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Gears of War 3 (Xbox 360) Review

By Josh Di Falco 14.01.2018

Review for Gears of War 3 on Xbox 360

Gears of War 3 had been the much anticipated release for 2011, and it did not disappoint. The highly acclaimed game was well received by many as it became one of the highest-selling games for the year. Now, years on, its effects have been felt by many as the quality of first- and third-person shooters have grown. Epic Studio's third mainline entry improves on everything that the previous Gears of War titles crafted. While the touching campaign is only slightly hampered by a quiet online mode, this is still an adventure worth doing a roadie-run through: whether for the first time, or for the hundredth time.

After the events of Gears of War 2, humanity's survival is hanging on by a thread, as the humans are battered, beaten, and sorely divided. The seemingly never-ending battle against the equally bruised Locust is worsened with the always terrifying Lambent, a heavily mutated species of Locust. While some of the survivors boarded up at Anvil's Gate, Delta Force departed on the CNV Sovereign in order to escape the Lambent. It is at this point the COG head of state, Chairman Prescott, arrives on the ship that Gears of War 3 begins.

The campaign is the most emotional of the three thus far, as the writing and scripting has progressively gotten better, while also hitting the right beats in the most impactful moments. Where previous Gears may have missed the cue on some of the bloodier parts of the battle, this time around every single fight is showing on all of the characters. Marcus Fenix is so worn down through this war, while Domenic is still feeling the effects of putting his wife down in the previous game. Baird and Cole also round out the main cast, with Anya, Sam and Jace making their way into the COG frontlines.

Screenshot for Gears of War 3 on Xbox 360

The campaign is lengthy and is split into five acts. The story is told throughout the eyes of multiple characters, which was a first for the Gears titles up to this point. Finishing the third game in a satisfying way was always going to be difficult, because the door had to kind of be left open for future instalments. Fortunately, though, Gears of War 3 does wrap up the three-game arc in a conclusive manner, while still leaving the door ajar for Gears of War 4.

Epic set pieces and sprawling battle arenas house many of the awesome encounters to be had. The cover-based system works as well as ever, and the destructible walls mean a lot of running and ducking for new covers, and one can never be too complacent in these battles. The AI appears smarter, as well; enemies will flank more accurately and efficiently, and some are not going to hesitate in running out guns blazing, looking for that rifle-butt. In saying that, the AI partners are just as efficient, and they can easily cut through dozens of enemies in a short amount of time. During one playthrough, Marcus Fenix spent an entire battle hiding behind cover, allowing for the rest of Delta Squad to make easy work of the enemies, which was impressive to watch.

Screenshot for Gears of War 3 on Xbox 360

Of course, a great addition to the campaign is the online four-player co-operative mode; however, trying to find others to play with, as well as the other online modes, seems to be pretty scarce nowadays. Whether it's due to the time zone differences or whether no one is playing Gears of War 3 online, either way these modes, which were great back in the day, are now just empty shells that don't function as they should, which is unfortunate. This harms the other modes, such as Horde, King of the Hill, and Team Deathmatch, which were staples in the past.

The graphics department has stood up dramatically, with Gears of War 3 housing some of the best looking explosions in the series up to that point. The various locations, combined with the exploding monsters and grenades, with flying debris and environmental destruction, is a wonderful sight to behold in the midst of combat. Unfortunately, these graphics come at a cost, with frame-rate dips sometimes during play, while cut-scenes also stutter at certain points.

Screenshot for Gears of War 3 on Xbox 360

The weapon wheel is back, and works pretty much the same way as expected. Ammo stocks and weapon drops are aplenty, so it's a good idea to not get attached to weapons, and replace them with new downed weapons, as required. Of course, if the game requires certain weapons to be used for a section of the campaign, then those weapons would generally appear right before the next battle begins. Each works well, and they feel powerful in their own way, and have their moments. This means many will find a weapon of choice to suit their play style, but again it is more fun mixing it up and playing around with the different weapons to see what works best.

Reloading the weapons initiates a small "mini-game," which other games have adapted, and it makes reloading weapons during battle a cool thing to pull off. Stopping the moving marker inside the designated field allows for a quick reload, with more powerful bullets for a limited time that amps up the destruction and chaos caused. Of course, messing up the reload has the consequence of being "stunned" due to the weapon's backfire. Therefore, paying attention during the reloads in the midst of battle will quickly become second nature for maximum efficiency in combat.

Screenshot for Gears of War 3 on Xbox 360

Cubed3 Rating

9/10
Rated 9 out of 10

Exceptional - Gold Award

Rated 9 out of 10

Gears of War 3 is a wonderful example of a great third-person shooter coming together. With an advanced graphics engine for its time, coupled with the best iteration of a campaign mode thus far for the franchise, the third instalment showed what can happen when everything falls into place perfectly. It's just unfortunate that some may find the online modes lacking of actual competitors due to the age and various time zones; however keep looking, for there are some out there looking for a match-up. The campaign wraps up the three-game arc in a satisfying way, while the AI improvements to both enemies and Delta Squad mates result in smarter and equally terrifying battles. Occasional frame-rate bugs creep into the adventure, which is unfortunate in an otherwise terrific looking game that is well worth the time to experience.

Developer

Epic Games

Publisher

Microsoft Game Studios

Genre

Action

Players

1

C3 Score

Rated $score out of 10  9/10

Reader Score

Rated $score out of 10  0 (0 Votes)

European release date Out now   North America release date Out now   Japan release date Out now   Australian release date Out now   

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