We continue with our Gears 3 criticism of Act 2. We’re covering chapters 4 through 7 today, thus finishing up this Act.
Chapter 4: Trench Run
When you know where you’re going, this scene isn’t terrible. It’s not that bad even on the first time through, either. If you’re playing this section for the first time, and one of your co-op partners just runs through because they know where they’re going, then you’re going to miss out on experiencing this properly; the run can be finished just after the first salvo lands, which totally ruins the tension.
Another problem with the bombing run is that it’s not always clear when the player should have died and when they shouldn’t have. They can be no where near an explosion yet still die, for example. The explosions do not fully demark the area where the player can die. It is more likely that the player dies due to being inside of an invisible kill volume at the wrong time rather than being hit by the explosions.
Ticker fighting pit: Really villainizes the Locust. Same with the assembly lines; the clasps are spiky! They’re willing to torture and abuse their own for entertainment.
After fighting through the ticker assembly line, a Savage Grenadier shuts the gate behind you. If you plant grenades on the wall and floor, they will not detonate until after the vignette is over. Furthermore, where did this grub come from? Without a lever or any visible means of actually shutting the gate, how did it manage to shut the gate? Clearly, the rules of the game do not apply in cutscenes of vignettes; yes, this being filed under the growing label of “cutscene magic!”
After dealing with the mini-corpser that the impossible Grenadier locked you in with, Dom makes the following comment: “I hate corpsers. It’s all the legs, freaks me out.” Baird replies with, “See, that’s ’cause humans are hardwired to react to things that scuttle, and… okay, I’ll shut up now.” In Coalition’s End, Sorotki (a KR pilot) is thinking about the polyps, and what Baird would say about the human reaction to scuttling. The dialogue here echoes Sorotki’s thoughts pretty well. Another nice throwback to the novels.
The corpser brood mother fight: It’s very tedious. First, kill all of the corpser hatchlings, as they hatch. Then, kill the larger corpsers that come out. Then, shoot the brood mother’s eyes. After popping an eye, repeat the process three more times. It’s not fun. The brood mother has four eyes, but in four-player co-op, each player can’t take responsibility for an eye and thus coordinate a simultaneous popping of the eyes for an easy victory; how dare players try to think outside of the box! Like the Brumak before it, this fight is just wholly unnecessary filler that is not fun and does not add value to the overall experience.
Chapter 5: Hijack
We see our first look at Myrrah. Last time we saw her, she was leaving Marcus and Dom to die by the hands of Skorge. At the sight of her, Dom says, “Goddamnit, she’s still alive? How the hell did she survive the floods?” Well, Dom, she’s on a giant flying bug. Along with what I have just mentioned, Baird and Cole—at the end of Gears 2—even said, “The queen got away.” Also, in Adam Fenix’s message, which he had just seen earlier in the day, mentions that Myrrah is holding him prisoner. Oh, and Prescott also told Delta squad that the message is three days old. Basically, Dom should already know that Myrrah is alive.
After fighting through some Theron Guards- wait, torque bows this early in the game? GIVE ME ALL OF THE TORQUE BOWS, YOU SAVAGE GRUBS.
…Right, criticizing the game. So, after liberating the Precious from the Theron guards, there is an elevator that takes the player up the barge tower. At the top, a gas barge circles the platform. If the player dies on this battle, they have to ride the elevator up again, because the checkpoint is at the bottom. This is simply a bad checkpoint.
As far as the barge battle itself goes, there’s no one on the turrets. I guess Epic is afraid that a good sniper would be able to trivialize this bullshit encounter? Either that or it’s just very difficult to actually see anyone gunning the turrets. Regardless, this battle is not fun. There is a lack of cover, which on Insane means instant death. This fight comes down to trial and error with the barge cannons, with the punishment for error having to ride that damn elevator again. As for the mooks that rope down from the barge, the Precious makes them easy to deal with; Torque Bows just make everything better.
In the closing cutscene, Dom tells Baird, “Even Sam says it’s the ass-end of the world, and it’s her hometown.” Uh, no. Her mother was evacuated from Anvil Gate during the siege. Sam was not born in Anvegad. Dom then says, “Myrrah’s got to be holding your dad, Marcus.” Really, Dom, really?
Chapter 6: Airborne
This chapter opens with Dom complaining to Baird about the gas barge’s flight path. Baird says to Dom, “You want a coloring book, pencils? Look, something shiny!” I think I just found some dialogue from Baird that I actually like. Mostly because it makes fun at Dom, but still.
“This is truck 54. . . ” Where is the truck? The roads are trashed. Dizzy is going to be inside when we find him. None of it adds up! On an unrelated note, Dizzy’s voice actor, like Prescott’s, was changed between Gears 2 and Gears 3.
During the firefight at the supply depot, Baird remarks, “hey, Dizzy, you shoot pretty good for a Stranded.” Once again, everyone who was part of the COG is Stranded now. Additionally, in Anvil Gate, Dizzy is called Stranded and then all of Delta squad steps up and calls him a Gear. I hate these inconsistencies. The further we go through the campaign, the more I regret having read the novels.
Chapter 7: Touchdown
Anvil Gate, when we see it, does not look like it guards a mountain pass, or was built into the mountain, or has two large towers for the iconic gun emplacements. The Anvil Gate that we see in game and the one that is described in the novel of the same name are quite different. For a pop culture reference, this is like Tolkien’s Lord of the Rings book trilogy not being accurately represented by Peter Jackson’s Lord of the Rings film trilogy.
Let’s end this Act on a good note: The gas barges are steered by giant needles, sort of like how a horse is steered by spurs. This is great for reinforcing the point that the Locust are evil bastards who don’t care about torturing their own; that the Locust are still, despite the greater threat by the Lambent, the true villains in Gears of War 3.
Overall, Act 2 is about on par with Act 1. Act 1 covered the same event—the assault and wreck of the Sovereign twice—which made the inconsistencies much more pronounced. Act 2 covers unfamiliar territory, and so the flaw here lies with what is presented; the strongest points of the act are where there is a minimum amount of dialogue, thus the weakest point of the act is the dialogue.
Check back next week when we pick apart Act 3. It doesn’t have much dialogue, so it should be rather decent.