Community Review

Community Review

Community Review The first two hours of Gears of War 3, I think, are really representative of what a polished, seamlessly integrated experience is and should be. Of course it’s hardly reinventing the wheel – but why should it? The series already provided the template that hundreds of others have been following this gen! Cut it some slack!

Dip into cover, pop and shoot, slam into the roadie run, cleave some poor schmuck in twain with your Lancer – the feature set of Gears of War 3 has become comfortingly familiar, but the magic of the game has never been a set of bullet points. It isn’t what you do in the game – more how it’s done.

Unlike most other third person shooters, which seem content to borrow the template created by Epic, Gears has its own identity, its own feel. Heaving a bunch of chunky men around the environment is fun, shooting is rewarding, reloading feels like a tense attrition of timing and skill. There’s no getting around it – I love Gears of War 3.

The core of Gears, as you all know, is super solid, but what surprised me – particularly in the game’s first act – is just how well paced the game’s single player really is. It blusters from point to point seamlessly, to the extent that you’re barely aware that you’re simply moving from one combat encounter to the next.

Cut scenes are smartly written and economical – Gears of War is often criticised for being ‘dumb’, but it’s more like Columbo – it pretends it’s stupid, then surprises you with insight and smarts. The dialogue is crisp, even funny at times, and the characters are memorable.

I see it as the closest thing gaming has come to that prototypically awesome action movie Predator. A well-made action movie that bears repeat viewings – a great example of action done almost perfectly. I make absolutely no apologies for enjoying Gears of War 3 from start to finish.

But enough rambling from me! This is supposed to be a Community Review – what did you guys think of the game?


  • Best gears yet. Story was actually pretty good. There were still loose ends that weren’t wrapped up to my satisfaction, and some bits were a bit =\, but overall, they have improved it. The gameplay is super well polished; the 3 years of dev time really shows. Horde mode is super fun, I love the upgrades they’ve made to it. Beast mode is also fun, expecially when go around and hulk smash everything as a berserker. It seems every multiplayer match i jump into is still a gnasher shotgun-fest, so I haven’t played much of it.

    • Actually, while the Gnasher is still as OP as it ever was, now players use a different weapon. The sawn-off shotgun. It’s pretty much a one-hit kill from short and medium range.

      • To me that’s what makes the multiplayer fun. In most multiplayer games there’s one gun that’s over powered, but in Gears almost every weapon is fundamentally over powered. The difference is that the over powered potential of the weapons always requires correct use and not dying to them requires the correct response.
        Sort of like how Call of Duty legitimized cheating by allowing you to shoot through walls and use perks, Gears of War legitimized over powered weapons by just making them all crazy one shot devices in the right context.
        Coupled with the cover system the over powered weapons create a strategic element you don’t get from most 5v5 shooters.

        Sure, the Gnasher will shred you in close range and frustrate you to the point where you’ll smash a controller, but the true frustration comes from knowing that you let it happen. It’s a cheap death, but unless you let your guard down it’s easily avoidable. That’s why I love playing online. The low of allowing someone with a reved Lancer close enough to kill you allows for the ridiculous victory high.
        Particularly in situations where you know you’ve screwed up. I probably sound like I enjoy it too much, but the rush of being out of cover with a Lancer face to face against someone with a Gnasher, knowing the fight was decided long before you got there, yet still somehow pulling it off and winning is just a brilliant rush.

        Granted it does make for a painful learning curve. I’d hate to be the guy trying to learn the controls playing multiplayer. If you don’t use cover instinctively you’re in for a rough ride.

        • Ditto on the difficulty of the learning curve. This is my first multiplayer experience with the Gears franchise and just training my brain to understand the shotgun metagame has been frustrating to say the least.

          It has only been in the last couple of days or so where Im starting to actually get kills with the sawn-off and at the end of the day it is probably the most rewarding aspect of the game for me.

          Granted I would easily say that 75% of my kills are as a result from mistakes being made by the enemy team and not necessarily my skill level 😛

  • Are we going into spoilers?

    I ask because I finished it last night, and I want to know what we can talk about.

    • i havent yet finished it, but if you do write something with spoilers, please do what kotaku didnt with arkham city and write SPOILERS at the beggining 🙂

  • One of the worst games i’ve played this year.

    You say the first two hours represents how polished the game is. I say the first two hours represents just how stale the franchise has become.

    Most importantly the repetative missions they send you on. “Go push the button that’s on the other side of the warehouse, lets go COG!”. That’s not such a bad thing in moderation, but that’s all gears has.

    The large enemies that you fight are equally boring. Suprise suprise you have to shoot it in the eyes… Very imaginative.

    And forcing you to re-watch cut-scenes after dieing. Really?

    The biggest problem is that they think their story is Oscar worthy so they force cut-scenes down your throat, when they should be integrating it in a meaningful way into the gameplay.

    Beautiful visuals, fun shooting and cover system, but that only lasts so long.

    • You make it sound like you’ve only played the very first section of the game on the ship. Which like most introduction segments serve to familiarise yourself with the game and the controls.

      Cutscenes are no less frequent than other similar games and as the game progresses they help break up the action a little and give you a moment’s reprieve. They’re also skippable (hit the back button), so that solves your little rewatching problem.

      I’m not saying your opinion is wrong or invalid, but it sounds like you started playing not wanting to enjoy things.

    • not being able to skip cutscenes is a massive pet hate of mine…


      you can skip cutscenes in GoW3 -.- you press the back button or ones of those if i recall. Was the same in the other Gow’s

      • Yep, the back button. I didn’t try it this time since it was my first time through the campaign, but pressing back traditionally skips over most of the intercom scenes as well (parts where you walk slow, people talk and you can’t use your weapon).

  • Exactly my thoughts on the game, Mark.

    Well the first 2 at least. I haven’t been able to pick up 3 yet, unfortunately.
    Will be awesome when i do, though haha 😀

    Glad to hear it’s living up to expectations, though.

    • That’s excellent news about skipping cut-scenes, I was mashing my controller trying to skip but I must have missed the back button somehow.

      I loved the first gears, it was new, fresh and fun. The second I got extremely frustrated with and found it overly repetitive. I was hoping this would at least try to mix things up but from what I played (Up until around Coles hometown) that didn’t seem to be the case.

      • Funny, i actually really liked the second. The mechanics seems to work so much better – and i was genuinely heartbroken when the found Dom’s wife…

        ..>And when Tai blew his own head off… 🙁

        Sad, sad game.

        • i agree… i mean there was a snicker when i imagine a huge big musclemass oneliner throwing organic hulk being sad, but then i realised i was being cynical and started feeling for the poor virtual guy, i mean it’s his wife comeon!!!!!… well played Epic, well played *puts on sunnies*

      • Did you finish Cole’s hometown? Because very little interesting happens until you’re done at the Thrashball stadium and the story doesn’t really take off until after you’ve beaten the Leviathan (the second time, from Cole and Baird’s perspective on the bridge rather than on the boat as Marcus etc).

        You gave up on it far too early. Like Trjn, I’m not declaring your opinion invalid, but your opinion is based on a very small sample.

        • No I didn’t finish Coles hometown.

          A small sample maybe, but around 1.5 – 2 hours worth of gameplay. I really hope that the first few hours aren’t representative of the full game and that the gameplay does vary and objectives do improve, but what I played were some of the most boring hours of gameplay i’ve played this year.

  • Absolutely love it. The gameplay is really solid and fun. Getting a perfect reload, chainsawing a locust in half or rolling out of the way of a beserker charge never gets old, no matter how many times you do it.

    The story is fantastic. I’m a huge fan of the way Gears tell its story. One minute it’s all bro fists and mates having good fun killing evil guys, next minute it’s all serious and emotional. I’ve played many, many war games and so far Gears has been the only one that’s actually shown just how brutal war actually is. It’s hard not to like and feel sorry for these burly men who can kick ass but have being pushed near the end of their line by the almost non stop horrors they have to face every day.

  • I enjoyed Gears 3 a great deal and look forward to giving the multiplayer a whirl at a later stage.

    The story seemed to wrap most things up and there wwas greater variety in the challenges and fights.
    My personal favourite was the seige battle.

    As for weapons, each felt right and useful, loved the retro lancer, but I question the usefulness of the sawn off shotgun.
    Maybe it finds its neiche in multiplayer, but in the singleplayer I found the gnasher or melee more effective than the slow handcannon.
    Maybe if it was a switch for the pistols, but not as one of the primary weapons.
    It’s also good to have AI able to revive you.
    Overall a well-polished, satisfying game.

  • I finished the campaign on Hardcore last week, mainly by myself but with a little help from some fellow Kotakuites along the way.

    The plot is not the greatest thing ever penned but it serves the purpose of getting you from points A to B and keeping it interesting enough to hold your attention.

    Most importantly about the campaign is that it felt like a satisfying conclusion to events. Sure I never really cared for the plot in the previous games and the emotional content beforehand was ham-fisted at best, but everything seemed to be put together rather well this time.

    The new enemies make for interesting combat but can be a little bullet spongey at times. Gunkers in particular feel like they take too damned long to kill but the introduction of the Lambent Berserker was pretty damned fun.

    Changes to the weapons (based on rusty memories of previous Gears) aren’t too bad. The Lancer is still just as fun, but the Hammerburst feels like it has been changed dramatically. The Retro Lancer now serves as the burst fire weapon but the range on it makes it a lot less enjoyable to use.

    Torque Bows (as anyone who has played Horde with me will confirm) continue to be the greatest weapon ever.

    Most of the time, I just don’t bother with multiplayer. Sure, I haven’t bothered with the competitive multiplayer modes yet, but pretty much every day since I started playing, I’ve done a few rounds of Horde or Beast mode and I don’t see that stopping any time soon.

    Gears 3 isn’t innovative but this just goes to show that execution is often more important. They’ve found what worked in the Gears franchise and polished it rather well.

    If you have no interest in Gears at all, this isn’t the game for you. If there was anything at all about previous Gears that interested you, this is a great game.

    Most importantly of all, it never stops being profoundly satisfying to chainsaw an opponent in half. Even after all these years, and having done it hundreds of times, I still enjoy it.

    That about sums up the game in a nutshell, it’s satisfying. You get exactly what you came for and leave content.

  • Hate the Australian girls accent in the single campaign – I know that the voice actress is actually Australian, but someone has told her “Be REALLY Australian”.. it’s painfull.

      • Me too. But Bernie was also Australian. I picked up her proper accent Straight away.
        The reason, I think, Sam sound like she’s faking it sometimes is because she’s forgotten the accent I think. After all she used to play an American on NCIS.

    • HA!
      I thought EXACTLY the same thing.
      I kept picturing the voice acting director sitting in the sound booth and saying “No, you’ve got to sound MORE Australian…”
      She sounds very much like Purna from Dead Island.
      I do feel like there’s an Australian doing the voice acting, but they’ve been forced into vocal caricature territory.

      • Funny, to me she sounded exactly like Chloe in Uncharted 2 (for good reason, since it’s Claudia Black in both cases) and I don’t remember anyone complaining about her accent there.

        Unless you’re talking about a different character?

    • I didn’t think it was that bad… I know I’ve heard worse.
      It’s kind of like Rachel Taylor in films, her accent only stands out because she’s surrounded by Americans.

    • I’m more annoyed by one of her taunts.
      “What’s the matter, getting your ass kicked by a girl?”.

  • The last thing I’d ever want to play Gears 3 for is the story. It’s disposable sci-fi pulp at best; at worst, it plays out like the predictable ramblings of a failed literature major who caved at the sight of a focus group. Utterly unintelligible rubbish that Peter Falk hardly deserved to be associated with.

    No, if you play Gears 3, it’s for the multiplayer. If you want a good story, go read a book.

  • Not really a major criticism, but did anyone else notice how different all the returning characters looked? They seem to have completely re-designed Cole and Baird’s noggins. It almost feels like they ‘recast’ the roles with new actors (albeit with the same voices).

    Marcus Fenix was the only character who has the same facial structure.

  • I found the game great fun – played through in one sitting on co-op.

    But as much as I want to support the local industry, I found the two Australian-voiced characters extremely jarring.

    Marcus: “Even my voice has manly American muscles. Lets take this cliched badass line and send those monsters to hell.”
    Aussie Twang: “Aw streuth, they’ve broken through the main gate! Bloody hell!”

  • Hey.. while i did enjoy gears games quite a lot – i’ve never looked into the lore.. so can someone tell me why Marcus was in prison at the start of the first one.. it was never really explained…

    • It was my impression (could be inaccurate) that he was put in prison for disobeying orders and taking a squad from a battle to rescue his father, the first mission in 3.

      Again, this is extrapolation because it’s never really spelled out in the games.

      • ^^^ this, During one of the major battles (can’t remember which one), he directly disobeyed a direct order to hold the line (but WE – held – THE – LINE!) and went to save his dad but was not successfull and then spend 4(?) years in prison after that

  • The campaign story climaxes early. The rest of the game feels like a poorly thought out piece of filler. Guess Karen Traviss was trying to point out something there.

  • The story starts off a bit slow, but that’s probably just to make sure we’re not too distracted while we loosen up our Gears joints and get to grips with some new toys like the Retro Lancer and Silverback.

    I was surprised that the story jumped ahead two years from the end of Gears 2 and I guess a lot happened in that time – granted it’s been awhile since I finished Gears 2 and I barely remembered the story (apart from the Dom/Maria part and hints about Adam Fenix still being alive at the end of the credits).

    I was glad to FINALLY find out why Marcus was in prison at the beginning of Gears 1, and this game made me want to go back and play all three games again.

    The story really kicks in about Act 3, though there’s no denying Acts 1 & 2 were an excellent prologue and contained some great gameplay moments. Gears is nothing if not polished and you don’t often see games work this smoothly. I didn’t even notice any glaring AI issues, like teammates walking into walls or enemies shooting at innocent sections of fences. The action was smooth, the controls were tight.

    Some of snippets of character background were really great – the whole of the chapter in Act 1 where youp lay as Cole was just great – the rampant hate of COG/Gears soldiers was a bit overbearing, but it played nicely. There’s a bit where Cole meets a big fan who promises to help, and as I’m led through winding corridors and endless rambling rooms I can’t help but think “this is totally going to go pear shaped. We are walking into a trap. Stop it! Let me just shoot these people now!

    When it turned out the game was playing it completely straight and these people were going to give Cole a stockpile of ammo out of the goodness of their hearts, I was genuinely surprised. Am I alone here? I don’t care. It was a really well done scene and then Cole’s flashback later on… well it makes perfect sense in his character, he’s always ridden high on his ego, every part of his character is still a sport superstar in spite of everything.

    What happened when he was confronted with the ruins of his old stomping grounds, the Thrashball stadium? Was he angry? Sad? Did he go a little crazy? Yes, absolutely. All of these. I think it was a fun addition from a gameplay perspective, but also (in my opinion) an interesting take on post-traumatic stress. I think he needed to cut a little loose, recharge his batteries, and after that he’s the same old Cole.

    The tone of the game went sharply downhill, from the events at the end of act 3 and then the visit to the ash city, Char, but it didn’t interrupt the flow of the game too much so pretty soon we were back to giving the locut what-for.

    I thought the ending was excellent, from the final boss battle, the bit where everything gets explained, to the bittersweet ending.

    I heard there’s story DLC coming and while I think Gears 3 wrapped up nicely, I would like to see more. Griffin never finished his business with Marcus (I was really disappointed we never saw him again), and while we learned a lot about Cole, Marcus and Dom, we still don’t know a thing about Baird or Anya and I felt they really underused Clayton Carmine after all the hype about whether he’d live or die based on community votes. Maybe Epic weren’t prepared for the decision the community would make, but still, I was expecting more from this character. As it stands, Benjamin Carmine from Gears 2 is still my favourite Carmine brother because at least we got to know him a little bit.

    The Australian accents were atrocious, which is surprising since one of them was voiced by Claudia Black, who actually is Australian (and amazingly, they let her out of her cage without Ben Browder aroundm which was nice).

    Overall, a great game with very few flaws. A strong contender for my personal GOTY pick even with Arkham City, Saints Row 3, Skyrim and Assassin’s Creed Revelations coming up.

    • I find this and Mark’s review to sum up how I felt about it. Still a few questions remain, but overall a very solid finish (?) to the series.

  • Played this through over the long weekend with my wife. I think the greatest praise I can give it is that as soon as we’d finished she waanted to play horde and beast modes.

    She reckons she doesn’t like the macho gears vibe but really likes the gameplay – and I totally agree. The testosterone-mutated COGs are pretty grating after a while but the gameplay is now so refined in its third iteration, and the action so well paced, that it’s a real hook.

  • I liked it.

    I never got a melee kill with the Retro Lancer… but that’s my own fault.
    This was the first game I really got the chainsaw going (too much Space Marine me thinks).
    I think the emotional piece at the end of the second act was a bit awkward more than anything else.
    The difficulty curve was a lot better this time around as it has really jumped in previous games.
    Visually, it looks sublime… and it’s kind of obvious which art the ‘people can fly’ guys did… as there are some major similarities between this and Bulletstorm.

  • Horde & Beast modes? Highly addictive, I’ve barely touched the campaign and have spent WAY too much time on this. Just need to get some decent groups together for Horde, seem to crap out after or around the 30-round mark.

    Lambent Berserker? FTL 🙁

    • We did the same the first 10 or so times we played.
      – Don’t spend any cash – except on new bases – until round 30. Though an upgraded turret makes most waves a piece of cake
      – Try playing on Thrashball. We’ve hit 50 on this map more than once already once with only 3 players.
      – With Lambent beserkers – have one person keep her busy while everyone else mops up the rest of the wave. Then it becomes a simple piece of shoot and roll. I think she’s actually the easiest to deal with.

      • You need to spend money when you first start playing Horde so that you have the upgraded fortifications available.

        Then it’s just a case of dealing with each set of ten waves. Waves 1-6 are normally fairly easy so you use them to build up cash, 7-9 you start putting fortifications up and wave 10 you deal with the bosses.

        Small maps like Thrashball and Hotel seem like a good idea, but they’re a little cramped when it comes to dealing with Berserkers and Gunkers. The large maps like Sandbar and Overpass seem to be better options. At least, I’ve enjoyed them more (it could be that the last wave on Hotel was so brutal we redid it about twenty times before giving up).

        • To add on what Trjn said, we pretty much dominated up to wave 49 on Overpass by controlling the high ground (though we had a few rough rounds in the 40s) then once we’d done a few attempts at Boss Wave 50, we’d lost all our defences/upgrades and ditched the high ground for taking cover in the side buildings because we foolishly thought Brumaks wouldn’t be able to get to us – sadly, Brumaks have noclip enabled and can just walk in. We also repeatedly wiped on Berserkers and Reavers. you jsut need to keep trying until you get a boss wave you can handle – we finally made it on Gunkers, two of which thankfully went down to my Hammer of dawn, else we might not have had enough ammo for everything else.

  • Despite hating myself for enjoying the over-the-top-machismo, Gears of War 3 makes me feel the way a great game should. Entertained, enthralled, excited, energized… err, envelope?… Mah, Stupid exercises in alliteration aside, I’m loving it.

    Whilst I’d like to provide some insights into the campaign arc (which seems cool), I can’t tear myself away from the versus multiplayer. I’ve never enjoyed Gears online before, but this version is so polished, balanced and down right fun.

    At first it’s kinda frustrating constantly having your head blown off by the sawn-off shotgun. I cried ‘bullshit’ more than I’d like to admit. But then I realised that everything in this game has a well balanced counter. Roll away and unload into that cheap punk – it’ll take him ages to reload. MWAHAHAHAHA! Or go find the Hammer of Dawn. MWAHAHAHAHA!

    The maps are very tactical. Having the high ground or the heavy weapons can turn the tide of a close battle. This element of strategy, more than anything else, is what got me hooked.

    The weapons are fun. The maps are great (I would like a few more though – but I guess I’ll be paying for those soon). The visuals are brilliant (perhaps not as photo-realistic as Crysis 2, but still better looking in my opinion). The sound is gruesome.

    Very satisfying overall, and I haven’t even finished the campaign yet. 9.5 ‘bayoneted-screaming-locusts’ out of 10.

  • Great action, though I felt that Gears 2 was higher on the Wow-O-Meter, and also the game is extremely easy on Medium settings – I’d say play it on Hardcore from the get-go! The story and plot is cheesy, but its good cheese and you’ll laugh alot if you dont take it too seriously – sort of like Will Pherrel trying to win an oscar.

  • Short and sweet…
    Horde is an obsession – Loving it
    Beast is a great 20 minute (record 13 minutes) diversion
    The story peaks early with the truck explosion scene – but loved it all the same
    VS – always hated, but actually enjoyed quite a few games already /review

  • Horde mode is greatly improved and probably the only reason worth coming back to the game. A lot of fun to be had in there with a little strategy thrown in on the side – plus, everybody loves upgrading things and horde mode gives you that in spades.

  • The end of Act 3, Chapter 5 was epic! When ‘Mad World’ kicked in and the slow motion action. . . awesome!

  • “The series already provided the template that hundreds of others have been following this gen!… Unlike most other third person shooters, which seem content to borrow the template created by Epic”

    Could you please elaborate? Perhaps some examples? Did Epic invent the 3rd person shooter? I think not.

    • The producer of Resident Evil 5 specifically mentioned Gears as an influence on the game.

      Anyhow, chest high barriers that you stick to have become pretty much standard since Gears. It may not have been the first but it was the one that everyone took notice of and tried to mimic.

  • I really enjoyed the game, finished it on hardcore on the weekend and im running through on insane atm.

    My only criticism of the game is that there was some good chances for the characters to emote which the developers decided against for some reason.

    Imo there is one significant place that could of used better script writing and that is right at the end before Marcus talks to the queen the last time. (trying not to give spoilers)There just could of been more emotion there……it felt like a cliche script there especially after epic made the scene between Dom and Maria in gears 2 so powerful.

    Other then that its great, horde mode is fantastic now with base building and mp is solid, even beast mode is good ill be playing this for a while to come.

  • Whilst I felt the story was about the same (that is, decent, but not fantastic), mainly due to the fact that I just do not care about the characters. The first few acts of the game are a real snorefest, after that it picks up.

    The multiplayer is great, getting points and unlocks from story + multiplayer + horde is great and really should have been in the last one as well.

  • It big, loud, violent and stupid.

    I’m loving it.

    It doesn’t aim to be super realistic, or boast a story like Schindler’s List. But it has a bit of story, a bit of feeling, great visuals and a buttload of slaughtering.

    And the multiplayer. It feels the same, but smoother and with an emphasis on tactical aggression. You can’t just go rolling around with shotguns anymore.

    People are going apesh*t over the sawnoff on the Epic forums. Whingers.

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