Gears of War 3 – What Needs To Be DoneApril 18, 2010
2006 saw the launch of one of the finest third person shooters I have ever had the good fortune to play: Gears of War. It has led the way for practically all third person shooters of this generation with its extremely refined cover system and really weighty mechanics. It all seemed to come together brilliantly. There was pretty much no story but it had atmosphere and is quite possibly the best excuse to run around shooting the shit out of everything I’ve ever played.
Then, in 2008, Gears of War 2 was released, claiming to be “bigger, better and more badass”. Honestly though, the sequel was a little underwhelming. I’m not saying it was bad because it wasn’t, it was good, it just lacked any substantial differences from the original game. Gameplay was tweaked and polished to make it feel even better, and the new features like Horde were a welcome addition. There just seemed to be something missing from it, it felt too similar. I didn’t want an overhaul of the game because it was great already but they needed to expand it in some way.
This now leaves us with the recently announced Gears of War 3. Will it go the way of the second game and be good but not as good as it should have been? Hopefully not but we’ll just have to wait and see. If it truly wants to be “bigger, better and more badass” this time, despite Cliff Bleszinski not going for that approach, it needs to make sure certain things happen.
Both of the Gears of War games had a good single player filled with set pieces and shoot outs. The original was more atmospheric which made the shootouts tense while remaining exciting compared to the sequel which was more about the epic fights and the huge set pieces; it was all out war. To have the best approach possible the third game should try and balance these two as they both had their advantages.
Judging from the announcement teaser this could be the case. It shows a dark, dull area, covered in ash which definitely could make for a tense, creepy atmosphere but then the shit hits the fan and the COGs end up in a huge fire fight with the locust. Then, the Lambent appears and unleashes more destruction. From the little information that we have, it’s definitely capable of creating a good balance between the two.
Unlike most games, Gears of War never tried to fit as many players as it possibly could into one match. Rather than go for something like 16 players, Gears opted for half of that. Why? To offer a more tactical experience that was much more suited to the game. I loved it; it was so satisfying chainsawing (This is a word!) other players and it never felt overly hectic. To top it off, one guest could join in the fun and I could play as Cole. Epic did a really good job.
Then Gears of War 2 was released. Somewhere amidst the chaos was the great groundwork of the original but it was near impossible to find. It started off very badly with more than a handful of bugs and a matchmaking system that didn’t really work too well. Over time it got better but it never got as good as it should have been which is a shame because now 10 people could play together! The third game just needs to fix the problems; spruce it up with a few more modes and new maps and it’ll be fine.
Both games also had a fantastic co-op mode too. This is something that has definitely been taken up a notch in Gears of War 3. Previously the co-op was limited to two players but now four players will be able to team up and take on the campaign together which should prove to be very fun. Horde needs to make a return too; slaughtering near endless waves of enemies with buddies never gets boring.
Remember the story of the first game? Oh wait, there was none! Marcus and Co. Decided they wanted to blow up a bunch of Locust with a big bomb because they were in a war. That was about it, to be honest. It was simple and it kept the game fun so I’m not really complaining. However, the sequel decided to implement a more fleshed out story. Gears of War 2 had multiple sub-plots including Dom’s wife which was an improvement but it didn’t fit in as well as it could. This time, they’ll hopefully handle the story better.
Despite the games never fully exploring it, Gears of War does have a relatively interesting universe which has been detailed in the novels. Now I don’t need an excessively deep story in Gears of War 3 but something that works well and fits in with the games would be nice. Karen Traviss, who has worked on the Gears of War novels, will be the lead writer for the game which should hopefully allow for such things to happen.
One thing I’ve always loved about Gears of War is the wide range of characters that seem to pop up. Marcus, the battle scarred veteran; Dom, the trusty sidekick; Baird, the annoyed, angry white guy; Cole, the fun and crazy, beefed up, just-generally-awesome guy. Then you can throw hillbillies, spiritual soldiers, army generals and more into the mix.
Already we know that Marcus, Dom, Baird and Cole will be re-appearing as they showed up in the teaser. Also, to be included is Anya. She was in the previous games but now she’s wielding a Lancer and more than willing to kill. Alongside a female soldier I’m hoping to see even more diverse characters show up; I want a COG cowboy! Hopefully another Carmine will show up too; it would be great if he was a total badass this time. Oh, and Dizzy better return because he was awesome!
Bigger, Better and More Badass Set Pieces
In the words of Cliffy B, the whole game should be “bigger, better and more badass” but to be honest this will mainly apply to the set pieces. Hopefully, we’ll see some huge set pieces with massive explosions and lots of killing as that’s what Gears is about. With the introduction of the Lambent, that does open up plenty of possibilities for some really big fights. Can you imagine fighting ten of those at a time!
It’s already been rumoured that mechs and underwater battles will make an appearance in the game so Epic seem to be on the right lines if this is true. Seeing the COG soldiers swimming would be a little bit weird as they’re awfully big but if handled correctly it could go down well. Mechs should allow for some even bigger battles on a new scale too.
Even More Weapons
Gears of War offers a fair selection of weapons ranging from a bow that shoots explosives to an assault rifle with a chainsaw on it. One of the things I’ve always praised about the series is that it it’s filled with big, manly, beefy guns that make you feel indestructible and the third game should continue with this. If mechs are introduced that should give us some exciting new toys to play with.
I’ll trust Epic to come up with new weapons though. They’ve done a good job in the past (Gears and Unreal) so I trust they come up with some more impressive weaponry. We do know that a double barrel shotgun will make an appearance as Marcus puts it to good use in the trailer. I still don’t know how it took this long to stick a chainsaw on the end of a gun though; it’s just one of life’s great mysteries.
Gears of War 3
Gears of War 3 is going to be a big hit no matter what. With a year to create hype for it, I imagine that we’ll be seeing many excited gamers come release. I’m almost 99 percent positive that it will be a good game but be a truly good sequel this time, it needs to constantly improve in every possible way.