Gears of War 3 Campaign Impressions

Gears of War 3 2

This summer between new releases, I found myself searching through my backlog looking for games I could knock off. One game I ended up choosing to give another go was Gears of War 3 which despite me starting on launch day almost two years ago, I have never finished. After completing it, I was reminded what a fun action experience the series can be.

When looking at what makes Gears of War 3’s shooting shine, I’ve decided it is in large part to its weapon set and its vast variety of enemy types. The weapons all have a great feel to them. While I rarely go anywhere without my trusty Lancer (using its chainsaw bayonet is still delightful even after several entries in the series), I found myself switching to other weapons throughout my time in the campaign and coming away impressed with mostly all of them. The Torque Bow took me a little bit to get re-accustomed to, but once I did I was having a blast puncturing enemies with its explosive arrows. I’ve never really bought into the hype of the Hammer of Dawn due to the restrictions of when you could use it, but it felt like they barely ever held you back from it here which made it something I tried to use a lot more this time around. The rest of the armaments felt equally worthwhile other than the pistols which I admittedly didn’t give as much of a chance and the Retro Lancer which I didn’t care for at all.

Enemy variety continued to impress in this third entry of the series too. Gears of War’s sci-fi backdrop gives these games a chance to go nuts with making new enemy types that more realistic shooters cannot which really helps to keep encounters more varied. With lots of new Lambent enemies as well as old Locust favorites, you’ll be changing your tactics throughout the campaign as you deal with all the baddies the game throws at you.

Gears of War 3 1

While these elements feel as good as ever, I don’t think time has treated the Gears cover system all that well. While it may have popularized the sticky cover system seen in a myriad of games this gen, it hasn’t taken cues from some of the other entries in the genre since it started the trend. Using the A button for so many actions makes for unnecessary complications in my opinion, but worse are some of the restrictions to movement. Being a big fan of Uncharted, Gears’ character movement has always felt incredibly sluggish to me (I also don’t like being locked to a strafe), but I can accept them as this being a different style of game. What is less acceptable is how the game makes moving in and out of cover more difficult than it should be. Having to go into cover just to hop over it is silly as is having to move around certain pieces of cover instead of being able to climb on top. Overall the system is still serviceable and gets the job done, but I couldn’t help but think it needs to take some steps forward in the future (I have not played Judgment and have no clue if it made any changes in these areas).

Unfortunately, for the first time in the series, I played through the campaign solo (though I played a bit of it co-op before restarting it this time). I really love that this series is built so thoroughly around the cooperative play. It’s not a mode that is forced into a singleplayer game and it is definitely more fun to play with a friend than AI teammates. Gears 3 was clearly designed for four-player co-op which I can only imagine ratchets up the fun that much more.

A few other things worth noting:

  • The game has a typically short campaign mode which is unfortunately kind of the norm for shooters these days. That doesn’t mean I have to like it. It is possible to have a nice ten hour shooter campaign without bad pacing. Devs should put the effort in to do it.
  • The active reload is such a simple mechanic, but totally great. I still love it.
  • The vehicle sections were largely forgettable. The submarine part felt like the low point of the game and went on for a bit too long. But the new mechs were good fun.
  • There is a narrative in the game, but I still don’t care much.
  • I’m not sure how I’d stack it up against the earlier two Gears of War campaigns. They all felt pretty similar in quality to me.

My return to the Gears series was a success. Despite quibbles about the aging cover system or the short campaign, Gears of War 3 capped off the trilogy with another good action-packed outing that scratched my itch to go shoot some stuff for a while.

5 thoughts on “Gears of War 3 Campaign Impressions

  1. I’d definitely say 2 is my favorite in the series, but it’s not like with Uncharted or Dead Space where it’s that much of a big deal. 3 was still a great game and did a good job of delivering more fun. I get your problem with the A button also, but for some reason that always felt natural to me. Glad someone else hates the uselessness that is the Retro Lancer as well.

    Also that comment on how so many are shooters are short is just one of the many, many reasons why Last of Us is such an amazing game.

    • I was going to say Gears 2, but I don’t have much conviction I guess. Also when I play games primarily co-op, I end up goofing around a bit more. Whereas singleplayer I think I spend a bit more time thinking about how they stack up with other games and stuff. So it is hard for me to rank this and Halo and games I’ve played primarily co-op.

      Yeah, before The Last of Us, I used to cite Resident Evil 4 which I think was longer than TLoU. I know they aren’t straight up action games, but still. Five-six hours is pretty unacceptable to me.

  2. 4 player co-op is the way to go with the campaign. Some memorable moments include the lambent berserker fight. I also liked the mech, I think they can develop that further in future releases. Sometimes I accidentally hop over cover in one fluid motion, so there is a way to do it but I couldn’t tell you how.

    • You know I could have sworn there was a way to roll directly over cover or something but when it never came up that I could do it. I figured I mixed it up with another game. Oops… haha. I still have issues with the cover system/A button overuse, but they aren’t too bad to be honest. Four player co-op must have been awesome.

      Are these the types of games you play? I know you play games, but am not quite sure what sorts you enjoy. I know you mentioned recently that sandbox wasn’t your thing.

      • I like reading about games and gaming news but too be honest I don’t play that many and the games I do get like Borderlands 2 and Bioshock Infinite I barely touched. That’s why I don’t buy that much games nowadays because I rarely finish them. But I do plan on getting a next gen console but not at launch.

        I do play a tonne of Gears Of War multiplayer and can talk about it for hours. One of my all-time favorite games is Ocarina of Time. I also enjoy games like Arkham City, Final Fantasy 13, Walking Dead, the first Dead Space, Plants Vs Zombies and Fallout 3 (well I sort of liked it). i played a bit of Call of Duty … Black Ops / MW, but was never good at it.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s