Gears of War 3: under the killing moon

, | Game diaries

The time is finally at hand. I have my copy of Gears of War 3 installed on my shiny, new Gears themed console. My wife Sarah has been wanting her own 360 so she can wreak havoc on Pinball FX2, so it’s the perfect time to replace my current system and get a new 360 slim. I spend the first hour or so transferring my profile and content to my new 360, so I’m pretty ready to kill some Locust scum by the time all is said and done. I fire up the game and hear that familiar sound as the Epic Games logo page appears on the screen. It’s on! Wait, a patch notice. Gah! At least this is the 360 and the patches take about 15 seconds. OK, there we go. It’s on.

After the jump, Donkey Kong… that’s how much it’s on.

After a second, my unlocks load up and… wait, where’s my gold retro lancer skin? I know I didn’t play the beta for as long as I did to not get that skin. A quick restart of the game adds all my missed items, so I once again back down from the ledge. Three of my friends have also purchased the game in anticipation of slapping some Locust ding-ding, so I start up a multiplayer game of… why is my NAT type set to strict? I’ve spent a lot of time working on my router to allow for multiple XBox Live accounts and all was working fine. I break out my laptop and throw my 360 into the DMZ. Another restart puts me into open NAT and we can finally begin our rampage. Once again, it’s on!

Four player campaign, here we come. I click on the Campaign heading and I have the choice of Standard and Arcade. I opt for Standard, being a purist, and find that I can only host a Public game. That’s weird. I’m not sure if I can handle random people in my maiden voyage. A quick check of Arcade mode shows that I can host private games and the only difference is that we’re all on a scoring system? Hell yes! Arcade it is!

We played through the first Act with four players and it’s a blast. The only issues I have with the campaign is a few interesting story choices and a bit of the dialog. Most of it is the standard quips being volleyed back and forth, which I can ignore, but some of the dialog is so pointless. Ever been embarrassed for someone else? That’s how I feel during certain parts of the campaign, and for some reason, this is bothering me more in this game than in the earlier releases. It feels like the writing is sloppier and trying a bit too hard.

When I start to analyze the…wait, what am I doing? I’m not playing Gears for the emotional elements! I’m playing Gears to shoot a lot of baddies, ride awesome vehicles and travel through cool set pieces. Every time I flip my Lancer around and saw a Locust into pieces, I get a warm feeling in my heart, and that’s enough for me.

The campaign is what it is: a guided tour that should be entitled “How to Murder Dudes”. You do the boring intro parts. You listen to the dialog. You look around for hidden stuff. These are all givens; all part of the contract with Epic that says “we’ll play along, but when it comes time to dance, you better play a catchy tune”. They do. Somehow, they always do.And now I have three other dancing partners.

Though some coherent heroes would be nice, all I really need is murder. Murder and a few friends to commit it with.

Click here for the previous Gears of War 3 entry.
Tomorrow: The Beast Times