After the fall of Jacinto in Gears of War 2, COG (Coalition of Ordered Governments) gang lead by the main protagonist Marcus Fenix returns to the third and final chapter of the Gears of War 3 trilogy. The game starts off with a dream sequence which shows him fighting locusts and fails to save his Dad, Adam Fenix crushed under debris of a falling structure, and he wakes up on the Raven’s nest carrier ship trying to avoid a new threat in this game, The Lambent invasion.
Its mayhem and non-stop action right from the start of the game, for some lame reasons Marcus Fenix is seen carrying fire extinguisher around dousing fire on the carrier, it felt as if Marcus had still not woken up from his bad dreams! Marcus Fenix looks better with a Lancer in his hand and not a fire extinguisher. You obviously cannot keep fighting Lambent and Locust Hordes without a reason so Chairman Prescott who has abandoned COG arrives on the ship to inform Marcus Fenix that his dad is still alive and confined to a secret research facility on Azura Island.
So Marcus Fenix sets off on his mission to rescue his dad who also has the solution to stop the lambent infection caused due to a chemical named Imulsion.
Game play and Story line: – The cover based combat mechanism does not see much change in the 3rd version of this title, its fluid and complements well to the fast pace d story. Squad based game tactics become more evident now since the game allows you to invite your friends to play along with you on the campaign mode. If you take more damage during a fight you can be revived by a squad member both human and in AI mode, the same applies to baddies also.
I found the game picking up on a dull note, all I was doing is running through waves of Lambent glowies (lots of gold-yellow shade blood) that keep popping out of Lambent pods emerging at any random stage during the game and Locust baddies that jump out of the ground as if they were springing up from some kind of underground trampoline.
Apart from playing as Marcus Fenix, you also get to play as Augustus Cole AKA Cole Train which was slightly irritating with some of his nagging narrative and a very funny and not so emotional dream sequence even which he has during one part of the campaign. The other main GoW series character Dominic Santiago adds an emotional touch to the noisy and loud campaign of the entire game, **Spoiler Alert** the way he meets his own end to rescue his friends was shot almost movie style and is one of the highlights of the game story.
I felt that game storyline picked up steam from Act 2 – Chapter 2 when Marcus Fenix heads towards Anvil Gate to meet Colonel Hoffman post which you finally get to see lot of variety in game play that pumps some adrenaline to the story.
From this point in the game you would be on a roller coaster journey to confront the locust queen Myrrah and save Marcus Fenix’s dad, Adam Fenix, hijacking a Barge (Locust airlines) for you to get airborne, riding on a freeway escaping locust attack in Mercy town. The lambent infection has not just spread to locusts but to Human’s as well who look like glowing zombies as they come attacking at you very quick, amongst the other enemy characters a lot of them return with an appearance in the 3rd part mainly from the locust camp.
Gears of War series is also well known for its gruesome weapon based execution, which also made Lancer gun attached with a chainsaw quite popular amongst GoW fans. You have got four weapon slots which allow you to carry a melee weapon, 2 guns and explosives. Ammo supply is available in plenty scattered across all stages in the game so don’t worry about emptying down Lancer mags. All weapons in the game have unlockable special execution moves which you can try out on a locust or lambent who is hurt and crawling on the ground. Re tro Lancer and Silverback are good addition to the weapons line up in my opinion. (Score – 3/5)
Enemy AI was observed to be dumb a lot of times in the game, a locust or lambent baddie would be trying to hide behind cover for no reason even if I would have just walked up close to them. There was no ominous character in the entire game which would have made me work hard bringing it down. Playing on normal difficulty level seemed like a cakewalk for me. If you expect this game to end with a bang be ready for a slight disappointment because it ends on a very meek note, no spoilers here.
Multiplayer: A new addition to this category is the “Beast” mode which allows you to play as Locust characters across 12 rounds, Horde and versus modes remain almost the same from previous versions. I could play just 1 Team Death match with unknown players on Xbox Live searching for a game in different modes across 3 days at different times which was very frustrating. Though the game has dedicated servers I don’t know of its pairing up players only from same region and then checking for matches across the global servers if no local match is found. (Score – 1/5)
Graphics: Gears of War 3 is top notch in terms of graphics it get s better in terms of environment rendering and delivering fluid visuals with close to no scene lag noticed while entering or exiting a cut scene. Thankfully the brown and grey color tones in the previous versions of the game settle down for some realistic color pallet. You can see the tip of Lancer gun barrel red hot smoking after firing few rounds, the only thing you cannot smell is the gunpowder! (Score – 5/5)
Sound: Gears of War 3 climbs above the previous versions in the audio department raising the decibel levels further, a lot of ambient sounds get repeated however with some modifications to the instrumental themes, it gets very noisy when bullets start flying around, while you can still hear the locusts grunting and moving around, the funniest one is to hear a Boomer laughing and saying “Boom” amidst all the chaos, there is hardly a moment of silence in the game and Marcus Fenix not shouting in his barking tone, all we can say it still sounds “SWEET” enough for GoW fans. (Score – 4/5)
Conclusion: Do not expect too many changes in the final version of Gears of War 3; the story line fails to build up the campaign initially but compensates for it from Act 2 towards closing of the game. I felt Marcus Fenix was focused more on a “Let’s find my Dad” kind of mission rather than saving the humanity from Lambent invasion. It is not a very fitting end to the Gears of War series still pretty engaging for a Gears of War fan like me (Final Score – 3.5/5)