OK so I finally got round to reviewing last months blockbuster!! Way to be on the cutting edge Mr Creepy…
Before we begin, some background on the Gears series for you newcomers. In November 2006 we sat in our cells awaiting (albeit unbeknown to us) the arrival of Dom, our veteran war buddy. The walls of every city on Sera were shaken to the ground during the fighting that followed Emergence Day and Sergeant Marcus Fenix had been a hero until he broke ranks to (fail to) save his father Adam (hence the prison cell).
What emerged was a species called Locust, who were thought to have been dealt with with a light mass bomb in the first episode.
In Gears 2 The Lambent complicate the situation, adding a third contender for the resources of this crumbling planet. As always though, Marcus shrugs them off his broad shoulders with lots of flanking and a chainsaw bayonet…
So when you pick up the box of the third game you are loaded with anticipation: What did happen to Marcus’ father? Why did some Locust start turning into Lambent? What particular brand of steroids make you think that Bandanna are cool? In number 3, almost all of those questions are answered…
The game begins onboard ship Sovereign with Marcus and, of course, Dom. As I moped around the initial sequence (post prologue) I felt there was something missing. Almost immediately, it felt wrong. I held my controller to my chest and held back a cold tear thinking (in true Han Solo style); “I’ve got a bad feeling about this!”
As the Lambent inevitably complicate things on-board the sovereign, the feeling did not abate. I still couldn’t quite put my finger on it! I know this was early days but I literally felt sick.
Fighting my way out to the deck it suddenly hit me. The equation didn’t add up:
Gears + Hardest Setting = Pedestrian?
It was Mr Creepy 5 kabillion million – Lambent/Bitchtits (my cutesy nickname for Queen Myrrah) a big fat 0!??!? I persevered but it just felt odd. I played through the other two in a state of constant fight or flight. Say what you want for the genre of 3rd person shooters (At TbW I’m somewhat surrounded by FPS Nazis ) but Gears should do nothing less than wake you in the night in cold sweats.
Gears 3 wasn’t so much as giving me the willies…
Then it happened. The Silverback. As Marcus climbed into the back of the power suit/exo-skeleton I actually became a little damp in the trousers. The thing hits like Heihachi and has a gun bigger than your mum. It felt good to move around. It was satisfyingly cumbersome and when you spin up the mini gun you literally cannot control the urge to shout “Say hello to my little friend!” in your very best Cuban drug smuggler accent. Finally, after about 30 minutes of worrying playtime, I was having fun!
The plot development was reasonably enthralling. But as I hadn’t earned it in my heart of hearts, I found it hard to care. By the time I had finished the killing of the first Lambent leviathan for the second time I really was starting to lose interest. But after a couple of hours, as you leave with the reunited team to deliver your message to Anvil Base, the game starts to gain momentum. It’s armoured heals gain purchase on the slippery slopes down to trilogy hell and slowly but surely clamber back to the even plains of excitement and adrenalin.
It is at this point that the game builds to its highest moment for me. Anvil base in general is some of the games finest ‘Gears’ game-play. Add to that the pinnacle moment, the Lambent Berserker, and you have yourself a pants wettingly joyful evening. I never enjoyed buying the farm so much in any game ever. In spite of the constant stream of (in common use, and made up) expletives I finally felt home. I literally had to make up new swearwords for this god damn whore of a boss. Amazing!
From this point on it failed me no more. I don’t know if the designers were trying to ease in new guys, or just missed a trick. But here on in, through Azure and beyond was classic and finally up to scratch.
I’m not into spoilers which is why I’m not detailing the plot extensively. But the last sections of the game were true to form. They did not disappoint and, unlike many games I have played through recently, this one was actually satisfyingly long (sniggers at that expression a little bit).
Gears of War 3 is a girlfriend that cheated on you but you forgave. You can’t forget the pain and the lies all that time ago. But you can live with it because in the end… You’ll still love her.Have a game you want to review and fancy yourself as a bit of a writer? Find out how to become a guest blogger. Or you could make a suggestion by following us on those new-fangled social media-thingers Facebook and Twitter.