Sounded Good On Paper

Gears of War 3

Yesterday on my lunch break I picked up Gears of War 3. I hated Gears of War 2 and almost gave up playing multiplayer games entirely because of the terrible experience. I decided to try the game based on this review and because my buddy Mike was really excited about playing.

My first reaction as I sat in my cubicle and opened the package was disappointment. Inside the box you’ll get the game disc, a sheet with 3 static clings and the game manual. I was looking forward to pouring through this document in the spare moments throughout the rest of the day until I got home and could play. Unfortunately for me, the game manual was a whopping two pages long.

Finally I got home and had a chance to play the game. Right from the beginning you can tell that this is an experience to be shared, as you’re automatically dumped into a game lobby. Since I had some time to kill before Mike got home, I looked through the menus and saw that they offer a video summarizing the first two games for newcomers. Its small touches like that that I really enjoy. After catching up on the story so far I loaded into the campaign mode, on easy, so I could figure out how the controls and cover mechanics worked before Mike signed online.

I got through the first half of Act 1 before breaking for dinner and I was very pleased. The controls seem natural to someone that plays Call of Duty almost exclusively. I didn’t find myself getting stuck to the walls, which was one of my major problems with Gears 2. Everything felt fluid. Gears definitely has its own rhythm and once you get in tune with it the game really opens up. This isn’t a game you’ll want to rush through; it’ll frustrate the hell out of you. The characters move at their own pace and there’s way too much beautiful scenery and creepy monsters to check out.

After dinner I had a couple minutes before Mike was going to sign on so I hopped into the dreaded multiplayer team death match. The combination of always getting stuck on the walls and the massive amounts of lag switching instant deaths I received in Gears 2, I was not looking forward to this moment. To my relief, I had no problems getting into games or any issues with people abusing the lag. The movement was just as fluid as in the single player and I actually ended 3 out of the 4 games with a positive kill/death ratio.

Finally Mike signed online and we were all set to play some cooperative campaign mode. Mike is a Gears veteran, so we started in Hardcore mode, the hardest mode available when you first start out. He was stuck watching me play through the first parts of the game until I met up with his character. I had a fun time goofing around with him in the ship before the action started. Once the action started it was brutal. I must have set a world record for the most amount of getting downed in a minute. There was a period of time when this monster kept hurling flaming boulders at me and knocking me down. A computer controlled teammate that was apparently assigned to just keeping me alive would revive me in just enough time for me to get hit in the face with the boulder again. It was pretty hilarious and with the only penalty of being killed means you start at the last checkpoint we weren’t too worried about my lack of skill in the game. There was one point that tested my nerves, we kept getting killed at this one point and it was right before a cut scene where you had to choose which path to take. This meant that we had to watch our characters climb down a ladder about 10 times until we finally passed that area. Thankfully Mike kept me in check by reminding me it’s just a game when I was on the verge of rage quitting.

Check back next week for my review of additional play modes like the Horde mode!

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