Many gamers remained skeptical about the hype that was surrounding Gears of War 3 prior to its release. Now that the game is out, it would seem that all skepticism has been rendered unnecessary.
Gears of War has always been a solid series; the graphics were top tier, the gameplay mechanics were tight and the story was engrossing and believable (as believable as a hidden race of creatures taking over the planet can be). But, as usual with all things successful, there will be people that will hope for failure.
The majority of people’s skepticism for the game stemmed from Gears of Wars multiplayer mode. Many gamers whined about second iterations multiplayer modes being disappointing; horde mode felt like a chore that was just an increasingly more difficult next generation form of “wack a mole” and versus mode games were repetitive and the maps were persistently monochromatic. Unfortunately for them, the third title in the series has put the kibosh on that seemingly unending source of angst for those few gamers and/or critics that complained about it.
Horde mode is arguably the most enjoyable portion of the whole Gears of War 3 experience. Just like in the second title, the objective is to eradicate the enemy “Locust” as they appear on the map, with their numbers and combat prowess increasing as the player(s) proceed through the levels or “waves”. This time, however, there is a twist. Players now have the ability to build fortifications, turrets and other things that will aid in their survival of the waves. These things range from a strip of spikes that go along the floor to a stand-in mechanized exoskeleton that shreds enemies to bit with only a few bullets.
The fun part is that each player’s access to these things is based upon their own personal experience of interacting with that thing. So, for example, if you enjoy planting and repairing decoys, your player’s experience level with decoys will be high and you will be able to plant them for a cheaper price, but if you have little or no experience planting spike traps, not only will your traps be very weak, but they will be expensive to make as well.
Yet, as one gets more and more experience building certain fortifications, your proficiency in building that thing is increased. This evolution is present in all five categories of base fortifications so it keeps things fresh as well as giving players something to aim for as they play the mode repeatedly. This also increases the sense of teamwork that players will experience as they play amongst their friends. If you are proficient at building turrets and your two other friends’ proficiencies lay in decoys and unmanned sentries, then you each have an unwritten responsibility and job to perform within your team.
There are several game types categorized within Versus mode. The first mode is Team Deathmatch (TDM), and the point of this mode should be known by anyone who calls themselves a gamer. Players are put on teams, and the objective of the game is to kill the players on the opposing team as many times as possible. The goal is measured by the amount of respawns that are left available to the team. Respawn is the terminology used to refer to one coming back from the dead after being killed by an enemy combatant, once the team’s respawns are exhausted, you lose.
Another mode, Warzone, is just like TDM except there are no respawns, so once you die you become a mere observer left to think about what could have been because you will not be playing until a new match starts up. The Execution game type is similar to TDM as well, only one must perform a brutal execution for the enemy’s death to be counted. Shooting them full of lead will only bring the enemy to their knees and they will eventually either stand back up after a certain amount of time elapses or they will be rescued by a heroic teammate. Needless to say, long range snipers will be proven to be utterly useless in this mode.
A more tactical mode is Capture the Leader, in which a random player on both teams is designated as the Leader and the enemy team members must aim at capturing that player by riddling him or her with bullets and then holding them hostage until their countdown reaches zero. It is a frantic, control-shattering experience since players must divide their play styles between assaulting the enemy and protecting their Leader. The final game mode is King of the Hill, which should also be familiar to gamers. Somewhere on the map a ring will be formed and teams must fight to occupy that ring for the longest time since enemy combat will be flinging grenades in order to clear them out of that area in an attempt to occupy it themselves. This is perhaps the most aggravating game mode since, while occupying the ring, you are essentially a sitting duck, and thus all the enemy players will have their cross hairs affixed to your skull in a matter of seconds.
One gripe many people will have with the game’s multiplayer mode is that the weapons players have the options of starting out with are most certainly tiered, meaning that one is clearly superior than the other making the inferior one effectively useless. There are three weapons in the assault class: the hammerburst, the retro lancer and the lancer. There are two in the close quarters class: the gnasher shotgun and the sawed off shotgun. The player is able to choose one weapon from each class at the start of a match and the problem lies within mechanics in each weapon. Still, these issues don’t exactly take away from the whole experience of the game.
Along with all these game modes, there are a plethora of awards and goodies that are available for the player to unlock. Most of these things become available as the player progresses through their experience levels. However, there are some things that are attached to in-game accomplishments such as total amount of headshots or total amount of teammate rescues. The amount of things available for the player to unlock is quite literally in the hundreds, and will ensure that players will keep coming back for more, focused and determined to unlock the shotgun with the flowery paint or to unlock the ability to grant all the players giant heads.
This game’s multiplayer is the stuff dreams are made of and even the most cynical, pessimistic, existence-hating recluse would be hard pressed to find a game-ending flaw within it.