Published on April 20th, 2011 | by Kyle Spencer, Editor
Gears of War 3 Beta Preview (Week 1)
Over the past few years many may argue that the first person shooter genre, Call of Duty for example, ruled the video game business. In many instances, they are correct. With Gears of War 3 on the horizon and having some hands on time with the week 1 beta, I can honestly say that we may be looking at 2011’s game of the year. The first Gears grew with such popularity, not because of its single player, but because of its innovative mechanics and addicting multiplayer. Gears 2 launched with a much better story mode and a broken multiplayer that turned many Gears 1 fans away. Gears 3 is now upon us and features the best elements of both games. The one thing we as gamers have wanted from this series is finally here. Gears of War 3 now has dedicated servers.
If you own a copy of Bulletstorm: Epic Edition then you have access to the massive two gig download of the Gears of War 3 multiplayer beta. If you pre-order the game then you will have to wait until the 25th to start playing. From the very beginning it awards you the flaming hammer burst for just playing one match on week one. There are only three maps introduced during the first week, but in the main menu of the game players can look at the events calendar to find out what maps and game modes will be made available. Yes, that means that different game modes and maps will be available to play on certain dates. It seems just to keep you playing.
The first thing the beta will have you do is set up your character and load out before jumping into the multiplayer. Certain character and weapon skins are unlockable, so the more you play the more you will unlock. Players can choose from two different shotguns to spawn with. There is the games original shotgun and the new sawed off shotgun. For the assault riffles you can choose the standard lancer, hammer burst, or the new retro lancer.
The new weapons do seem to pack a powerful punch to the already deadly arsenal of weapons. The sawed off shotty is a one-shot, one-kill weapon if you are close enough to somebody. When zoomed in, you will notice that the gun reticule covers nearly the entire width of the screen. One close range shot on anybody will blow their bodies apart. The drawback is that the gun comes with only four shots and after each shot, there is a six to eight second re-load period. The original shotty returns to its normal form, much like it was in Gears 1. Quick, powerful, and faster at reloads.
The lancer has been given a slight boost in power and a much larger clip than in previous games. Two enemies can drop from lancer clip. The retro lancer is a solid close quarters weapon. From its lethal bayonet charge, to its high damage when the shots connect, its the perfect choice when combating in tight areas. The hammer burst has been given a nice upgrade. Known as the best long range weapon, the iron sights make it that much deadlier. When zoomed in, click the right thumbstick and it will take you to a fist person mode and gun em’ down.
There were only three maps that we had a chance to encounter when playing through week one. Thrash ball, which is a map that takes us back to Cole Train’s previous life as a thrash ball player. The stadium has been broken down and features a score board that can be shot down to kill those unfortunate enough to be underneath it. There are only a couple a weapons that spawn on this map. From the grinder that alters with the rocket launcher, the digger launcher that alters with the torque bow and frag grenades that alter with the new incendiary grenades.
Checkout is a map that takes place in a broken down shopping mall, that is extremely tight around corners and close quarters. The long-shot alters with the digger launcher in this map, and frag grenades alter with ink grenades.
The third map is Trenches that is the biggest of the three maps. Here is where you can get a chance to play with the much talked about elephant gun, the one shot killing machine.
(The Environments look Amazing)
What we took from this beta during the team deathmatch modes was the gameplay is much faster than Gears 2. Weapons were made a little more powerful to offset the powerful new weapons. Even though the sawed off is extremely powerful, it does take some time to get used to it.
Executions have been given the obvious upgrade. Now you can curb stomp, twist the neck, beat them to death, or rip their arm off and beat the with it, repeatably if you wish. Some of the executions you have to unlock, but to unlock them simply play matches with the specific weapon you want. At the end of each match you can see how close you are to unlocking something, because an achievement meter appears at the bottom right of the screen, that way you know how close you are game by game.
The experience system from Gears 2 returns and in a big way. You get points for virtually anything you do in the game. At the end of each game you are awarded medals, which can be displayed under your gamer tag in the multiplayer lobby and ribbons that add multipliers to your xp score.
The Final Truth:
Truth be told, I found myself wanting to play the beta more than Portal 2 or Mortal Kombat, both of which are sitting in my library. It brought back many solid memories from the original Gears and brought over the best innovations from the Gears 2 multiplayer. This is what the Gears 2 multiplayer should have been all along and with the newest additions to the weapon arsenal this promises to be the best game this year. We are looking forward to what the beta will have to offer us here in the future and we look forward to getting our hands on King of the Hill mode as well as continue dominance on team deathwatch. All I can say now is September 20th can’t get here soon enough.