Next to Halo, the Gears of War series is the most popular Xbox 360 exclusive title. Following in the footsteps of the 2006 original and its 2008 sequel, the inevitable Gears of War 3 is finally here. The third-person "duck and cover" shooter doles another healthy heaping of single and multiplayer chainsaw and machine gun ultraviolent action, as supersolider Marcus Fenix and his COG army are once again fighting to rid planet Sera of the murderous Locust Horde.
How does the third installment of the trilogy compare to its predecessors? And is this one worth your $60 (or even more, if you're opting for the Epic or Limited Editions)?
Jeff:I'll admit I wasn't initially excited to get back into Marcus Fenix's boots for a third (and possibly last) time. The Gears of War franchise was beginning to smell like Halo to me; a handful of games that, for the most part, all play and look the same.
But Gears of War 3 makes some significant evolutionary steps, well beyond the game's face-lift that reassures it as one of, if not the, best-looking game on Xbox 360. Rest assured, Gears fans: Gears of War 3 is the most brutal game of them all, with a long campaign littered with plenty of jaw-dropping moments and a multiplayer component that has the polish and accessibility to stand on its own.
While Gears' basic gameplay remains untouched, there are few changes worth mentioning. In addition to a general fine-tuning that makes aiming, shooting, and reloading smoother than ever, there are a few new melee animations and abilities as well as new weapons.
But where I was really floored came in the form of Gears of War 3's fantastic multiplayer effort. Matchmaking implementation is tremendous, and players easily slide in and out of co-op in real time. It's also much simpler to set parties up, something past Gears games struggled with. Of course I've been playing without hiccups the entire week before public launch, so I'll be interested to see if the silky smooth performance continues on Tuesday.… Read more