The lights are on
[Note: This is a review of the single player campaign. I'll review the multi-player when I have more time with it. However, I should mention I'm having a freakin' ball with it so far.]
So here we are. Gears of War 3 has arrived and the conclusion is upon us. Is it worth your sixty bucks?
Short Review: Narrative is still choppy, action is a lot more fast paced, story can be underwhelming and confusing at times, new enemy variations are welcome, and mechanics are still intact and fun.
Long Review: I've always liked Gears of War. I've never loved it, and to me it's like I'm getting the cliff notes of some futuristic take on Leo Tolstoy's "War and Peace".
The gameplay is fun as hell. Controls are pretty clean here with only a few missteps in button mapping, in my opinion. Taking cover is essential to surviving, even on normal mode, and being able to pick up a downed enemy and use him as a meat shield never gets old. There's a few mech and vehicle sections to break up the montony of the usual on foot trudging, but one instance involving a submarine just went on way to *** long for my tastes.
Old weapons return here with a vengeance and even many of the "new" weapons are actually just variations. An example would be the "retro-lancer" that uses a standard bayonette over the chainsaw variant or the sawed-off shot gun. To be honest, I don't think there is one weapon that hasn't appeared in one of the two games previous before this one, and to me, that's a good thing as too much change can become a big problem. Ammo seems to be more scarce than before, turning this almost into a survival/action game. I don't have a huge problem with that, but one minor annoyance is crates that contain ammo usually only replenish your standard assault rifle and pistol. If you use a sniper rifle or torque bow, pray that the baddies will drop the weapons so you can pillage. Again, not a huge deal, but being strapped for ammo did start to make an impact on how I played.
I'm going to go off on a tangent about the story. Starting with the first game, I thought the pacing and plot were a bit off. We start off with humanity on some strange planet called "Sera" fighting the Locust. Simple enough. But it's never explained how we got there, where the Locust came in to start with, or really any reason why we stayed on that planet when things were so dire. Then you enter the "immulsion" plot thread into the story; apparently some radioactive super fuel that turns any living organism into a mutated, feral, and explosive variation of their former self. That's just the basic set-up. Then there are the characters, Marcus Fenix (the main protagonist) Dom (side kick), Baird, Cole (best *** character ever), The Carmines, Anya, etc etc etc. The reason I compared this game earlier to War and Peace is the sheer scale. The novel (which details the Napoleonic War) has over 200 characters and spans several years begins to crush itself under its own weight. Considering the book is over a thousand pages, you can see how this becomes problematic. I feel the same here.
The characters and events of GoW are really unique and intriguing, but we're never shown more than a few bits at a time before another fire fight breaks out or some strange new plot device is unveiled. Not to mentions characters like the Locust Queen, Adam Fenix, or new people like Same and Jace; characters which play pivotal roles, yets we get no back story or any real motivation. I'm not saying the story is bad, by any means, just that it's choppy and shallow at best or convoluted and nonsensical at worst.
You can do a lot worse for 60 dollars. It should be noted that being able to play co-op campaign from start to finish with up to 4 players either together or online at any point is pretty *** sweet.
But two small problems be warned. A few characters epic moments are severely underrated and the achievements for the single player side are too few for my tastes. That last one really is a minor one, but the character's not having the time to make an impact when it really gets dramatic kinda kills it. Still, I liked it.
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