Are you ready for the final battle over Sera? (My review is coming tomorrow.) Whether you’re barely even aware that Gears of War 3 is about to drop, or you’re keeping yourself awake at night dreaming of the glorious slaughter that awaits, follow this step-by-step method to get ready for the final chapter.
A great way to set the mood for the last game is this trailer, which seamlessly melts together moments from all three games with an emphasis on the “brotherhood” of COG soldiers.
Nine out of ten players have no idea that the Gears of War series’ campaign actually has a storyline. It’s true. If all you love is blowing stuff up and those wickedly fun multiplayer battles, then what I’m about to say will no doubt come as a jolt to your system on the level of when Lost flashed forward instead of back. Are you ready? Are you sitting down?
The story matters.
Even in a title like this, which is made to showcase endless hide-and-shoot gameplay, the story matters. Even though Gears of War has always done a poor job of conveying the significance and implications of various events, or even just telling the frickin’ story, usually leaving that sort of thing to the tie-in novels (which many of us have never read, myself included), the story still matters.
So if you’re fuzzy on what’s gone down before the third game (and who could blame you) and want to know what’s at stake in the finale, here’s a nifty rundown of everything that’s happened so far, courtesy of Epic Games. Trust me: you’re going to get more out of the payoffs in the third game if you fully grasp the story of the first two. (If you want to dig even deeper, try the Gearspedia wiki.)
If you’re not into, you know, reading and stuff, you can also catch up by watching this video. (I recommend watching it regardless, because it’s pretty darn cool.) Its YouTube title claims that it’s Gears of War 3‘s “opening cinematic,” but trust me: it’s not. This footage doesn’t appear anywhere in the game. Instead, it’s more like a “Previously…”-slash-short film kind of thing set just before the new game begins. In it, Anya creates a video record of humanity’s plight and how they got to where they are at this point in time.
If you are into the story side of things, you may have noticed a few lingering mysteries. Stuff like, “What happened to Marcus’ father?” And “What were the ‘Sire’ creatures in the second game?” Here’s a convenient list of all of the series’ unanswered questions that’s worth a look over — even though some of the entries fall more under the category of, “Stuff I want to happen in the third game” than actual dangling plot points.
Last, let’s take a look at what you can expect from the various multiplayer modes.
- Beast Mode: puts players in the shoes of the Locust, attacking waves of ever-stronger COGs. Kill an enemy and you earn a Token, which you can use after dying to upgrade to more powerful Locust creatures.
- Horde 2.0: replacing the original Horde Mode, 2.0 is a more strategic take, with some tower defense elements thrown in. Kills earn you money, which you can use to fortify your defenses in all manner of ways. But spend wisely: you’ll also need cash to buy back into a match if you die. Waves of enemies also feature periodic boss creatures.
- Team Deathmatch: teams are now limited to just 20 lives per round, so respawns are very limited and players are forced to place a stronger emphasis on strategy.
Those three are the big news, but there’s also Capture the Leader and King of the Hill, among other features.
One last thing: to pass the time while you wait for September 20th, check out the terrific fan art that’s been posted as part of an official GoW3 contest over at DeviantArt.