The news was announced sometime ago, but I er, got too caught up with the news and other stuff (mostly the latter). After firing 23 billion bullets, the beta has come to an end. I only got to play during the last week of beta due to exams, but I had a great time nonetheless. First things first, I only played the multiplayer in the first Gears of War, for Gears of War 2 I only tried out a few matches, mostly of the Horde mode (again, due to school), so I can’t really compare it to the previous games. Moreover Gears of War was a long time ago so and my memory gets pretty rusty at times. Most times. Sadly…
Gears of War 3 Beta Impressions
Anyway, Gears of War 3 is back with more multiplayer madness, curb stomping action, chainsawing craziness and more. I didn’t get to experience the last 2 though, since I’m not quite at the level where I can get up to a person close enough to chainsaw him/her before I eat a face of shotgun shells. Her, because as you might know already, you can play as female characters this time round (or at least, I don’t remember there being any previously).
As with previous games, you can select between Player and Ranked matches across a variety of game modes. The ones available for play in the beta were Team Deathmatch, King of the Hill and Capture the Leader. The first two should be pretty standard. In Capture the Leader, one player will be assigned as the leader. The goal is to down the leader and capture him/her (equivalent to holding a meat shield) for as long as possible. To free your leader you’ll have to kill the enemy player or use smoke grenades (which is part of your starting loadout). You can view your multiplayer stats from the menus — kills, deaths, wins etc. as well as various medals and awards earned (more on that later).
You can also customize your starting loadout here. For primary weapons, there’s the chainsaw-attached Lancer, the semi-automatic Hammerburst, and the Retro Lancer, which is outfitted with a regular knife-like bayonet that you can use to spear enemies while coming out of a roadie run. For secondary weapons, you can choose between the Gnasher and the Sawed-Off Shotgun, a high-powered shotgun which requires a reload after each shot. Besides these, you can also choose your default COG/Locust character and weapon skins.
Games start off with a map showing an overview of the level and the weapons in the stage, which is useful for new players. Being my first time playing a Gears of War multiplayer match in a few years, needless to say, I found myself at the bottom of the leaderboards in the first few rounds… unless there were bots playing as well. Bots are back this time too, filling out spots due to lack of players or drop outs. When new players join they’ll automatically replace the bots in the next round. The first team to win 2 rounds wins the match. In each round, teams will have a specific number of spawns as indicated in the top left corner of the game. Since each team has 5 players, once the counter reaches 5, there will be no respawns for the teams. The counter will be replaced by portraits of the survivors, which is a pretty nice touch as you see it dropping until the last man (or woman) standing. Speaking of which, if you die, you can change your loadout at the deathcam.
Throughout the game, you will various medals and awards for accomplishing certain tasks (getting perfect reloads, assisting in kills, performing executions etc.). As with previous games, a small counter will pop up when you progress to a certain stage. Medals are persistent and multi-tiered, as compared to awards, which are received at the end of every match. You can unlock additional skins and executions with medal progression too. For the Beta you could unlock the Cole Train outfit and Gold Retro Lancer skin for retail by playing enough matches and getting enough kills. Neither of which I did. Earning awards will also give you bonus XP, which I forgot to mention, the levelling system is back as well. Gears of War 3 will be out on 20 September 2011, and I leave you now to tend to my Xbox 360.
Gears of War 3 Epic and Limited Edition Details
Epic Edition (US$149.99)
- A Limited Edition Marcus Fenix Statue – Designed by Epic Games Art Director Chris Perna and expertly crafted by the artisans at Triforce, this fine PVC statue collectible makes the ultimate living room centerpiece for any true “Gears” fan.
- The Art and Design of Gears of War by Tom Bissell – Through unprecedented access to the Epic Games team, acclaimed author Tom Bissell (Extra Lives) gives readers an incisive behind-the-scenes glimpse into one of the most celebrated sagas in video game history with 96 pages of interviews, photos, concept artwork and more.
- Infected Omen Weapon Pack — Custom multiplayer skins for the game’s five starting weapons; Lancer, Retro Lancer, Hammerburst, Sawed-off Shotgun, and Gnasher Shotgun.
- All the contents of the “Gears of War 3” Limited Edition.
Limited Edition (US$79.99)
- An Octus Award Box and Octus Service Medal – Replicas of the honors bestowed on Adam Fenix, Marcus’s father, for his work on the Hammer of Dawn.
- Exclusive Unlockable Adam Fenix Multiplayer Character – Each Octus Service Medal replica is engraved with a unique Xbox LIVE code that is the only way to unlock Adam Fenix in multiplayer.
- A fabric COG Flag – Proud colors that once flew above the House of Sovereigns.
- The personal effects of Adam Fenix, including his “Last Will and Testament,” the initial Hammer of Dawn schematic, and other Fenix family mementos.