Top Ten of 2011: Gears of War 3
By Matt “Chtulu80” White
We are truly getting down to the nitty gritty here in this top ten. When I get to the top 4 games of the year they really have to stand out to me. They have to almost blow me away. They have to get me thinking about the story in more ways than just the normal game. The first game to hit that category was “Gears of War 3” by Epic Games and an exclusive to Microsofts Xbox 360 console. This game pretty much has it all.
First off one of the great things that it has is a “previously on Gears of War” section that catches you up on the first two titles in case you had not played them. At the bargain basement prices those games have and the 8 hour stories, there is no reason you shouldn’t pick them up. Gives you a narrated story that covers most of the big events of the first two titles in a way that if you had already played the games, you want to watch anyways. As with all entries in this series, the graphics are top notch. Instead of the dark colors and gray scale of the previous games, this title has a much brighter color pallet. It is very pretty to look at and shows that the Xbox 360 still has juice left in it for programmers that know how to use the current edition of the “Unreal” graphics engine. In typical gears fashion when you land a headshot you can actually hear the splat sound that it makes along with seeing the head turn into a blood fountain.
The controls are standard fare for this series. You can use then to get in and out of covers, nothing really special there. They do what they are needed to do. I do have to say that the controls while predictable if you have played this series of games, they do there job well. It is just something you can tell that Epic Games has had quite a bit of time to master that area of development. The one big thing in this area is the ability to fire blindly from cover. While it has been in the other games, it just hasn’t been this good. Another standout feature here is the teammate AI. In the past two games your teammates at times are ok, but usually just awful. In this title they actually fire at the enemy which helps you quite a bit while trying to do that hardcore/insane run. All in all everything you should expect is here, the roadie run and active reloads included.
The story line of this game is how a lot of trilogies SHOULD end. It should give you resolution instead of some bull crap ending that we have seen from other titles in the past few years. Yes, I am looking at you “Assassin’s Creed: Revelations”. It shows you true sacrifice and loss and that is only half way through the game. The story intertwines more characters than just Marcus and Dom. You see a lot of what I like to call the second tier characters such as more coletrain, more baird, ect. For the first time in a gears story you can actually play with females in the single player game. While there have been females in this story, you have never been able to use them til now. I have to give props to Epic Games for bring this to the game. It could do a lot to empower female gamers. It just sad that it isn’t done more often.
The multiplayer section of this title is back, and its back in force. It is probably the best combination of gears 1 and gears 2 that they could have done. They went to dedicated servers for this titles instead of that dreaded host advantage that plauged the second games multiplayer. Horde mode is back with this entry and it hits hard. Just like the previous title in the series, it has 50 levels, but with every tenth level being a “boss” round. It also includes things like barriers and gun turrets and such into the game for the first time, and they do it successfully. They also put in what they call “Beast Mode”. This is a different type of game, as it lets you play as the locusts for the first time ever. It is basically reverse horde but using the locusts and with only ten levels so you can realistically get finished with it in an hour or less compared to about 5 to 6 hours it takes to complete horde mode.
All in all I believe this title is worthy of the number four placement on this list and I highly recommend this title. If you are one of the few that have an Xbox and haven’t played this title I suggest you pick it up when it hits your price point because this is not a title that should be missed even if it is 6 months old.