‘Gears of War 3’ finishes trilogy with fitting ending, improvements




“Gears of War 3” builds on its previous iterations while adding new features and correcting numerous problems found in the previous games.  Admittedly, I’m not a big fan of multiplayer, so I will focus on the single player campaign.

Concluding the story of Marcus Fenix and Delta Squad, Marcus Fenix learns that his father, Adam Fenix, long considered dead, was abducted by former Coalition of Ordered Governments Chairman Richard Prescott.  Stolen away to a secret military base protected by an artificial hurricane, Adam Fenix builds a weapon that will destroy the Lambent, creatures afflicted by Imulsion, a once thought super-fuel, which turned out to be a parasitic life form.

One problem exists with the solution presented by Adam Fenix, the weapon will also kill off the Locust, an underground dwelling species forced topside by the spread of Imulsion below the surface of Sera.  Along the way to save the planet from the spread of Imulsion, Delta Squad will fight off the Locust in addition to Locust and humans turned Lambert by the Imulsion.

The single player campaign opens with Delta Squad living on the warship Sovereign, two years since Jacinto fell into the ocean at the conclusion of the second game.  Shortly after catching up on the story and meeting the new characters, the action hits full bore when the Lambent attack the ship after Prescott arrives with news of Adam Fenix.

By the end of the opening act (the game is divided into five acts), the heroes fend off a Lambent leviathan (think kraken from the “Pirates of the Caribbean” movie series).  Offering a climactic crescendo to the act, the fight with the leviathan is just one of numerous blood-pumping battles throughout the game.

Following the defeat of the leviathan, the game jumps to the other members of Delta Squad, which had been off the ship looking for supplies, one hour before the attack.  During the second act, the story presents some amount of conclusion for the story side character Augustus ‘Cole Train’ Cole. 

This is something I really liked about “Gears of War 3.”  The majority of characters that we have gotten to know throughout the series get some closure to their personal stories without breaking the flow of the overall story arc, everyone except Damon Baird.

The conclusion of Act 3 takes the story down a road it only briefly traversed in the second game.  Adding an emotional touch and depth to the story, the final sequence breaks away from the over-the-top super-macho air of the remainder of the series.

Another part of the campaign that I really enjoyed was that the story took the campaign to different and exotic locales.  Rather than crawling through the same gray and brown-scale, dank hallways, “Gears of War 3” increased the scale of the environments dramatically.  This had always been my biggest complaint about the series.

I understand trying to portray the gritty realness of combat, but at the end of the day, this is a sci-fi game and Epic Games finally embraced that notion when designing the levels.  By taking that step, the game finally creates a dichotomy between the beauty of the world with the harshness of war that the creators seem to have wanted to create since the beginning of the franchise.  Storming through the final act is something I will take away from this game as highly enjoyable (for fear of spoiling anything, I won’t elaborate).

Graphically, the game is stunning, but, really, it should be.  With the type of budget “Gears of War 3” had, anything less would be disappointing.

Game play does not change much from the previous games, run to cover, shoot, run, shoot, run, shoot, and victory.  But, if it isn’t broke, why fix it?  Intelligent artificial opponents amp up the challenge, forcing you to be witty with tactics (flanking, taking the high ground).  Multi-tiered battlefields exist throughout the game and I really enjoyed playing on them, as those tactics I learned in military history course paid dividends.

The pacing of the campaign was another thing I thought on which Epic Games really improved.  Interjections of story gave you time to come down from adrenaline rushes from the battles so that the combat never lost its edge or became tedious.

I guess the only real complaint I can levy against the campaign was item placement.  Coming around the corner of a building to find a cache of five ammo crates usually means something big is going down very soon.  As a result, battles billed as ambushes (as noted by the characters via dialogue) were not really that surprising.

The game is a shooter, I get it, and so I shouldn’t be surprised that I have to fight enemies.  But, waiting to make the ammo caches spawn until after the ambush cut scene would have been nice.

As I said previously, I am not a big fan of multiplayer, but from what I tried, I enjoyed it as well.  The new modes offer an interesting spin on the game, while adding even more hours of replay.

At the end of the day, I really enjoyed “Gears of War 3.”  I have always enjoyed the series but it was nothing that I went out of my way to play.  However, the ending of this trilogy changed my mind.

If you liked the other games in the series, you’ll like this one as well.  If you are unfamiliar with the series, I recommend giving it a shot.  A helpful video at the beginning can bring you up to speed on what has happened and who is important.

“Gears of War 3” was one of the most enjoyable gaming experiences I’ve had.