* Best Shooter of 2011 * Xbox 360 GOTY 2011

Gamers rejoice because its that time again. Time to head back into the fringe of war with Marcus Fenix and the Gears troop. In the conclusion of the trilogy, 'Epic' makes a statement with an impressive showcase of game making. Fire up those chainsaws, it's "Gears" time.

From the start of the prologue to the final chapter, 'Gears of War 3' is a grandiose affair filled with several emotional ploys, bad-ass machismo and monstrous creatures looking to end humankind once and for all. For those who aren't familiar with the "Gears" series, first shame on you, and secondly, don't worry because an informative “previously in gears...” option is available from the menu to get you up to speed. Getting into the mix, “Gears 3” wastes no time introducing the player to the new characters (now including ladies) and the high-intensity action. “Gears 3 ” will feel familiar to all those know how it feels to curbie a Locust, and if not, just know its an ultra-smooth third person shooter polished to perfection. This is the game that other games want to be. It's that simple.

18 months, 3 years later...
Picking up 18 months after the events in “Gears 2," more emphasis has been placed on adding cut-scenes to the action for an even tighter "cinematic" feel. Remarkably even with more story-bits tossed into the mix, "Gears 3" feels more intense; quicker, with more than enough “glowies” to exterminate. You'll see a few new types of bad guys that vary from bug-like small to hulking transforming beasts, but no matter who you face, you'll be erasing their face with your ever so trusty Lancer. For originality, “Gears 3” streamlines the mechanics and storytelling from the series into a nice package. However you're not going to find too many changes at its core. Still, the toppings do enough to make this a true follow-up to “Gears 2” and aside from the typical batch of new enemies/characters, "Gears" has enough tidbits added to the rest of the package to make 'Gears of War 3' rock as hard, if not harder then the previous editions.

A little can be enough
A little variety, but not too much is the key to success, and i couldn't agree more. As you can likely presume, “Gears 3” feels habitual, but it still has enough mojo to keep you running from chapter-to-chapter. Helping motivate the player (aside from the pure joy of slaughtering the Locust horde) is a constant switch up within the narrative driven objectives. While "kill, kill, kill" is the basis of the action, the emotional substance in the tale really helps make the bland inspiring. "Gears 3" does an exceptional job flushing out the trilogy while having enough time to focus on the stand-up characters they have crafted. From the brash authoritative 'Marcus Fenix' to the Thrashball champion 'Augustus Cole,' "Gears 3" character development and dialogue moments remain impressive. Better then before, 'Epic' blending the seriousness of war with the perfect mixture of wit and charm. Not only is the action perfected, “Gears 3” picks its spots wisely, bringing in the narrative for a clear win. It's a touchdown, baby!

Enhanced integration
“Gears 3” is also stacked with a plethora of options that begins with the main campaign and goes through to the barrage of multiplayer modes. The integration of Xbox Live is excellent, and follows the lead set by Microsoft's other heavy-hitter, Halo. Additionally an 'event calendar' has been added along with a streamlined listing of your 'stats & awards.' This brings us to the new “enhanced” progression system that allows you to gain experience and level up across all the game modes, which includes the main campaign. It's a great idea that keeps you in the game, shooting your way to unlock rewards that include gun skins and more. The final level reaches 100, so you will be busy for a while.

Also added for the first time is 4-player co-op, which is worth checking out online or off. If you're not into the co-op scene, the A.I. does an admirable job covering your six. Speaking of A.I. “Gears 3” really shines on the harder difficulties, the A.I. really doesn't bump until you surpass normal. It could be all my thumb-training over the years, but I found “Gears 3” to be slightly easier then the first two outings. Alternatively you can play through the campaign in an 'arcade mode' to earn the highest score per chapter. Built for the leaderboard addicted in mind, ranking up your multipliers and activating mutators makes for a great secondary play through.

Defeat the horde, become the beast
Continuing on with the multiplayer, “Gears 3” has upgraded the 'Horde Mode' to 'Horde 2.0.' The improvements make surviving waves more strategic with more choices how to defend. A cash-for-kills system is in place so you can purchase defences to aid you in your battle. The defences cover everything from wire fences, automated sentries to a deploy-able Silverback mech. To balance the playing field, the Locust will unleash a boss monster from the campaign at every tenth wave. Battling Brumaks and Lambent Berserkers is extremely rewarding and a lot of fun with friends. Additionally the ranking system really comes into its own online and showcases what a great addition it is to the game.

Carrying over from the 'Horde 2.0' mode is the new multiplayer feature called 'Beast Mode.' This race-against-the clock puts you control of the Locust creatures battling against the COG forces. The idea, kill the humans before the time runs out and the humans use the 'Hammer of Dawn' on your horde units. Killing the humans and destroying their fortifications will add time to your clock, and much like the 'Horde' mode you will earn tokens that act like money that lets you upgrade to bigger and badder creatures. The first tier of “beasts” consists of small but useful Tickers, working its way up to the last tier (Tier 4) that consists of Armored Kantus, Savage Boomers and the Berserker. Like the other side, team-work plays a major role in making it through each wave of 12, and while its fun to play the big monstrosities, a varied team is key to eliminating the coalition forces. Both modes are extremely addictive and fun. With these two modes pumped on dedicated servers, the already solid 'Versus Mode' with some new variants, “Gears 3” should be in your Xbox 360 for a long time.

The beauty in war
Graphically, “Gears 3” is a beast, trumping its previous efforts while showcasing why this generation of games hasn't tapped out. From the small details like the unplayable arcade game 'Malicious Delicious' and its “Tempt soul with Cookie” button to the dark and light dynamics pouring through each detailed level, "Gears 3" is a visual treat. Surprisingly, “Gears 3” isn't always a dark creeper. You will have several moments to come out in the sun to show off what the Unreal Engine 3.5 is truly made of. Even as you're tunneled through it's predominantly linear progression (optional paths still exist,) you won't see too many repeating areas, which helps keep the experience fresh... and on a side note, “Gears 3” supports stereoscopic 3D, if you have the means.

As you would expect the audio is equally impressive. "Gears" has always been spot on with the audio direction across all areas. The voice-talent reprise their roles along with some new talent including some new entries such as Michael B. Jordan as 'Jace Stratton.' On top of the solid job did by the cast, the soundtrack and massive explosions are monster-sized awesome. Impact is something that isn't always done right, but “Gears 3” knocks it out of the park. Headphones, a must.

So you get it, 'Gears of War 3' is awesome. This is gaming making at its finest; a worthy follow-up to the previous editions and a big booming end note for the trilogy. If you own a Xbox 360, then you need to get this game. It's that simple. Pure brilliance.

  • Massive game, the biggest and baddest yet
  • Plethora of options with excellent Xbox Live integration
  • Multiplayer a plenty, Gears stepped up their game
  • Mammoth storytelling mixed with the perfect amount of action
  • Enough new content to call this “Gears 3”
  • Ultra-smooth, ultra-polished
  • Feels familiar; some might crave more innovation
  • More choice within the campaign would have been welcomed
Quote: "This is gaming making at its finest; a worthy follow-up to the previous editions and a big booming end note for the trilogy."
Reviewed by DowntownJimmy | 09.24.11

Similar Games: Raam's Shadow DLC (7.0) | Gears of War 2 (9.4) | Gears of War (9.5)


Gears of War 3


Epic Games


US Release
September '11



Players 1-2
Co-Op 2-5
Multiplayer Vs
System Link 2-10
Dolby 5.1
HD 720-1080p
D/L Content
3D Support