Review: Gears of War 3 (Xbox 360)

By Wayne Webb

In the beginning, I didn’t like this game. I had not played the previous Gears titles and as soon as I started I found the controls hard to get used to and clumsy. Fortunately I persevered, and as time went on Act I found I didn’t want to put it down.

Fans of the series will understand the setting straight away, but for newbies like myself there is a movie you can play to bring yourself up to speed. Set on a future world, the Gears are the square-jawed, impossibly built, uber-soldiers that spend most of their time complaining about each other while killing aliens. Gargantuan alien roots spawn blobs of alien violence, apparently born with weapons that from the first second are killing humans.

The controls seem harsh and clumsy with none of the finesse of other games like the Resistance or Call of Duty series with none of those examples intuitiveness. Once you master the controls (or return to them), the action picks up a little and you set off on a journey with characters that are as unlikeable as they are stereotypical. As the game wears on your weapons get better, the enemies get smarter and harder to kill. All of a sudden you are enmeshed in a story, a progression and a desire to kill some aliens in the messiest and most explosive ways possible.

After a while Gears of War 3 excels, long set pieces of story that were boring now become integral and make the most of your interest in getting to the next goal and finding your kidnapped father, old home town or whatever other motivations the five or six characters have in the game.

By the end of Act II you start getting weapons like the one-shot and the hammer of dawn, which deal death and destruction with devastating efficiency and delight for the player. Without these weapons, and the ammo for these is sparse, some of the bigger beasts are grinding sessions of gunfire that seems to go on forever – sometimes ending quite unexpectedly in an explosion of glowing goo.

Fans of the franchise should not be disappointed. For people who come cold to the series – like I did – if you persevere you will find an engaging and deep game experience that is worth the effort. 

Pros: Immersive plot and design, excellent weapons and satisfying action.
Cons: Occasional grinding battles, stereotypical characters, control system takes some getting used to.

4 Shacks out of 5