How do you bring to a close possibly the best trilogy on the Xbox 360? You shake it to its foundations like the mad, mad world that it is.
When developing Gears of War 3, Epic Games knew it would be scrutinized by its legion of fans, who expect greatness in this chapter.
The first Gears of War brought players into a world of visual fidelity previously unseen, with magnificent storytelling and addictive but simple multiplayer gaming. Gears of War 2 brought, among other things, multiplayer enhancements so profuse that it was hard to keep track of the hours invested. Now with this third installment that ties up the stories of the characters, Epic lives up to its name and delivers something truly awesome.
Let's be clear, though. The Gears of War world isn't ending. The third installment just marks the end of this specific plot.
Any fan of the series will no doubt wonder about that plot. After all, we have questions that need some answers. The Gears universe is extremely deep and intriguing for a shooter.
This third game doesn't let down. It answers the questions that lingered after the first two games and presents a satisfying finale.
Players will feel right at home with the cooperative campaign mode, and they'll love all the details that went into the production, such as Carmine's tattoos of his dead brothers and Cole Train back in his heyday in the stadium.
For fans of the multiplayer, there's plenty to keep you busy for many hours. One of the main complaints about Gears of War 2 multiplayer was the host advantage. Because there were no centralized servers, certain games felt laggy, and the host player often had the upper hand.
Epic listened, delivering Gears of War 3 with one of the most-requested things in console gaming history: dedicated servers.
That's right — no more complaining about host shotty (stronger shotguns for hosts), no more wondering whether you were going to be picked as host, and no more hoping that the guy your friend plays with who is always host but stinks isn't online.
It might sound a bit trivial, but this feature is game-changing and makes the online experience exponentially better.
As for the various multiplayer modes, your standard variants are back as usual. Horde, in which you take on never-ending waves of enemy Locusts, is back from Gears of War 2 and is better than ever. Improvements were made to the core gameplay system that make it seem almost as if a tower defense game was mingled in. There is much more strategy to be had than in Gears of War 2. There also is a new mode, Beast, that is a bit like Horde, only in reverse. You take on the role of the Locust, attacking strategic settlements made by the Cog soldiers to wear them down. This is fun, and a good addition for variety, but Horde mode wins out of all multiplayer options.
Everyone who owns an Xbox 360 should get this game. In fact, if you're reading this now and don't have a 360, you should probably go out and get one just to play this series and end it with this game.
It's probably the closest thing to a perfectly polished series finale that I can imagine, and it will be popular online for years.