Last weekend during the Extra Life charity gaming marathon one of the events we did was to play Gears of War 3 co-op campaign on hard-core setting straight through all in one sitting. That took three of us 12 hours and also gave me a very good look at the new Gears.
My initial reaction was “have I somehow accidentally put Gears of War 2 in the xbox by mistake?” but then realised that the multiplayer was working quite well so I soon shunned that idea. Gears 3 doesn’t really break any new ground for me but if you’re a fan of the series then you’ll know what to expect – blokes (or sheilas) with guns shooting stuff while going from point A to point B, reloading while the whole time ducking and covering. Interspersed with in-game cut scenes that frankly don’t try very hard to engage you to the point where you end up yelling at the screen. “Come on who gives a toss Dom she’s dead mate get on with it!”
I have to admit that I am quite a fan of the series (ask my wife about her most hated object of clothing I own – my Gears t-shirt) but I was seriously underwhelmed with the campaign play through. Yes it was fun, but I found some of the “co-op” elements sadly lacking and am disappointed Epic didn’t make more of that side of the gameplay.
I would have loved to have seen something along the lines of a Splinter Cell type of co-op mode gameplay instead of the lame “come here and help me open this door” ( even though I’m a 300 pound brute of a fighting machine and have previously opened doors in the levels before with my lancer chainsaw or just by kicking them ) or “Come here and hold this barbed wire apart so we can get through” – which then goes to a cut scene where the player is forced to do nothing but sit there and watch the on screen protagonists go through the barbed wire.
That’s a cumulative 5 minutes of my life I’ll never get back Epic Games! I could have been spending that time solving level puzzles in that actually needed 2 or maybe 3 people to do. Levers. Geographically dispersed levers are always good co-op fair. Or what about ground plates, disarming traps, maybe having one member of your team who is a medic who can patch you up? Here is a novel concept: one of your team could be an engineer that could build and repair guns? Or detect and disarm traps set by those nasty locust or lamberts? Just saying, you know. “Help me open this door because I’ve somehow turned into a girly armed pansy”, or “Oh this Barbed wire is pointy!” when I’m wearing masses of body armour and have a wicked chainsaw on my gun is truly unimaginative.
Graphically it’s a gears game and to me was no different from Gears 2. (which in my humble opinion was not as good as Gears 1) and things seemed to work well although we did come across one bug where we triggered an event not in the intended order which left us trapped in the level and we had to restart at a previous checkpoint. The big boss fights were verging on the side of long and tedious due to the fact that once you worked out the pattern you just had to sit and grind it out until it fell over – circa 1990’s platform gaming. Maybe not to be played in one 12 hour stint (but it WAS for charity) as it really seemed to grind towards the end and I think if it wasn’t for the company of my other two players then I may have had to save and revisit at a later stage.
Now then onto the multiplayer: the only mode I’ve tried so far is Horde. This time around they have introduce a slightly different mechanic with this by adding in Tower Defence elements where you fight and kill to earn “money” that then buys and placing certain useful objects in the level. Caltrops and mounted guns for example. That made it interesting and it was a mode I really enjoyed.
I think that GoW3 will now be a multiplayer game for me and I will jump into it when I want to wreak some bloody violence and I think in that frame of mind it will be an enjoyable game. I intend to do an update when I’ve had more
experience of the multiplayer modes over the next couple of weeks.