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Gears of War 3

Gears of War 3 / Xbox 360
editor score 9.5
user score 8.7
Release Date










Epic Games


Microsoft Studios

Ashes to Ashes Trailer

On April 13, 2010, a new trailer was revealed by Cliff Bleszinski on Jimmy Fallon's late night show. The trailer revealed a grim, lifeless world, ash falling from the sky, and petrified human corpses littering the streets. The scene was reminiscent of citizens trapped in the Pompeii volcanic eruption, indicating some sort of massive calamity on Sera. The haunting music in the video is a song titled "Heron Blue" by the band Sun Kil Moon, fronted by musician Mark Kozelek, formerly of the band Red House Painters. The song joins other evocative songs that have been featured in the Gears of War series' trailers. The trailer also reveals Dom's new thickly bearded look as he is rescued by Marcus Fenix - wearing sleeveless armor - after being ambushed by a new Lambent monster with three tentacles. Dom is given a weapon by Anya Stroud that is an older version of the Lancer assault rifle; instead of the working chainsaw, this Pendulum era Lancer has a plain blade as a bayonet. This suggests that the human troops are short on soldiers and weaponry. After the end of the trailer, Bleszinski went on to state that there shall be female soldiers such as Anya. He also explained that the Lambent threat is far more severe than the Locust one, because Lambent creatures can mutate mid-battle.


Sera has seen better days
Sera has seen better days

The game takes place 18 months after the Fall of Jacinto at the end of Gears of War 2. After the Coalition of Ordered Governments had fallen apart, humans formed colonies and took to the sea in an attempt to be free of the ever-present threat of Emergence Holes. The story's protagonists find themselves aboard a "Raven's Nest-class aircraft carrier" that, along with other attached boats, forms a temporary haven known as Sovereign. Delta squad has splintered, with Marcus and Dom separated from Cole and Baird for much of the game, with the player switching between each team's story before they inevitably meet up. This was done in an attempt to make Cole and Baird feel like more fleshed out characters instead of bland secondary characters. However, two new playable characters, Jace Stratton and Anya Stroud round out the first team of four, and it is not yet known what two characters will be accompanying Cole and Baird through their stretch of the game. After a confrontation with the Lambent, the team receives a surprise visit from Chairman Prescott, who presents Marcus with a data disk from Marcus' father Adam, from which the Gears head off in an attempt to save what is left of the humans who have colonized Sera.

A new character, Aaron Griffin (voiced by Ice-T) is introduced in the game, and is also available in the game's multiplayer mode.


The new sawed-off shotgun
The new sawed-off shotgun

The single player campaign is playable as four player co-op instead of the series staple of two player co-op. Each of the four playable characters will be tied in to the plot and story as the campaign progresses to ensure that no player feels that his or her character is tacked on. It was first stated that this game was set to be easier than the previous one, due to the small number of players who reportedly finished Gears of War 2. However Epic went on to clarify that only the easier difficulties were going to be easier in order for the more casual players to experience their narrative, but the harder difficulties will remain just as challenging, if not more, as the previous games.

The Lambent add a new dimension to the old Gears of War formula of "Stop-And-Pop" similar to what the tickers attempted to do in Gears of War 2. Larger Lambent creatures will be able to attack players over cover forcing the player to adapt and use new tactics.

There is also the inclusion of mechs called "Silverbacks" in the game. The Silverbacks are modified labor exoskeletons that have been outfitted with a rocket launcher on one arm and a gatling gun on the other. The Silverbacks have access to many of the tools that the Gears use including it's own version of the Roadie Run and the ability to curb-stomp. Along with their more mobile form, Silverbacks have the ability to plant themselves down and act as a stationary turret as well as a cover point for teammates.

Alongside the "Cinematic" Campaign mode, there is an Arcade option, wherein players compete for high scores with their friends as well as the inclusion of mutators (a throwback to the Unreal Tournament series) that can change elements of the game world such as gravity and head size, as well as adjust gameplay elements to make things easier or harder (for example, infinite ammo and allowing enemies to regenerate their health).

New Weapons

  • The Retro Lancer, a Pendulum Wars era Lancer with a knife bayonet and charging pierce attack. The Retro Lancer features higher bullet damage but lower accuracy than the Lancer.
  • The Digger Launcher, a grenade launcher that shoots Piranha-like creatures into the ground that then explode under the enemy and cover.
  • Incendiary Grenades, which explode on impact resulting sometimes in an instant kill.
  • The Hammerburst, with enhanced first-person zoom.
  • The Gorgon Pistol, No longer a burst fire weapon. Although weakened, it is now a full-auto, Machine pistol.
  • The One-Shot, a recoilless sniper rifle that kills any enemy with one shot (hence the name), it takes several seconds of aiming to acquire a target.
  • The Sawed-Off Shotgun, which can only fire a single round at a time but can kill up to four enemies at a time with a single shot.
  • The Vulcan Cannon, A highly powered chain gun. Requires two people to use, One person to shoot, and one person to pump and carry ammo.

Save or Kill Carmine Promotion

To be or not to be.
To be or not to be.

As a part of a special charity promotion, consumers were able to decide whether Clayton Carmine will survive or die in the storyline of Gears of War 3. People were able to vote by purchasing avatar t-shirts on the Xbox LIve Marketplace. The avatar T-shirts cost $1 (80 Microsoft Points). Those who attended San Diego Comic-Con 2010 were able to purchase an actual t-shirt for $20 and also counted towards voting. All proceeds went to the Child's Play Charity and when all was said and done the promo raised about $150,000 USD.

Multiplayer Beta

Soon after the announcement of the game being delayed by several months, EPIC announced that there will be a multiplayer beta for Gears of War 3. Rod Fergusson mentioned that the team has always wanted to do a beta for the series, and now that they a few extra months of development time, they were able to make it a reality. The beta will run from April 18 to May 15 giving players up to 4 weeks of Gears of War 3 multiplayer action.

Thrashball Cole with Golden Retro
Thrashball Cole with Golden Retro

Players who buy the Epic Edition of the Xbox 360 version of Bulletstorm will get first access to the public beta. The beta will start on April 18 allowing players with the Epic Edition to have an extra week to play. Players who pre-ordered the game from GameStop will get the beta one week later on April 25.

In the final week of the beta, Epic allowed beta testers to give their friends access by unlocking "buddy tokens" in-game. You could earn these tokens by simply playing the beta, or by way of purchasing Gears of War related merchandise over Xbox Live, or even by upgrading your account to Gold for 12 months.


Along with the established competitive multiplayer modes that have been in every Gears game to date, there have been significant additions and improvements across the board.

Competitive Multiplayer


Gears of War 3 Multiplayer
Gears of War 3 Multiplayer

The classic Gears of War multiplayer mode. Teams of five fight to eliminate all enemy team members. A round will end when either all opposing team members are killed, or the time runs out. If the time is to run out, the match ends in a draw, and neither team gets a point. If killed, you're out for the round.


Similar to Warzone, but with one main difference. The only way to kill an enemy is to use explosives, get a headshot, or perform an execution move when your enemy is downed. Shooting at range will down an enemy, but will not register as a kill towards your team's score. Like Warzone, there is only one life per player, per round.

King of the Hill

Consolidating the Annex and King of the Hill modes from the previous games, teams have to capture a designated hill that is situated at various weapon spawns on the map. Starting at 75 points, the hill counts down 1 point per second even if it is not captured by a team. To gain points, at least one player is needed to capture the hill, which takes at least 5 seconds of uncontested time in the hill (this is expedited when more players are in the hill). After all points are drained from a hill, it changes to a different weapon spawn and the process repeats. Overtime kicks in after a while, making the ring drain faster than 1 point per second. By default, rounds go up to 150 points, and the first to win 2 rounds wins the match.


Wingman is a deathmatch game mode where players are split into four teams of two (2v2v2v2). The teams fight each other in rounds; players do not respawn until the end of the round when time runs out or only one team is left standing. You and your teammate share a character model, and the first team to reach a score of 15 wins. Map-based weapon spawns, or "power weapons," also do not appear immediately when the rounds begin.

Capture the Leader

Capture the Leader combines elements of Guardian and Submission from Gears of War 2. In this game mode, the objective is to down the enemy team's leader (Queen Myrrah or Prescott), and hold him/her as a meat shield. As a leader is being held, a timer counts down; if the leader is freed through teammates throwing a smoke grenade or damaging the captor, the timer resets. If both leaders are held at the same time, the timers lock until one breaks free. While a leader is being captured, they will occasionally try to break free by hurting the captor, giving teammates an opening to attack the stunned enemy.

Team Deathmatch

Two teams are each given 15 respawns for the whole team per round, and the first team to eliminate the enemy wins. There are two rounds per match, and players can be revived if downed.

Cooperative Modes

Horde Mode

Horde Mode has been redesigned for Gears of War 3, with the addition of some tower defense elements. After setting up a command post, players are able to set up defenses near the post, such as decoys, turrets, and barriers. Spending money on each of these fortifications builds experience points that are specific to each different type of defense, and leveling up these skills allows the player to deploy more effective versions of these fortifications and/or spend less money to do so. Players earn money for each kill, which can be spent on defense upgrades, respawns, weapons, and ammo. There are increasingly difficult enemies in each wave, which culminates in a "boss wave" every ten rounds, where enemies such as Brumaks, Gunkers, Berserkers, Lambent Berserkers, Reaver Squads, or Savage Corpsers will be released, along with regular support troops. After every tenth round, the intensity of the enemy waves will reset, but they will gain boosters such as 2x health or 2x accuracy. As before, the waves continue up to 50.

Beast Mode

In this cooperative game mode, the team plays as different Locust forces for 12 rounds. The players start out with small troops, such as tickers and wretches, each with a different cost to "buy" and use after every respawn. Through killing humans and destroying fortifications, they will eventually earn money and rank up to the likes of the Armored Kantus or Berserkers. The goal of the mode is to eliminate a team of AI controlled COG and Stranded forces, as well as destroy or circumvent their fortifications. The enemies become increasingly difficult between rounds. In later waves, players have to deal with Heroes, who are main characters from the game who must be executed to be killed. Wave 12 always consists of Chairman Prescott and a large group of Onyx Guards.

Unlockable Beta Goodies

Beta testers will have the opportunity to unlock the several Gold weapon skins as well as Cole's Thrashball skin for use in the Beta, as well as in Gears of War 3 itself. Each item has different requirements the player must meet during the beta time to unlock them:

Beta Tester Medal

To unlock the Beta Medal for use in Gears of War 3, you must complete the following requirement:

  • Complete 1 match in the beta to unlock the Beta Tester Medal.

Once this requirement is met, the medal will be unlocked for display in Gears of War 3.

Gold Retro Lancer Skin

To unlock the Gold Retro Lancer for use in Gears of War 3, you must complete the following requirements:

  • Play 90 matches in the Beta. This will unlock the item for Beta play.
  • Then you must kill 100 players with the Golden Retro Lancer in the Beta.

Once these two requirements are met, the item will be unlocked for use in Gears of War 3.

Thrashball Cole Skin

To unlock the Thrashball Cole Skin for use in Gears of War 3, you must:

  • Play 50 matches in the Beta. This will unlock the skin for Beta use.
  • Then you must play 10 more matches using the unlocked skin.

Once these two requirements are met, the skin will be unlocked for use in Gears of War 3.

Flaming Hammerburst

  • Complete 1 match by Sunday, April 24th, 2011 to unlock. Carries over to the full game.

Flaming Lancer

  • Complete 1 match during the week of April 25th, 2011 to unlock. Carries over to the full game.

Flaming Sawed-Off Shotgun

  • Complete 1 match during the week of May 2nd, 2011 to unlock. Carries over to the full game.

Flaming Gnasher Shotgun

  • Complete 1 match during the week of May 9th, 2011 to unlock. Carries over to the full game.

In order to ensure that unlockables carry over, beta saves must not be deleted until after playing the retail version of the GOW3.

Limited Edition and Epic Edition

Epic Edition
Epic Edition

The Limited Edition was be priced at $79.99 US and included:

  • An Octus Award Box with Octus Service Medal – A 1:1 match in size and weight, this zinc-alloy cog-shaped medal replicates. the award given to Adam Fenix in recognition of his work on the Hammer of Dawn.
  • Adam Fenix as a playable character for multiplayer, each Octus Service Medal is engraved with a code to unlock Adam Fenix.
  • A fabric COG Flag.
  • The personal effects of Adam Fenix, including his "Last Will and Testament," the initial Hammer of Dawn schematic, and other Fenix family mementos.

The Epic Edition was priced at $149.99 US and included everything in the Limited Edition as well as:

  • A limited edition Marcus Fenix statue.
  • The Art and Design of Gears of War by Tom Bissell.
  • The Infected Omen Weapon Pack which has custom skins for the Lancer, Retro Lancer, Hammerburst, Sawed-off Shotgun and the Gnasher Shotgun.

Retro Lancer Replica

Sexy replica is sexy
Sexy replica is sexy

Just like with Gears of War 2, Epic also offered a replica of one of their weapons, this time the Retro Lancer. Re-created by NECA, the 1:1 replica of the rifle (3 1/2 feet in length) is "hand painted with weather and battle worn material," according to Epic's official website. Pulling the trigger will also make the sound of the rifle being fired, assuming batteries are in place.

Consumers will be able to pick up the replica standalone for $99.99 USD, or, for $79.99 USD, it can be added to any pre-order bundle of the game for a discount.

Limited Edition Gears of War 3 Xbox 360 S Console & Limited Edition Wireless Controller

On June 6th, Major Nelson announced the limited edition Gears of War 3 Xbox 360 S console.

Package contents include:

  • Xbox 360 S console, painted in "ox blood red", with 320GB HDD and special on/off and open/close disc tray sounds.
  • Two Xbox 360 wireless controllers, painted in "ox blood red", with Transforming D-Pad.
  • A copy of Gears of War 3 standard edition.
  • A download token for "bonus game content" (unspecified).
  • A download token for the Infected Omen weapon skins for the 5 starting weapons (Lancer, Gnasher, Sawed-off, Retro Lancer and Hammerburst).
  • A download token for Adam Fenix, Marcus' father, playable in multiplayer.
  • A wired headset.

The limited edition Gears of War 3 Xbox 360 S console will be available on September 20th 2011 for £269.99 (UK RRP), $399 (US ERP). The limited edition Gears of War 3 wireless controller can be purchased separately from August 11th 2011 for £34.99 (UK RRP), $59.99 (US ERP).

Downloadable Content

As with other games in the Gears of War franchise there will be a large amount of downloadable content (DLC) released to the public. On day one there was a large amount of skins availiable for purchase on the Xbox Live Marketplace. Some of these were static skins and others where animated to give the skins special effects. None of the skins were anything more than cosmetic upgrades to the players character and ranged in price from $3-$15 dollars. There was also a season pass released at the same time that allowed for players to pre-purchase the first four DLC packs and save on the purchase. The season pass also includes a Liquid Metal weapon skin pack unavailable through other means. The season pass is still available today for 2400 MSP or $30.

DLC NameDescriptionPrice
Horde Command Pack This is a Horde centric map pack that feature the new maps:
  • Blood Drive
  • Rustlung
  • Azura
Character Skins:
  • Onyx Guard
  • Big Rig Dizzy
  • Bernie
Weapons Skin
  • Team Plasma
  • Jungle Camo
Fortification Upgrades
  • Command Center
  • Decoy Upgrade
  • Sentry Upgrade
  • Silverback Upgrade
800 MSP/
RAAM's Shadow RAAM's Shadow is a Single player centric add-on that has the player playing as both COG and Locust. On the COG sections you will play as Tai, Minh, Valera & Barrick members of the Zeta Squad and on the Locust you play as General RAAM. The entire campaign can be played in both 4 player co-op and arcade mode and is expected to offer about 3 hours of gameplay.
In addition to the campaign there will also be versus multiplayer characters included and a chocolate weapon skin.
1200 MSP/ $15
Fenix Rising Fenix Rising is primarily a multiplayer map pack, with the theme of introducing locales that represented pivotal moments in the lives of Marcus and Adam Fenix. It introduces the ability to "re-up" or prestige after reaching level 100, unlocking additional weapon skins and achievements. Unlike the prestige system seen in some other shooters, players retain all of their experience-related unlockables, as well as medal and achievement progress. Fenix Rising also features recolored versions of two character skins, Thrashball Cole and Savage Kantus, previously only available through playing the Beta and pre-order content respectively.

The Slab

Character skins:
Recruit Clayton Carmine (a younger version of him in full armor)
Thrashball Cole (LE)
Savage Kantus (LE)
Savage Marauder

Weapon skins:
Re-up 1 (Gold Plasma)
Re-up 2 (Large Crimson Omen)
Re-up 3 (Gold Electricity)
800 MSP / $10
Forces of Nature Forces of Nature, the final DLC pack for Gears of War 3, introduces five maps with the theme of harsh weather. Periodically on each map, effects such as harsh winds, snowstorms, and rain will disrupt players and hinder visibility. Due to player demand, the DLC also reintroduces the Guardian gametype to owners, although it has some adjustments from the Gears of War 2 version. Similarly to Fenix Rising, the pack also rounds out the characters previously only available through pre-order bonuses with recolored versions.

  • Aftermath
  • Artillery
  • Cove
  • Jacinto
  • Raven Down

Character skins:
  • Mechanic Baird (LE)
  • Commando Dom (LE)
  • Savage Grenadier (LE)
  • Savage Hunter

Weapon skins:
  • Midnight (full black with small white Omen symbol)
  • Hype (liquid orange)
  • Ultraviolet
  • Major League (red and blue)
  • Vixen (pink and yellow)
  • Ivory (tied to achievement)
  • FL4K (black and yellow; tied to achievement)
800 MSP / $10


The original score for Gears of War 3 was once again assigned to composer Steve Jablonsky, who had already made the music for Gears of War 2.

Track #Song TitleRunning Time
01 Restless 01.03
02 Gears Keep Turning 03.00
03 Meanwhile Below Deck 01.21
04 Stalk City 02.12
05 High Seas Tension 01.49
06 Infected, Large and Hungry 01.38
07 Marcus' Rock 01.40
08 Calm Before Chaos 02.13
09 Bridge Too Far Indeed 03.41
10 Those Aren't Stranded 02.13
11 Forever Omen 02.06
12 Hanover's Favorite Son 01.43
13 Fence House Suicide Pills 02.08
14 Ghost Town 01.42
15 A Fine Mess 03.31
16 Loss of a Leader 02.09
17 Deadland Dance 05.17
18 Creeping Dead 02.24
19 Hammer Meet Anvil 03.05
20 Corpser Ambush 02.15
21 Last Resort 01.26
22 Full Circle 03.42
23 Jumped Species Barrier 02.05
24 Ashes Fall Down 04.01
25 Fathoms Below 02.36
26 Gasbag Airways 02.06
27 Paradise Found 03.11
28 Father and Son 02.24
29 Fury of the Tempest 03.12
30 Live for Me 02.52
31 Finally a Tomorrow 03.58

Xbox 360 Game Installation

Gears of War 3 requires 7.5GB to install the game.