Now I’m not quite sure what I was smoking on the second day of my Gears of War 3 diary, but it was clearly something wrong because after playing further through the game yesterday I have to say I am back on Team Gears. I still think I stand by some of what I said in the Day 2 diary entry, but a lot of it doesn’t actually bother me any more.
The things that were bothering me most about in the last entry were the characters, because their talking and acting seemed at best wooden and inhuman and at worst really fucking annoying, and the lack of flow through the combat due to each tiny sequence being broken up by an unnecessary cut-scene with a door… or maybe more annoying banter. Both of these however seemed to not bother me from when me and Ali launched Gears again. Whether I became inured to the effects of these problems or whether I was just on my period during the previous entry is uncertain but suffice to say, I think I was just wrong.
The character’s banter was actually not really annoying any more and at times was actually amusing. The characters also seemed to be interacting better and seemed to be speaking to each other rather than just spurting out random lines. I will say though, the Marcus Fenix drinking game (every time Marcus says something along the lines of “Go” or “Keep moving” or “Let’s do this” or whatever you take a shot) is still very much a valid idea and would probably have you fucked up faster than a game of “every time Ezio Auditore does something awesome take a shot”.
Like I said in the previous entry I felt the flow of the game was getting ruined a bit, but it seems likely that was simply because of the section of the campaign we were on because yesterday the breaks between fights seemed a lot fewer and so there was more actual fighting and chainsawing! The only thing I do completely stand by from my previous entry in fact was that the story is still pretty confusing. I mean we still don’t understand why we are searching for Marcus’s father at all, nor do we understand how he managed to get kidnapped from underneath a GIANT piece of rubble that fell on his HEAD! Also one of the Gears sprung it on us, just randomly in one of the missions, that it’s likely that it’s the Imulsion (a sort of glowy fuel that is used on Sera) that is killing the planet and causing the Lambent. REALLY?! YOU DON’T SAY!! Now if that wasn’t so mind blowingly obvious I would have been quite irritated because it just seems like Epic Games are not telling you the important stuff of the story, only to “go here”, “kill him”, “save him” which is irritating especially as it seemed like they were actually trying to put more effort into the story in this game. It’s also wildly predictable as it follows Murphy’s Law. As long as you assume that your indestructible base is going to get blown up, or the super-secret place no one could possibly find will get found then you know what’s going to happen at every stage of the game. I will say though, that (without ruining anything) there are actually some moments in the game that struck me as poignant and atmospheric… but this IS coming from the guy who got upset at each death of Noble team In Halo: Reach so… perhaps not the best judge…
However, moving on I will say that once again Gears is proving to be a pretty fun game. In fact one of the best missions so far was when we had to defend a fortress from invading Locust. The mission was broken up into 4 stages of defence: defend the walls, defend the outer courtyard, defend the inner courtyard and defend the Garage, killing the last of them at this stage. And it was FANTASTIC!
On the walls we were given snipers, one-shots (weapons designed to kill anything, as the name suggests, in one shot) and turrets and basically killed anything that looked at us funny. Eventually an unkillable catapult (yes… a fucking catapult… weird eh?) comes up and knocks a massive door shaped hole where your door used to be. And what’s left of the minions escape your field of fire into the outer courtyard, only to meet another field of fire. This is where it got good. Given more ammo for our lancers, snipers and one-shot (plus a healthy supply of grenades) we were told to defend the next door. This time from waves. Each wave consisted of a few smaller grubs, 2 grinders and 5 maulers. The grinders supposedly would pin you down while the maulers slowly approach the door and knock it down. Plus the waves actually don’t ever finish until the door is broken. Rather than simply let the guys get to the door and finish with the level, me and Ali decided to simply kill EVERYTHING! And we managed that pretty well! A wave of maulers only eventually made it to the door when both me and Ali had literally run out of ammo with every gun we had, by which point I was feeling kind of bad for the locust anyway… imagine having to wade through a literal sea of your comrade’s blood and pieces of face, blown off with a sniper not a moment ago. And then they came into ANOTHER courtyard! This time, as well as being given ammo we were also given a turret each and told to hold off waves of boomers from destroying the last door. And hold them off we did… indefinitely… In fact the boomers only destroyed the door after I felt a bit sorry for them and decided to actually let them break the door. And then I mulched their faces anyway.
Basically the whole mission was how Gears should be: killing, gore, killing, blood, killing, and… well… that’s about it!
The game is also broken up rather well now, with the usual Gears missions of running through a linear area killing everything broken up by a base defence, a vehicle section and boss fights. Ali is still complaining about the boss fights, but I actually am still indifferent about them. I enjoy doing them them but I do feel that Corpsers and Brumaks shouldn’t be killable by normal COG lancers. It just feels too easy then!