beast mode and our favourite, Horde which now supports additional defences. This game works on all levels and provides something for both single-player and multi-player fans in this final tale about Delta Squad as they fight for the last bastion of humanity. Gears of War 3 is the most epic game of the year and if you're a fan of third person shooters, than you've come to the right place. This is not a game to miss.


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