First impressions: Gears of War 3 – the first five minutes

Gears of War 3
Here we go!

I loved the first Gears of War, right up to the last bit, which I never bothered to finish (to my shame).

Gears 2 on the other hand just pissed me off. I was a bit late to the party, but even then I just didn’t get into it. It failed to engage me. I enjoyed a bit of Horde, but other than that my Gears of War 2 Collector Edition has sat gathering dust. I’ve tried to give it another go a few times, but I’ve since been spoiled by the likes of Killzone 2 and Halo Reach (Killzone 3 still sits in my “shit, why the hell haven’t I played this bloody game yet?” pile along with Fallout: New Vegas).

This morning a review copy of Gear 3 turned up on my doorstep, a game that I’ve no interest in playing at all. So I scribbled out my name and address with a black marker, circled the Microsoft PR company’s details and wrote “return to sender” on the front in big fat capitals before slamming it in the post box. Bugger this, I’m too busy playing The Gunstringer on Kinect to be bothered with Marcus Fenix’s latest splatterfest.

Yeah right.

Whilst it’s true I’m a bit busy at the mo’, that copy of Gears 3 is mine.

Putting aside that antics of a skeletal cowboy puppet in The Gunstringer and the esoteric and surreal retelling of the non-canonical story of Enoch in the mouthful known as El Shaddai Ascension of the Metatron, I’ve been having a little tinker with Gears of War 3.

As much of an Xbox fan that I am, I tend to feel that the PS3 is beginning to trump Microsoft’s baby in the visuals department. Killzone, God of War and Uncharted all wipe the floor with the best that the 360 can throw up on my TV, even the previous Gears titles. Yet, as I sat there slouched on the sofa taking in the start of Gears of War 3’s campaign, suddenly and without thinking I got up, pulled out a footstool and parked my arse four feet from my 42 inch plasma; I needed to get a closer look at Epic’s handiwork.

Even after just having my eyeballs blessed by El Shaddia’s  beautiful and etherial imagery, Gears of War 3 is still standout stunning. The guys have pulled out all the stops here. From the first moment the menus appear to the prologue involving Fenix’s daddy issues and into the game proper it is easy to see that Gears 3 is going to be something very special.

Epic have even seen fit to cater for heathens like myself, that have missed out on previous games, by providing a cool little “previously on Gears” movie. So no excuses if you’ve never played a Gears game before.

Welcome to the war, soldier.

Gears of War 3 is out in New Zealand on September 20th for the Xbox 360. Check out Xenith’s full Gears of War 3 review when it’s posted  on Game Culture NZ very soon.