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4 out of 5

by Tim

The original Gears of War was pure art in video game form.  It showed us exactly what the Xbox 360 was capable of doing, and gave us pure adrenaline in a third-person shooter game.  Gears of War 2 was a letdown… in my eyes.  I wasn’t as captivated with the world, the surroundings and the characters like I was with the first – let’s hope Gears of War 3 recovers it and finished off the trilogy with a bang.      

Marcus Fenix is back, and early into Gears of War 3 you find out that his father did not die, but is alive and needs your help.  The story is there, it’s not as epic as I would have liked, but it works extremely well with this genre.  Of course there’s a lot more going on than just saving his father; you’re battling Myyrah (the Locust Queen), gathering supplies, and doing the usual missions that you often find in games like this… saving civilians, killing off swarms of incoming enemies, etc.  For being a final installment in a series, I was hoping for a better storyline than what they gave us.  But hey, it works.       

One scene in particular really sticks out.  It lasts for only a few minutes, but it was so dramatic and emotional that I couldn’t turn away.  Of course I don’t want to tell you what scene it was because it is extremely important to the storyline and I don’t want to give any spoilers, but it was amazing.  (Hint: you will hear Gary Jules’ “Mad World” playing in the background – which adds a dramatic and emotional element to the scene)     

I really don’t know what more to say about the single player (or co-op) campaign.  Except the addition of 4-player co-op was amazing, and a blast to play with friends!  

Multiplayer has definitely stepped it up a bit since Gears of War 2, but that’s not saying much because I feel the Gears 2 multiplayer wasn’t as good as the original.  So, in my eyes – Gears 3 multiplayer is slightly better than the original.  All the popular modes are there: Team Deathmatch (Gives each team 15 re-spawns per round), Warzone and Execution (Feature rounds without any re-spawning – Execution requires you to finish off the enemy with an execution style kill), King of the Hill (Try to hold a randomly marked point on a map for a period of time), Capture the Leader (Capture the randomly assigned enemy leader for thirty seconds, all while protecting your leader), and Wingman (Like Team Deathmatch, but with 5 teams of 2 players).       

Two more multiplayer modes are available: Horde and Beast modes.  In Horde mode you must survive round after round of increasingly difficult enemy forces.  This mode has been heavily improved since Gears of War 2, I didn’t find any lag during gameplay.  Beast mode has to be my favorite in Gears 3.  In Beast mode, players play as the enemy (Locust) while attempting to kill all the humans.  This is very similar to Zombie mode in Call of Duty, in which you are given a small amount of money to pay for a base (with barriers), weapons, etc.  It’s exactly like Horde mode, but the complete opposite.       

The Bottom Line: The single player campaign was solid, it had an amazing dramatic scene near the end, but I was hoping for a little more from the finale.  Multiplayer, if you care for the unrealistic elements of Gears of War (example: using 2 clips to kill the enemy) – you are going to love this game.  If it had a little more substance in the campaign, it would have been nearly a perfect score.