The lights are on
I don't know what happened. I can explain it, but I don't know why. I loved Gears of War and its sequel. I can remember everything about both of those games. The variety, the set pieces, the music, everything. Being immersed in Gears 1 & 2 was easy since the games were so well designed. I was totally absorbed in the world and loved every minute of them. Obviously I was quite excited to get my hands on the third game in the franchise, and bought it day one.
I have played the game twice now, and I can't really remember anything exciting about the entire game. I remember everything, but nothing stands out like it did in the first two. Minus a underwater mission, the variety was missing in Gears 3. There is nothing in this game as awesome as exploring a sunken city, or killing a giant worm from the inside out. Almost every level feels exactly the same, even worse, it all looks the same.
You are fighting in a building. Then you are fighting in a courtyard. Then you are fighting on a street. Then another building. Then a courtyard. Then on a street again. Oh! Now we are fighting in the air!!! Now we are in a building again....This is how the entire game felt to me. I was let down at every turn. There was no immersion. I didn't care about what I was doing. All the levels bleed together, nothing sands out or felt fresh in any way.
However, this is Gears, and as always the core gameplay is still a blast. It has never felt better in your hands. The AI seems to be improved as well, and pumping a clip into a Locust feels about as good as you could hope a shooter to feel. It is also gorgeous, but you already knew that. It sounds great, and has some very touching scenes, but nothing is holding those scenes together. Everything feels slapped together in a hasty attempt to build some sort of coherent narrative.
Gears 3 is a fun game. But it isn't a great experience. It lacks a soul that the first two had. It feels like an obligation by Epic instead of a passion. It plays as great as you would expect, but it never comes close to matching the brilliance of the first two.
You're insane. It was the best in the franchise!