There’s an issue with cover-shooters, and especially those who get to the third part. You know what? Cross out “issue”. Maybe “situation” would be a better word. Yes, there’s a situation with this type of games. They get repetitively boring very fast. You see, there is just an amount of time where you can make the same movements again and again without the desire to be the one receiving incoming fire. Gears of War 3 struggles with the gameplay mechanics while throwing one cinematic after the other full of cliched characters that come back from its predecessors. And you know what? With the amount of hype that Epic Games is generating surrounding the next installment… well, I, personally, expect something new. Originality should be a MUST, not a MAYBE.
Gears of War 3
I might sound harsh as the game is, still, a technical wonder. The visual style it’s awesome and takes the XBox 360 to his full capacity. Developed once again with that sweet Unreal Engine 3 they own (yep… that one does not age) every detail of visual aspect is very well cared, the backgrounds are extensive and pretty even in between the massive locusts, lambents, and general wreckage. Every character is precisely defined even when most of them are mountains of muscle with biceps the size of my head (I have a large skull). The interiors, like, the inside of the CNV Sovereign, where the characters starts their action packed journey, have a lot of interactive objects –like a piano you can actually play- and it truly seems that Epic put a lot of effort in making this installment, as good as their predecessors with a loud epic soundtrack and excellent voice actors putting their best to get in character.
Realizing what a ‘drop-the-ball’, GoW: Judgment was, really intensifies my statement.
You see, Gears of War is not a bad game… at all; the overall critic puts it right at the top of charts next to GoW and Gow 2. It’s just the same game than those and, I don’t know about you, I love a sequel that respects its origins; but I just can’t stand the same game all over again. I just can’t. And less so when they have all the resources in the world to simply not to. And then sell it as a brand new jewel of the crown. Come on Epic. You guys revolutionize gaming world with Unreal. How about developing something new?
Nope. Nope. Nope.
Fenix dreams. His father is dead. Fuck him right? Well actually no. Adam Fenix’s death in a Locust attack in the Battle of Ephyra left some heavy marks on him. Marcus Fenix is a strong dude indeed, but recovering from seeing your dad dying in front of you? Come on man, are you made of diamond?
The CNV Sovereign, the huge ship named ‘The Raven’s Nest’ by his occupants, the Gears and the survivors of the ‘Jacinto Sinking’, is receiving a strange visit. Chairman Prescott, who was presume disappeared announces his landing. He has news to deliver to senior officer Captain Michaelson. At that moment, the Lambents (Locust that have been exposed to Imulsion) strike the ship and the shit-storm initiates and ends with Michaels’ son life. Prescott isn’t in better shape and gives Fenix a disc that needs to be decrypted.
What secrets hide that disc?
Well, as a matter of fact, a really big one. Marcus Fenix, you huge pussy: your father is not dead. Stop hugging that frame. Also, what the hell is going on in Azura?
Well, let’s go there to find that out.
The story was written by Karen Traviss, a well-known sci-fi writer of some Star Wars novels related to the Star Wars: Republic Commando computer game. She also wrote the novels of Gears of War and Halo. Maybe she is not Isaac Asimov, but then again, who is?
Da Big Guns
As I said, the problem with the game is not the story, but what makes the story moves forward. Shooters are this. There’s no complains about that. As a credo, I think, stories should not be explained that straightforwardly. That’s what happens with GoW saga. Four bros dialog: joke-important matter-relevant information-joke-cinematic-fight, all over again. Until you get repelled. And is not like the combats have any difference in between. You just find a cover spot, wait until the enemy takes cover and shoot. And repeat. Ad Infinitum. Yes, there are bosses that need more strategy and will force, but nothing to get crazy about it.
Gameplay, at least, is super intuitive thanks to thousands of shooters before, and Epic didn’t innovate. You get four guns: two primaries, a pistol, and grenades. Sadly there aren’t a lot of types really and my preferred is the ‘Sniper’ rifle that has a very high damage stat and a decent amount of ammo (24). Most common weapons around are the Hammerburst and Lancer rifles and the Gnasher shotgun, super effective at short range.
You know, if you pass all the stereotypical characters, the military movie kind of dialog, and the repeated plot, you get a fun and fast paced shooter. If you are one of those gamers that puts faith on the old art of THINKING, perhaps you should let this one go. If you enjoy destroying thins at point blank, give it a go. Epic Games are acknowledged for that. And it’s a great accomplishment.