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First Person Shooters (Games) XBox (Games) Games

Gears of War 3 Released 69

The third installment of Gears of War was released yesterday, ending the story arc that began almost five years ago. Early response to the game has been favorable, and most reviews agree that it's the best of the series. The Guardian's write-up says the story and the voice-acting got some needed attention this time around. Eurogamer praised the improvements to multiplayer and highlighted the intensity of the action sequences, but also mentioned the "annoyance" of being rather rigidly limited when it came to exploring and deviating from scripted events. The Digital Foundry blog examined the tech underpinning Gears of War 3, finding all the advances you'd expect out of a big-budget title, and a few spots where it bumps up against the hardware limitations of the aging Xbox 360.
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Gears of War 3 Released

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  • Comparisons (Score:5, Interesting)

    by RogueyWon ( 735973 ) * on Wednesday September 21, 2011 @06:37AM (#37465928) Journal
    I just got back from the US on Monday morning and, having the rest of the week off work, I've been catching up on the three big console shooters that were released while I was away (or immediately after my return); Gears 3, Space Marine and Resistance 3. So far, I've sunk about 3 hours into each of their campaign modes (maybe a little more into Space Marine) and it's been interesting to note some of the similarities and differences.

    What really struck me about Gears 3 so far is the insane level of polish that's been applied. This isn't a game that has given any indications (so far) that it plans to do anything that Gears 2 didn't. Weapons, situations, characters and gameplay mechanics are all changed in only the tiniest and most subtle of ways. What's happened, however, is that each of them have received a few little tweaks and minor improvements. Whereas the first Gears of War felt like a really good idea in need of polishing, the third installment is all polish and no ideas. That's not really a criticism - this is an excellent game - just an acknowledgement of the limitations inherant in what Epic decided to do.

    Space Marine, on the other hand, is trying really hard to throw some new ideas into the third person shooter space - or at least to do away with some of the recent conventions of the genre. There's no cover button - indeed the game generally seems to regard cover as for wusses. As befits the fiction it's based on, the correct playstyle seems to be based around near-rabid levels of aggression. There's some really neat stuff in there; the transitions between ranged and melee combat are flawless, the animations are excellent and it's nice to have intelligent, articulate characters in one of these games rather than the usual grunting troglodytes. That said, there are also problems; despite the aforementioned animation, the graphics are a bit basic in places. Worse, there isn't really much variety to the enemies and combat tends to feel quite samey - not helped by the generally imprecise feel of the ranged weapons.

    And Resistance 3... if Resistance 3 had mouse and keyboard controls and a quicksave button, it would be an old-school PC shooter. Seriously - its an fps where the player character has a high movement speed, can carry as many weapons as he wants, has a health bar that doesn't regenerate until he grabs a health pack and umpteen ludicrous secondary fire modes. I love it. This is Insomniac at their insane best - rather than Insomniac trying to force themselves to be sensible (which ruined Resistance 2). If the game were on PC, it would be near perfect.

    What's really amused me is the review scores controversy [] that Gears 3 has generated. I mean, you do expect fanboys to get upset over review scores for games which are strongly identified with a single platform (it's not just on the MS side - check out some of the Killzone 3 review comments). But CliffyB really does come over as a prize arsehole through those comments. Particularly since the Eurogamer review in question felt... well... perfectly fair to me.

    Obviously, I can't score the games properly myself yet, having not finished any of them. But on the basis of what I've seen so far, I think I'd say that Space Marine is a 7, Gears 3 is an 8 and Resistance 3 is a 9. What playing all three games side by side has really brought out to me is how desperately the industry needs to shed some of the cliches that have dogged shooters in recent years. Gears 3 is the absolute embodiment of those cliches - 2 weapon limit, regenerating health, cover based combat - but it feels to me like that's about as far as that particular subgenre is going to evolve. I'd love to see a Space Marine sequel that brought some more polish to the first game's new ideas. And I'd really love it if more devs could follow in Insomniac's footsteps and allow themselves to just go crazy a bit.

Karl's version of Parkinson's Law: Work expands to exceed the time alloted it.