In the final installment of the popular “Gears of War” series, video game development company Epic Games improves its already popular franchise by creating revamped weapon mechanics, clean-cut graphics and maintaining the always interesting, albeit cheesy, dialogue between Marcus Fenix, a soldier of the Coalition of Ordered Governments, and his platoon as they try to save what is left of planet Sera, a space colony of Earth.
The game’s storyline follows Fenix and his Gears, who have been fighting the reptilian swarm collectively known as the Locust Hordes with little success for more than a decade when the final game takes place. Upon the discovery of a civil war in the Locust Hordes, Fenix and his team attempt to end the conflict on Sera, even if that means creating an unexpected alliance with their former enemies to do it.
The game is designed for new and returning fans alike. There is a quick two-minute video overview of the previous two installments at the beginning of the game to help get newer players up to speed. Newbies are likely to become fully immersed in all the games’ jargon and character details, such as the back story of the Locust Hordes, Marcus’ tumultuous childhood and the technical beauty of a lancer gun and its gory capabilities. For longtime fans of the series, the third installment offers revamped graphics, a new style of play and a more developed multiplayer mode.
Like its predecessors, the story mode in “Gears of War 3” can be repetitive and clichéd, as most of the dialogue and events of the game are painstakingly simplified. The Diggers, a group of Locust enemies, scream “dig” upon every attack, which makes the otherwise dynamic fight sequences fall flat. This excessive background noise distracts from the actual gameplay.
The lackluster storyline and narrative pale in comparison to the dynamic graphics created for the new game. In the final
installment, Sera has finally fallen — a destruction that has been three games and five years in the making. “Gears of War” developers create innovative, dark twisted graphics to portray a landscape left desolate by fighting among the Locust Hordes groups. Players are still able to graze walls and use them as cover, but now these walls are filled with bullet holes and surrounded by rubble, marking the annihilation of Sera’s landscape.
For the first time in the series, Epic Games offers a beast mode that allows gameplay from the Locusts’ point of view. Gamers can fight waves of human enemies and master the bestial nature of the various Locust species. However, Epic Games neglected to include a tutorial for the new mode in the game, which makes learning to play in it difficult at first. While this may be frustrating, the mode is worth the effort as it provides the opportunity to experience the game from an entirely different perspective and fight Fenix and his team rather than control them.
Epic Games has made multiplayer mode more accessible in the final installment by doing away with the unfair advantage hosts received in the previous games. Now all players are encouraged to experience the game in multiplayer mode because they will not have to struggle against the hosts’ added strength that previously prevented them from having a fair chance at beating the game’s leader.
As Epic Games puts the breaks on the “Gears of War” series with it’s third installment, both gamers familiar with the story and players new to the battle for control of Sera are likely to declare “Gears of War 3” a visually appealing victory.