Tuesday, November 15, 2011

Game Review - Gears of War 3

Trailer - http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=n7Te5fcnrUA

Wiki - http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Gears_of_War_3

Let me start by saying this:  This is an Epic package of gaming!!

Gears 3 is one of those games that is built upon the backs of other great games in a series (The entire package reminds me of Halo: Reach.), and each iteration the game gets better.

First of all, Gears of War style arenas, cover-based pop up and shoot, paintball-ish feel, roadie runnin from cover to cover... It's all here, they didn't break anything.

Design - 17/20 - This is the 3rd (and supposed final) game in the series.  Like I said before, the meat and potatoes gameplay here is almost untouched from the Gears 1.  If you haven't played a GoW game since then, you will still be instantly familiar with most of the controls and concepts.

The single player campaign is great, and playable from beginning to end with 1-4 players.  I had a lot of fun going through the campaign, enemies and fights are well balanced, I'd go online and play a few levels with my friends, then back to single player, it was all pretty smooth.  I've gone back and played about 1/2 the game on Hardcore.  Woooo, that is tough.. One beserker took 4 of us what seemed like a 1/2 hour to kill.

One thing that I felt was missing from Gears 3 compared to the originals was the cool co-op stuff.  One of the most memorable parts in Gears 1 was holding the light on your co-op buddy so the locusts couldn't get him, this game has zero of that.  You need 2 people to open a door, that's about it.

Another Gears staple that was a little absent here was the split path levels.  They exist here, but they are really short and not as interesting.  Also buggy, possibly the reason they chose to not do it so much, the 4 player thing got bugged out a few times on us causing a progression break multiple times.

Multiplayer - This is where many people will spend the most time, and it's amazing.  Tons of unlockables, tons of modes, you could spend a disgusting amount of time playing Gears 3 multiplayer.  The multiplayer level design is kind of interesting; very small levels, which keeps the action going, but each level kind of has an area that if you control, you have a huge advantage.  I'm not sure I like that, but that does focus the action, and I was never bored looking for enemies while playing multiplayer.  The levels are laid out great and the distances and combat arenas are cool. 

Horde Mode - Boom!  I love Horde Mode.  It's so sweet here, and it's crazy epic with up to 50 waves.  I think I got into the 20s, but wow, there's a lot of gaming in Horde Mode.

Beast Mode - Yep, they even included an entire new mode called Beast Mode.  I'd like to say that it was inspired by Left 4 Dead's VS mode where you play the zombies, because in this mode you play the Locusts/Lambents.  It's really fun, you start out with Marcus and other CoG heroes sitting there surrounded by turrets and fortifications and you have to kill them.  Very essentially, it's the opposite of Horde Mode.  I think you can play all of the enemies in the game, which is crazy!  This one only has 12 levels and it goes by pretty quick, but it's still great.  They really seemed to be so close to a L4D Versus mode.

A few other things I'd like to say about the game design:
  • This is the first game (That I have played) where you can spot your enemies in mulitplayer.  Point at an enemy, click the stick and all your team mates can see them for a few seconds.  This is extremely helpful to your team, and is a cool new feature (BF3 has it too, not sure where it started though).  Also you get xp for it!
  • You know all these newer games with epic multiplayer, you can level up.  Gears is a bit different in this way, any mode you play you get xp towards your level (Campaign, Horde, Beast, Multiplayer).  So if you play through the campaign before trying multiplayer, you will already be leveled up a bit and have a few unlocks so you don't look like the n00b you are!  :)
  • Couch co-op!  Even online split screen campaign and multiplayer!  AWESOME!!  Although weirdly, you cannot play split screen online Horde or Beast?! 

Technology - 18/20 - Gears 3 runs smooooth!  A few tiny slowdowns when 4 player epic battles are going down.  Finding games is slick and quick.  Gathering your friends for games, also easy.  I didn't get booted too many times, if this score was for online only, it'd probably be 20/20.

But... the game did crash a few times in campaign. 

During one of the split level parts, one of us died and it spawned them on the other part of the level, with no way to get back and it broke progression for all of us.  This happened a few times. 

Zero day one problems with technology, score extra points for that one in today's world.  (Yes, there was a day 1 patch, but that's cool.)

Art - 18/20 - I think the Gears enemies don't get enough credit, they are nasty looking beasts... in a good way!  I wasn't too big of a fan of the new enemies, the Lambent plant people.  Lots o brown.  But overall, very cool stuff!

Production - 18/20 - Gears is slick, I've said it before.  And this is easily the best packaged Gears yet.  The VO and cutscenes are good, but in this iteration, the dialog kind of went Hollywood... Lots of one liners, etc.  They try to get all emotional with the big series ending "event", but I felt it was a bit forced and I didn't really care.

The sound FX are great.  The support for the game is amazing, every weekend there's a new event.  (The first weekend was big head mode and another one I liked was Ticker Madness or something.)  Cool shit!

Value - 20/20 - There's no question that if you enjoy playing this game, there is 100s of hours worth of gaming here.  Possibly 1000s.  This game is made for replayability.  There's already some DLC maps (this is a very late review, but this game came out before I started this blog!)

Nice job Dude Huge and everyone at Epic, this game rocks!

Total score - 91/100

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