The Good: Epic new weapons, excellent story with a satisfying conclusion, great new multiplayer modes, lots of great unlocks, new environments add color, new enemies are varied and awesome
The Bad: The campaign ends, the new revive ability in the campaign may turn fans off, the engine shows its age a little
The Locusts have finally come above ground. Every last effort made by the COG and Delta Squad has failed, and now this is their last stand. The Lambent have mutated into vicious alien type creatures. Marcus Fenix must find his dad, and two female COGs join the fight. What has all happened since our last visit 3 years ago? A lot and more than just the story has evolved.
Like I explained above the Lambent is a major threat, but it's not them or the Locust, not even the queen Myrrah is the main threat. I can't say what, but it will totally shock you about half way through the game when you find out. The story is just really solid and has a strong conclusion, but overall the story makes you know and feel that the Gears are really desperate now. Their numbers are paper-thin and they are doing everything they can to stay alive. You also feel the desperation of the Locust this time around, so it's a huge tug-of-war between the two for the battle of Sera.
Overall the game play is the same, but a lot of tweaks have been made to finally perfect and fine tune the entire series. For example the roadie run that everyone loves has now been changed to allow you to run forever, plus the camera shakes a lot more adding some cinematic quality. A lot of past weapons have been balanced and tweaked such as the Lancer now has more ammunition, less recoil, and takes a bit longer to rev up. Another example is that the active reload sweet spots have been moved around on some weapons like the Hammerburst, and the Gorgon pistol now longer has three round busts, but continuous fire. Little changes like these really make the game feel fresh and new, but there are a lot of new stuff as well.
First and foremost the new Lambent enemies have evolved and new stalks are your enemies as well. They will spawn Lambent until you destroy the spawn sacs, but the Lambent also vary in size, and some now don't just die they evolve into more hideous creatures. You fight them through about 1/4 of the game then you finally get to fight regular Locusts and Theron Guards. The environment has also changed because it adds some colors and new locales. Instead of just abandoned towns, buildings, and battlefields you get to fight in lush jungles, beaches, and a huge ship at the beginning. This adds some color to the greatly bashed color scheme of the series. There are also new multiplayer features, but more on that later.
Some new weapons that you will run into are the OneShot, Incendiary Grenade, Digger, Retro Lancer, Sawed-Off Shotgun, and Cleaver. That may not sound like a huge number, but these weapons are great. The OneShot is a huge version of the Longshot and is a one hit kill for every enemy. The Incendiary Grenade sets enemies on fire, the Digger acts like a Boomshot+Grenade in which is burrows underground and pops up near an enemy. The Retro Lancer doesn't have a chainsaw, but instead has a bayonet that you can charge into grubs, but the gun is highly inaccurate and has really bad recoil. The Sawed-Off is exactly what it is: A one shot shotgun that can do one shot kills at super close range. The gun has a long reload time, so use it very wisely. Lastly the Cleaver is a giant blade that you can use to swing around and chop off heads.
While the new weapons sound impressive each one has an awesome new execution kill so there are 24 in total. There are also some new campaign exclusive weapons you can use like the new Beast Sieges, but your favorite Troikas are still here. Epic packed a lot of new content into Gears 3 so it makes it feel really fresh. Even the new character Sam is a great addition, but Anya Stroud is now a main Gears character and fights a long side you. I do have to mention one major change to the campaign: Revive. Yes when you die you don't die you can be revived like in multiplayer now, so this also makes the campaign a little easier and doesn't require such tactical and careful planning like past games. Some may love some may hate it.
When it comes to multiplayer we finally get Team Deathmatch! All your other favorite modes are here, but we get a new onslaught of maps that are well designed, but you can now rank up and earn unlocks such as weapons skins, characters and even crazier achievements. The new Beast mode is like a reversed Horde mode and is a huge blast, but Gears heroes like Dom and Marcus must be executed to die. One of my favorite things in Gears 3 is that it reads your achievements for every Gears game (even Gears 1 on PC!) and gives you special unlocks. The Epic team really makes you feel like this is the final Gears and awards you for being loyal and sticking around since E-Day 5 years ago.
Overall Gears of War 3 is a fine tuned, well-balanced, and epic package as well as a great finale to the long running series. When it comes to visuals Gears 3 looks like one of the best games of this generation (again) with updated lighting effects, higher resolution textures, and further draw distance. However, it does show its age a little in spots, but it does look draw dropping still. While this may be the last in the series Delta Squad and the Gears series will sit in our hearts as one of the best series of the generation and will never be forgotten.
Epic Edition: If you are a huge fan and really want to spend the extra whopping $90 you can buy the gigantic Epic Edition which includes a massive statue of Marcus Fenix, replica documents from Adam Fenix, a huge award box replica with a cog that is Adam Fenix's science award and has the Adam Fenix character unlock code on it, a COG flag, and a weapons skin pack, and an art book that is the entire making of the whole series. The book is very well put together and gives you insight on the series that you will never see anywhere else. This is a beautiful package and probably one of the best collector's edition ever made. Everything is super high quality and just amazing to look at.