Developer(s) – Epic Games
Publisher(s) – Microsoft Studios
Designer(s) – Cliff Bleszinski, Lee Perry, Dave Nash & Jim Brown
PEGI – 18
Developed as the last game in the series’ main timeline, Gears of War 3 garnished either perfect or near-perfect scores from critics, leading to the franchise to gross over $1 billion in total. In my opinion, whilst the games aren’t terrible, Gears of War is one of the most overrated series in the history of video gaming, and the third game in the series is the worst out of the original trilogy for a multitude of reasons.
Graphics – 7/10
Though the game’s visuals are very technically astute, as in lieu of the franchise’s tradition, the main reason why I think they are such a negative departure from the rest of the series is that I couldn’t take the game’s conceptual design as seriously as in the two previous installments. Everywhere in the game, there exist sunny, calm, and tranquil environments in stark contrast to the many dark and gritty environments synonymous with the series, which I infinitely prefer. For example, the end level is a luxury island built for VIPs in the event of humanity losing the war.
Gameplay – 7/10
Although the game retains the same amount of satisfaction that the first and second games presented players with, it remains largely the same as them, with no true innovation made to keep things as interesting as they possibly could have been. There was one instance towards the end of the game whereby Marcus and the party have to travel underwater in a heavily fortified submarine, which offers some first-person shooting gameplay, but beyond this, there are barely any new weapons, and as such, it acts mostly as an extension to the first two titles.
Controls – 10/10
Since the gameplay remains largely the same, the game also makes use of the same control scheme; and as such, there are no problems with it. Though nothing overly ambitious was tried during the development of Gears of War 2, and despite doing what it did right, I feel as if they could have tried something more new than what was offered with the third game, since the fundamentals at this point had been mastered, and there was definitely room for innovation.
Lifespan – 5/10
Unfortunately, the third game only lasts around the same amount of time as both the first and second games, averaging at about 5 to 6 hours. But to me, the fact that there was still no innovation after two previous games made the lifespan seem fractionally more underwhelming; like the developers had simply been resting on their laurels as opposed to trying something new.
Storyline – 6/10
Another reason why I feel that Gears of War 3 is the worst out of the original three is that, unlike the second game, there isn’t a great deal to its story, making me care even less about things such as the mythology behind the series and the development of characters. Mirroring Dom’s efforts to try and find his wife in the last game, it’s Marcus who is trying to find his father, Adam Fenix, who went missing some time prior to the start of the game. It is believed that Adam has a solution to ending the conflict with both the locusts and the lambent, and is on a mission to find him and end the war for good. Bar one particularly emotional scene in the game, the plot is almost identical to that of Gears of War 2, which felt particularly disappointing.
Originality – 2/10
The developers made little to no effort to bring anything new to the table when it came to developing the second game, and they made even less innovation in the third. In my opinion, I think they should have left the series there, and not developed Gears of War Judgement, which was even worse. There is a new game in the series planned for release on the Xbox One sometime in the near future, and it will be handled by a different developer, so there could be a glimmer of hope for the future of the franchise. But so far, I don’t believe it is a series worth even a fraction of the attention and acclaim that it has garnished.
Overall, Gears of War 3, whilst effectively following the tropes of the series as well as it could have done, is the original trilogy’s lowest point. Some video game trilogies, such as Mass Effect and God of War, have impressed me over the years, but only because the developers were not afraid to try new things. But to me, it isn’t the case with Gears of War.