Lambent polyps are Gears' version of "The Flood". And these aren't the only surprises.
Gears of War 3 will pit you against enemies new and old, and to combat them Epic has added some new weapons. First is the sawed-off shotgun, which fires both barrels with one pull of the trigger. It’s a devastating close-range weapon. Then there’s my personal favorite: the retro Lancer. Its bullet capacity is lower, but the rounds do more damage if you can control the recoil. And instead of a chainsaw bayonet the retro Lancer has an old-school fixed blade bayonet - holding “B” allows you to charge into battle with it held forward. The results are a shish-kabob of underground alien guts.
There are several other new weapons in the game, but I won’t spoil them. The sawed-off shotgun and the retro Lancer are the only new weapons available to set as default for multiplayer.
Also new for the third installment are Mutations - game modifiers that work like Halo’s skulls. There are 15 Mutations to unlock, five in each of three tiers: Hard, Easy, and Fun. From big-head mode to no ammo pickups to friendly fire activated...each one makes a significant change in gameplay that will pander to some players’ strengths and detract from others. The Fun tier has no XP modification, but the rest do and are relative to the way they affect the game. Mutations are unlocked by performing certain tasks within the game and can be used in the campaign, Horde mode, and custom versus games.
Gears of War 3 is not without its grounds for some complaints, but these are mostly unrelated to gameplay. At least half of the gun skins that you can apply to your weapons are only available via MS Points expenditures. Certain character skins are only available to players who have participated in the limited multiplayer beta test or have accomplished certain Gears 2 tasks, which to me is tantamount to pre-order ridiculousness. The ability (from Gears 2) to take in-game screenshots is gone without explanation. And, of course, there’s the aforementioned lack of guest player support for splitscreen online play.
Nonetheless, I feel like I got the long end of the stick with this game. A campaign that’s twice as long as most shooters and can be played with three friends. A beefed-up Horde mode and the spin-off Beast mode, both with five-player co-op. And finally: the award-winning versus multiplayer package. What few faults I can find with Gears of War 3 are quickly swept under the run by the sheer amount of irresistible and player-friendly content. If you enjoyed the previous Gears titles in any capacity, don’t miss out on this one.
The Co-Op Experience: Two players can play split screen campaign or horde mode.Four players can play the online campaign in co-op.Five players can play Horde or Beast mode in online co-op.
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