Gears trilogy ends on a stellar note

Gears of War has been one of the best shooter franchises in gaming history, and the final installment of this trilogy offers strong, well-rounded and thrilling action.

Gears of War 3

Platform: Xbox 360

Genre: Shooter; Publisher: Microsoft

ESRB Rating: M, for Mature

Grade: 5 stars (out of 5)

Gears of War has been one of the best shooter franchises in gaming history, and the final installment of this trilogy offers strong, well-rounded and thrilling action.

With humanity all but eliminated, the members of COG Delta Squad (regulars like Marcus, Cole Train and others are back, along with a few new faces) are left to attack and defend from mobile sites to stave off the final blow from the Locust invaders.

Few franchises have delivered memorable stories and characters like this.

Other longtime franchises have surrendered story to pump up the online multiplayer for better long-term sales, but GOW3 sacrifices nothing to provide perhaps the best closing chapter of a trilogy to date.

The attention to detail is fantastic, giving you rich insights into the struggle — from mankind as a whole down to the individuals you command.

Here the action matches the hype. Trust me: You will keep your hands firmly grasping the controller. While sprinkling in a few new weapons for fun, the game offers awesome cover-and-shoot mechanics.

Horde is back and improved with the ability to build fortified locations that add more strategy to the action.

Beast is a new mode where the action is flipped — you become part of the Locust hordes, sending in waves of fellow Locust fighters against increasingly tougher COG soldiers.

The maps for all the multiplayer modes have been improved with stronger choke points and environments that create utter chaos.

Gears of War redefined the modern third-person shooter, and more games bear its influence than can be counted. Calling this a must-own doesn’t do justice to the long-lasting strength this game possesses.

This franchise defined a generation of gaming and goes out on a triumphant note, or a bloodcurdling roar, depending on how you choose to hear the music.

Follow Chris Campbell at twitter.com/campbler or email him at game_on_games@mac.com.

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