‘Gears of War’ series saves the best for last

Marcus Fenix approaches the glowing Lambent apprehensively, revving his chainsaw. Right as he goes for the kill, a bigger enemy crushes the Lambent. It’s this explosive action and constant threat of the world ending that makes “Gears of War 3” a satisfying conclusion to the series.

Most people need no introduction to “Gears of War.” As a franchise, it is one of the most critically acclaimed and commercially viable games of this generation. As a story, it is the most intriguing and cinematic experience on Xbox 360.

The campaign mode can be played with one to two players locally or with four players online. Either way, the narrative is superb. There are several moments that have such an emotional impact that it rivals some movies. The “Gears” story focuses on Fenix and his fellow soldiers of the Coalition of Ordered Governments as they attempt to rid their Earth-like home Sera of an alien invader known as the Locust. However, in “Gears 3,” there is a more-evolved form of the Locust called the Lambent to destroy. Without spoiling any details, let this reviewer say that this is a deeply fulfilling ending for all “Gears” fans.

The gameplay is addictive and diverse. Aside from the campaign and main storyline, the multiplayer portions are insanely entertaining. Returning is a beefed-up Horde mode, which still has players facing waves of Locust at a time, but this time there is a base to build up depending on how many kills the player gets. The new Beast mode is essentially the same idea as the Horde mode, except the player is the Locust going against the COG soldiers. All of the previous multiplayer modes are also returning, but the big difference in the multiplayer is the dedicated servers. The gripe with “Gears 2” was the lag in online gameplay. There were zero lag issues this time around.

The game’s developer, Epic Games, really took their time to perfect the graphics in this game. Stunning environments really give “Gears 3” an incredible atmosphere. The character models are the cleanest they have ever looked, and the weather effects are some of the best seen on Xbox 360. The graphics add to the story’s emotion, and there are not too many games that can claim that.

Addictive game-play, breathtaking visuals, and an epic story encapsulate the experience that is “Gears of War 3.” Where many story conclusions come off as disappointing, “Gears 3” quenches fans’ thirst for a fitting end to an exciting series.

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