Gears of War 3 has only had, let's say, a billion of advertisements all over the airwaves, so we figured we'd kick off this edition of the Video Game Roundup with a look at the the final game in the popular Xbox 360 trilogy. Then we'll delve into the outer space adventures of Fox McCloud in Star Fox 64 3D, and finish up with a look at the Kinect-only The Gunstringer on Xbox 360.
Gears of War 3
Gears of War 3 continues the trilogy as you play Marcus Fenix, head of a team of super soldiers known as "Gears" who are intent on combating the various plagues that are infesting the planet Sera (got that?). Human resistance to the hostile enemies known as the Locust have all but wiped civilization out, but that's sooooo previous-game-in-the-series. In Gears of War 2, you made a dent in their forces, but they're still around, and now are joined by some crazy zombie aliens called the Lambent.
If this sounds confusing, we assure you, it isn't, mainly because you'll be way too busy blowing up stuff to care! The action is almost non-stop, and while we were able to complete the game in about a week, it always keeps you guessing with what they'll throw at you next. Our favorite part is... well, we won't spoil it!
The greatest thing about Gears is the fact that this is definitely not meant to be played just by one person. The real draw is when you get a group of buddies together to play through the story at the same time. Instead of protecting some computer-controlled player, having your friends in the roles of these characters makes the game a lot more dramatic!
Of course, instead of saving them, you may just want to throw a grenade at their feet, so the famous competitive modes are also in this version of Gears, and one play is definitely not enough. This game will have you hooked as you score medals and experience to unlock new weapons and characters.
Overall, Gears of War 3 is the best in the series, and our contender so far for video game of the year. Visually, it's a stunner, and while the story does try to add depth, the action is what it's all about. Amazing stuff.
Games.com Score: Five zombie aliens (out of five)
Star Fox 64 3D
Star Fox 64 3D is the second Nintendo 64 title to get the Nintendo 3DS treatment (the first being the amazing The Legend if Zelda: Ocarina of Time), and in a lot of ways, it's a better fit for the 3D portable. You take control of Fox McCloud as he leads his cohorts (my personal favorite is Slippy) into some very cool space adventures, both in space and on land, and all of which uses the Nintendo 3DS in some pretty innovative ways.
For example, you can use the gyroscope in the Nintendo 3DS to tilt your ship any which way you want, so leaning into turns actually makes a difference. It feels very natural, and when used with the analog controls, you're able to get out of some pretty hair-raising situations. All that moving the system around makes the 3D fuzzy, but you can just turn the 3D slider down all the way for a clear view of the action.
Or you can play without the gyroscope and crank that 3D effect because the game is gorgeous. The stars and backgrounds have a great layering effect that makes this one of the best looking Nintendo 3DS games to come out. It's just a shame you almost have to choose either the gyro controls or the 3D effect, as both don't work too well at the same time.
Still this is a great game that is worth a purchase even if you have played the Nintendo 64 original. And if you haven't? You're in for a treat, as the story takes you from battle to battle, with a few variations that keeps things fresh. The main style of play will have you flying straight ahead as enemies come at you, and you just have to move the target around the screen to fire your lasers and bombs. This happens during many flying missions, although you'll hop in a tank for a very cool diversion a bit later in the game. There's also a free roam style that has you dogfighting against different enemies, including a few characters from the original game that are back to make life a pain for Fox.
The hardware shows off a great experience, although it's not perfect. It's still a lot of fun though (wait until you play against some of your friends in a very cool multiplayer mode) and worth a look!
Games.com Score: Four old rabbits in space (out of five)
The Gunstringer is another Xbox 360 title worthy of a closer look. Made by the guys behind the indie sensation 'Splosion Man on Xbox Live, The Gunstringer uses the Xbox Kinect to bring to life the story of a cowboy with a sordid past out for revenge. And he happens to be an undead puppet. So, yeah, there's that.
Controlling the cowboy puppet is as simple as using your left hand to move him around like a marionette, while using your right hand to point like a pistol and shoot. This is as simple as it gets, folks, but it is a very fun time.
The story is full of laughs (just take a look at some of the audience members in your play), and the game changes it up quite a bit. One chapter will have you swinging your arm from side to side while avoiding boulders, while another will have you swiping at ninja enemies with your very own samurai blades.
Simple to pick up and play (since you're not actually picking up anything) and a great sense of humor make The Gunstringer a must-play game.
Games.com Score: Five wavy tube men -- you'll see (out of five)