Review by tooboredtothink

"Gears of War 3: The Trolls are BACK!"

Epic games sure made an epic series. The previous instalments are by far some of the best games ever to be released. Just when Epic games releases the first Gears of War 3 trailer, you begin to wonder "how in the world is it possible to make a better game than Gears of War 2?" Epic games just about pushed the Gears of War franchise to its limit. The final product is basically putting together an addictive gameplay, amazing graphics, in-depth story-line, a strategic multiplayer mode, + many extras and challenges to keep you hooked for a long time!

For the newcomer's sake, I will try to make this review as raw as I possibly can, without spoilers!

The story is set on a post-apocalyptic planet by the name of Sera, in which humans are on the verge of extinction. You play as a discharged soldier named Marcus Fenix whom is recruited back into combat for desperate needs for the sake of human survival. The enemy "Locust" (lead by their queen) is a violent specie which lives underground and fights for human extinction. The Locust is physically and mentally much like us humans, except ugly and monster-like. As you fight your way through several waves of enemy Locust, huge boss-battles such as the Brumak, you also learn about Marcus' past and his fellow comrades. While the setting is based on a post-apocalyptic environment, do not treat this game as if it were a survival horror game, rather an action packed bullet fest.

The core gameplay is a cover-based, third-person shooter. However, Gears of War 3 can also fit into the strategy genre, because there are several ways of playing the game. The use of cover is crucial to the gameplay otherwise death will not be a rarity. Every weapon in the game offers something different. Several weapons such as the Lancer (a machinegun with a chainsaw), Torque Bow (a cross-bow which fires explosives) and the Hammer of Dawn (a powerful laser shot from a satellite) offer a wide variety of strategy which you can use to your advantage in both campaign and multiplayer. New weapons such as the Retro Lancer, Sawed-off Shotgun have made an appearance, and prove to be fun weapons to use. One of the most amusing features of this game is the ability to perform executions. Each execution is done by pressing a different button, and while holding a different weapon. Don't expect Mortal Kombat fatality material, but they are not as tame as Gears of War 2 executions (FYI: gore and mature language can be disabled). In addition to weapon use, grenades are also useful and can change your way of playing if you know what you are doing. There are 3 types of grenades: frag, smoke and ink. You can use them to your advantage by either: throwing them to force the enemy out of their cover, setting them as traps for an unexpected surprise, or planting them onto the enemy for an instant kill. The fun and unnecessary addition of the ability to apply “skins” to your weapons is available, however instead of unlocking them by completing a certain task, or earning some sort of game score, you must fork over a few Microsoft Points. This may be a turn-off to some gamers; others will not pay attention to the skin's addition.

Gears of War 3, is a beautiful game. The graphics are possibly the closest to perfect I have ever seen. If there is a place where Epic Games out-did themselves, it is on this department. From the intense heavy fire, to the redness on the tip of the Lancer after using up a whole clip, the detail in this game is just amazing. The voice of the characters is accurately synced, and the facial gestures impact you emotionally. The animations are flawless; I especially like the dive-rolls and executions. Gears of War 3 also offered us a taste of colourful visuals, which are rare in post-apocalyptic games. Everywhere you turn the camera, you will find something that will catch your eye's attention. Gears of War 3 still suffers with some texture lag like the previous games, however it is the most of graphical issues this game has.

The music in Gears of War 3 is not a master-piece, but it fits the atmosphere. The sound on the other hand, is crisp and realistic. The sound of the chainsaw (try pressing RT while you rev-up your Lancer), the bullets, the explosions, the headshots. I tell you, getting a headshot has never been this satisfying in a game before, that *SPLAT* sound is simply satisfying.

Gears of War 3 also has some of the best voice acting in video game history. You can tell when Marcus Fenix is frustrated, angry, surprised, or annoyed by the tone of voice he uses. This also applies to all other characters. One of my favourite things about this game is the dialogue. Let's just say everybody is a troll in this game, especially Baird. You will find yourself laughing at what some characters say:

“I suppose you want me to say I've always loved you. But I don't. I really, really don't” –Baird

The dialogue really adds to the character development, and you will notice that all the characters are likable in their own way.

Now it is time I let you know some of the extra content besides campaign mode. First we have multiplayer. I cannot really tell you if it is a balanced multiplayer, since “balanced” seems to be a different meaning to a lot of people. I can tell you, however, it is entertaining and addictive, and there are many multiplayer modes to play from. Next, we have Horde mode. Horde mode is all about survival, strategy, and skill. You fight wave after wave of enemies, each time getting stronger and stronger. You can set up base, and once that's done, you can place turrets, barriers and decoys which will help you survive the Locust attack. Finally, we have the unlockables. Unlockables consist of many weapon skins, playable characters, and medals. There is also a variety of achievements for the gamers who like to rack up their Gamerscore.

Gears of War 3 can be described in 1 word “Masterpiece”. Everything about this game is near perfect, the sound, the graphics, the gameplay, the story, the characters, the detail, the game modes, the extras. This game has so much to offer it will keep you occupied for a while before you drop it. To cut it short, I will list a quick pros/cons list:

Pros:
- Addictive, strategic gameplay
- Lush visuals
- In-depth plot with great character development
- Amazing sound
- Perfect voice acting and sync
- Variety in game modes
- Lots in unlockables

Cons:
- Texture lag
- May glitch during campaign co-op (although this will be fixed soon, hopefully…)
- The use of Microsoft Points instead of in-game score/currency for certain unlockables

The minor technical problems can easily be overlooked. My final score is a 96/100, which round up to 10/10. So what will you do? Avoid, rent or buy? I highly recommend to buy this game, even at a price of 60 USD, it is still worth every penny. If you decide to rent, you will be renting it for a while since even the campaign is about 16h long, may be longer if you die often, since Gears of War 3 is not an easy game, and you won't be able to finish it in one sitting like most common shooter games. I also highly suggest playing the prequels, so you can catch up with the story if you haven't.


Reviewer's Score: 10/10 | Originally Posted: 10/05/11

Game Release: Gears of War 3 (US, 09/20/11)


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