Aftershock: Gears of War 3′s Story Sucks (MAJOR SPOILERS)
“Aftershock” is a recurring feature column on Game Front. We take games we’ve already reviewed and give them a sober second look once the post-launch dust has settled.
This editorial contains major spoilers for the plot of Gears of War 3. You have been warned.
I think we all can agree that, for the most part, the multiplayer in Gears of War 3 is solid. (With one important exception being Sandbar, which is way unbalanced toward whoever gets the sniper rifle.) In any case, I don’t wanna talk about the multiplayer. I wanna talk about the campaign, which is the thing I like to talk about.
From a technical standpoint, the campaign is good. It looks nice and it can get pretty tense at times. Meanwhile, it’s missing great set pieces and it’s probably too easy, but those are small things. My big gripe is that the story just effing sucks.
Where do I begin? Let’s start with the big twist at the end. Marcus and Delta Squad finally reunite with Adam Fenix, and Adam reveals that some people knew about the Locusts before E-Day and that they were actually working with them to stop the Lambent. This is a huge thing to drop on us, and while Baird seems pretty interested in this turn of events, nobody else is and the game pretty much just pretends the revelation is never made. And we don’t learn anything else about the relationship between Adam and Myrrah, the Locust queen. In fact, when Marcus meets her face to face later on, he just stabs her in the gut and tosses her aside.
This is just another instance of one of this franchise’s larger problems: that it teases at this interesting greater mythology but never explores it. This happens a few times in Gears 3, with the most annoying other example being when Baird points out that the Queen looks human and speculates, perhaps jokingly, that she actually is a human who joined up with the Locust at some point in the past. Is that ever going to be addressed? Nope! That one mention is the only time that comes up.
Now, let’s talk about Dom. Dom dies in this game, and it’s supposed to be a big emotional moment. I can only assume this is what people are referring to when they tweet at Cliffy B that the game made them cry. And, for a second, it does look like it’s going to be one of the more weighty moments in the series, but then an instrumental version of “Mad World” kicks in. When that happens, you stop dwelling on this potentially great character moment in which Dom sacrifices himself to save his friends and instead think, “Holy s–t, it’s Mad World!” Using a song we all know because it was featured in the marketing for the original game completely undercuts the moment. Excellent work, Epic.