Epic Games, for Microsoft Xbox 360I only discovered the Gears of War series this year, and have played all three game within a few months of one another. I enjoyed the first game, loved the second, and enjoyed the third almost as much. While other reviews claimed the campaign in Gears 3 is the longest yet, it felt the shortest to me. Perhaps the difficulty has been adjusted and I just blew through it too fast. Gears 3 is jam-packed with extra game modes, however.
Gears of War 3 has the campaign mode, which is playable in standard and arcade modes, regular multiplayer mode, an overhauled and deep Horde mode, and a brand new Beast mode, where players control Locust characters in an all-out assault on humans. These extra modes add a ridiculous amount of replay value to the game, and there are tons of weapons, characters, medals and other awards to unlock as you play.
Perhaps the biggest (and the most refreshing) change is the addition of female characters in the game. The male characters in the Gears games are essentially walking beef jerky at best, strutting ball sacks at worst. Providing a nice counterbalance of tough women is just what the series needed. The character Anya was in the previous games essentially just to tell you where to go, but in Gears 3 she’s armored up and ready for action.
Another woman, Sam, often joins your squad and both are playable characters in other modes (after unlocking them). While some characters in the game make lewd references to the women, their male squad mates never do, and defend them when possible. There’s another tough older woman named Beatrice who you encounter later in the game, and some stranded camps are run by women.
Your female squad mates never need rescuing in the storyline, which is also refreshing. The end boss [SPOILER ALERT] is a woman whom you ruthlessly gut with a knife. I don’t know if the team at Epic suddenly realized the gaping hole in their games or perhaps some focus group brought it to their attention, but it’s definitely a cool about-face.
OVERALL Gears 3 is a great game, and a fitting end to the series. While I missed the level variety of Gears 2, the sheer volume of extras and the inclusion of functional female soldiers makes Gears 3 a must-have this season. 5/5