Gears of War 3 review

  • Campaign’s intense action and ferocious enemies
  • Brutal yin and yang of Horde and Beast modes
  • Quality and diversity evident in every multiplayer map
  • Occasionally too predictable and too familiar story
  • Your kill-stealing, glory-hogging AI partners
  • Hanging out with Ice-T instead of Cole, Dom or Baird

The best Gears multiplayer yet

Despite our slight disappointment with the campaign, Gears of War 3’s multiplayer has never been better. We’ve already raved about the cooperative aspects, but the competitive maps and modes are equally fantastic. Some improvements are immediately obvious, like the new XP leveling system which unlocks prizes or the medal menu that tracks achievements such as how many times you’ve killed with a grenade tag, or a mortar, or in a spree. Others are less so, like the fan service Easter egg in which an instrumental version of “Mad World” occasionally plays on the classic map Gridlock, or the ‘80s laugh track you can add to any match.

What’s most impressive about the multiplayer, however, are the ten maps – each memorable for totally unique reasons, and each worthy of a different style of strategy. Sandbar is a sprawling tropical paradise with countless beautiful spots to snipe from, while Checkout is a tiny cluttered supermarket where only shotguns and short-range rifles make sense. Overpass features a single turret that everyone will struggle for as the broken concrete ground shifts suddenly beneath their feet, while Trenches features a blinding sandstorm that drives everyone underground for cover at least once a match. The list goes on, but you’ll want to discover some of the maps’ secrets and surprises for yourself. Suffice to say, Gears of War 3’s multiplayer and co-op more than make up for whatever’s lacking in the campaign.

Is it better than...?

Gears of War / Gears of War 2? Yes and no. While the multiplayer and four-player co-op in Gears of War 3 are the best the series has produced, the campaign will probably leave you a little disappointed. Its action is bigger and brawnier than what’s come before, but the story and pacing (as well as some of the new characters and environments) aren’t everything you’d hope for in a trilogy conclusion. Think of it as Return of the Jedi syndrome.

Halo: Reach? Yes. Both Xbox shooters feature some of the best multiplayer available on consoles, but Gears of War 3’s co-op is more fun and more diverse. And even though the campaign falls a little flat at times, its story is still incredibly important to the canon and its heroes are still the icons we want to play as – the same can’t be said for Halo: Reach.

Resistance 3? Sorry, but even though the comparison is understandable – an exclusive PS3 trilogy and an exclusive 360 trilogy happen to reach their third entries during the same month – we’re not walking into that fanboy crossfire here. Chances are you’ve only invested in one of these franchises by playing the previous two games, so pick that. Otherwise, you’re lucky enough to own multiple consoles and shouldn’t be bothered with such silly rivalries.

Just for you, Metacritic!

Gears of War 3 boasts the best co-op and multiplayer of the series, by far, easily making up for the less-than-satisfying campaign. The end of the trilogy may not live up to your epic expectations, but somewhere in the tenth – or hundredth – hour of Beast and Horde 2.0 modes, you’ll forgive it.

Sep 15, 2011

More Info

Release date: Sep 20 2011 - Xbox 360 (US)
Sep 20 2011 - Xbox 360 (UK)
Available Platforms: Xbox 360
Genre: Action
Published by: Microsoft
Developed by: Epic Games
Franchise: Gears of War
ESRB Rating:
Mature: Blood and Gore, Intense Violence, Strong Language


  • onyx precursers - March 26, 2012 12:19 a.m.

    this game is freak-in awesome the beta rocked the only thing is my profile data recently reset me back to level one for no reason it has taken me 4 months to get back up to my rank with a least 10 of my 15 onyx medals i would love to know how to fix this
  • dell215 - October 2, 2011 5:09 a.m.

    Well idk about everyone on here but,as far as the story goes,its a good one but not great,but the multiplayer features alone make this the best 3rd person shooter ever,now as far as comparing gears 3 and resistance 3,ima leave that subject alone cause I'm not a fanboy,I played both games,and they both offer something some what different,besides this gears is 3rd person shooter and should not be compared to resistance 3 at all,its stupid to compare them,what you fanboys should all do is rejoice in the fact that your living in this time and playing great games and please stop all the stupid and useless comments,and just play your games and have fun,I could tell you which game I liked more,but will you listen?,hell no you won't,cause mostlikely your a fanboy and you only want to hear or read what you want so what's the point,just have fun playing your games and stop all this hate towards games especially if you haven't even gave the game a chance and played it for yourself,play it first before you judge it,trust me you will enjoy it,you probably won't admit it,but YOU WILL ENJOY IT!
  • gilgamesh310 - September 29, 2011 1:12 p.m.

    Darkwun, they are design choices but they are design choices that sap a lot of fun out of games. The regenerating heal, cover shooting mechanic and weapon limits are mainstream stallwarts of this generation and any game that doesn't have them is better off.
  • eric-tha-don - September 27, 2011 2:28 a.m.

    gears of war sucks. and with that conclusion..i dont deserve to live.
  • Darkwun - September 24, 2011 6:07 a.m.

    Those are design choices, they hardly make it an inferiorgame. They're both great games that cater to a different audience but that can be enjoyed by many who are open to both concepts. GR did well to avoid a fanboy war, people like F*CK just cater to the bull that one game HAS to better than the other. Reviews exist to give an informed opinion of a game of which to base your purchases on. Not to give fanboys ammunition
  • Darkwun - September 23, 2011 4:10 a.m.

    Great review but I wish I never read it! strayed too close to spoiler territory, and though the twists were obvious, it's a little different to have suspicions yourself about certain plot occurences, than have them pretty much confirmed in the review so your damn well EXPECTING them to happen rather than just thinking "I bet it will." kinda ruined the immersion of the moment! Lets face it, anyone in their right mind is going to know who you're talking about rom the review so it's pretty much a downright confirmation! It was further marred by my new housemate talking over the scene... EFF OFF MAN! Gears doesn't have many deep scenes, stop pulling me out of the game! he then decided to do it AGAIN at the unexpected death... a hole. On the whole I preferred the campaign over Gears 1 & 2. Marcus' character was more 3D, the story had more depth and they even managed to squeeze a Koehler's gun moment in there. Actual plot techniques in a Gears game? I'll take that! Though Griffin... what a useless pile of turd... seriously... what was the point!
  • Zepaw - September 18, 2011 5:11 p.m.

    Nice landmine avoidance with Resistance 3.
  • forestfire55 - September 17, 2011 11:16 a.m.

    Sorry i poasted the same thing like 8 times by accident
  • forestfire55 - September 17, 2011 11:01 a.m.

    Hey Charlie, I know you may never read this but i have read alot of your posts and i have to say i am sorry. Alot of us (gamers) tend to think its our way or no way. I have been a fan for years and i have seen people mad over the years over nothing. No man should ever need to argue an 8, let alone a 9.
  • ProfessorChief - September 17, 2011 1:31 a.m.

    Great review Charlie! Never liked the multiplayer in Gears much, but I had fun playing the beta. Think I'll dive further into it with this one. You've sold me on it for sure!
  • JayQ - September 16, 2011 12:29 p.m.

    I just checked and yea, Drake got replaced by Michael B. Jordan thank god. Just thought I'd throw that in there since you specifically mentioned Drake in your "things you'll hate" section.
  • GamesRadarCharlieBarratt - September 16, 2011 1:13 p.m.

    My God, you're right. Thank you for pointing out the error - it shall be corrected in the review post haste! The criticism still stands, as that character steals too much time from the characters we want to see, but at least now I know it's not to accommodate another celebrity voiceover (ahem, Ice-T).
  • Fox_Mulder - September 17, 2011 3:28 p.m.

    Oh good. I thought Jace was being voiced by Drake, thank the G that didn't pan out. I think Nolan North voiced Jace for the two lines he had in GOW2, so hopefully he will sound more like he did in the second game.
  • JayQ - September 16, 2011 12:23 p.m.

    wait, last i herd Drake got replaced due to schedule conflicts.
  • manateesta - September 16, 2011 12:20 p.m.

    Awesome review Charlie, I am glad to hear there have been improvements on multiplayer. I have always been a fan of the GOW multiplayer, but GOW 2 turned me off because I wasn't willing to put up with host BS and glitches when there were other games to play. At the time of GOW 1's release there wasn't much else, so I just stuck with it. I feel GOW's multiplayer has a much different feel then most FPS's and I would love to give it another go.
  • AuthorityFigure - September 16, 2011 2:03 a.m.

    Those asking for a particular score make the game seem so needy and unworthy.
  • Grif - September 15, 2011 9:56 p.m.

    Nice review Charlie, it was a very good read. And as good as you say it is, I'll probably let it pass. It's just not my kind of game. (The Halo fanboy in me will not let me buy it LOL or maybe it's the lack of money and Xbox).

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