Gears of War 3
There is no denying that Gears of War 3 is a beautifully constructed, wonderfully designed, end of a trilogy. But as with any game that stays essentially in the same place, doing the same thing, it’s really only one for the fans, or people who have never played the previous installments. If you loved the first Gears of War but were a bit ‘meh – this is the same as the last one’ with Gears 2, then you’ll not find anything exciting about Gears 3.
Sure the team at Epic have tweaked a few things since the 2006 debut that blew just about everyone away. Back then Gears was the most visually stunning game around. It’s cover and shoot system worked incredibly well and was so intuitive that anyone could just pick it up and play. It was the game that all other third person cover shooters wanted to live up to, but most didn’t.
Whilst playing the recently released Space Marine all I could think of was how much better Gears of War 3 would be, both graphically and in game-play – though Space Marine is a little more hack’n’slash so the comparison was a little unfair.
But my first session with Gears of War 3 was a bit of a let down. I’m not sure what I was expecting, but it seemed like the game hadn’t gone anywhere. It was a genre that I had moved on from, and without the raving fanboy attitude, it just didn’t grab me the way the original did.
And then things got worse.
After getting frustrated with the online play of Gears 2, and never learning to enjoy it, I decided to hop online with Gears 3 in the hope that I could find a few lucky people like me, who had been given their copies early.
After plugging the XBox into the modem (yes, I know how archaic that sounds) and signing into Xbox Live I had to download an update – now I don’t know if it was the update, or just bad luck – but when I went to continue with the campaign before heading online, I was informed that my data was corrupt.
I would have to start all over again.
So I decided to just hop online and see if I couldn’t salvage some fun from Gears 3.
WIth the game not yet released, the only mode i could find any players on (and with teams that included a number of bots by the look of things) was the traditional death match.
This is where Gears of War 3 comes into it’s own. Whilst I do favour the FPS genre in most things – Red Dead Redemption being the exception – I was instantly addicted to Gears cover and shoot mechanics in the online setting. Playing on a map where you could be out flanked by a crafty opponent kept you on your toes, and prevented you from camping. With each team having a set number of respawns per team gave the game a whole new focus, especially when your team ran out of respawns and it came down to a last man standing fight for survival.
I’ll certainly be checking out the other online modes over the next few weeks, but it will take a lot to get me back to the campaign – being forced to start all over again is not something I’d look forward to with any game.
Gears of War 3 is a fantastic game. Fans and new converts are gonna love it. It’s a fitting end to a series that has rightfully spawned it’s own legion of fan boys, but it’s not for everyone.