If this was a list of the most influential games of this generation, the original Gears of War could very well take the #1 spot. It’s take on the third person shooter and cover mechanics became the blueprint for third person action games. However, despite enjoying it enough to beat the campaign 3 separate times (including on insane difficulty), I felt like that game was rough around the edges. Some of the action outside of its core mechanics felt sloppy, the last boss encounter wasn’t fun or satisfying and its dumb story felt tacked solely as a means of justifying the gameplay scenarios rather than being integrated at a root level.
Gears of War 3 cleans up all of the mistakes of its predecessors to finally reach the franchise’s full potential.
The act of shooting things has never been a problem with the franchise, though 3‘s action sequences are among the best in the series. Thankfully, they have tightened up or trimmed out a lot of the non-core gameplay sections, such as driving or turret sequences, which I always felt were inferior to the shooting.
In particular, I was most impressed with the way in which Gears of War 3 told its story. While this will not put The Walking Dead to shame, it did a great job of always providing context for the on-screen actions and making you care about the characters.
Gears of War 3 proves that there’s more to the franchise than being the archetypical dudebro shooter. By telling a great story in tandem with great action, it reaches a plateau that most games should aspire to reach. Of the titles in the series, this one is easily my favourite.