Gears of War 3 Hands On Preview
After some time with the beta: so far, so good.
While Gears of War has been an important series for Microsoft and the Xbox 360, there have been some ongoing issues with the series that have held it back; particularly, the slow gameplay and a general lack of weapons. This time around, Gears of War 3 seems to be getting it all correct. There is a new arsenal of weapons, five-vs-five multiplayer modes, and a campaign featuring up to four-player co-op action. After a good amount of time with the beta, Gears of War 3 is one of my most anticipated Xbox 360 titles of 2011.
While the full public beta begins Monday, April 25, I was able to start up early thanks to my preorder for the game at GameStop.
It was clear right off the bat that the game was a great improvement from Gears of War 2. Creating matches was so much easier than the proceeding and finding games is not only easier to do, but it is done much quicker as well. Once you enter into a match, Team Deathmatch, for example, you are given the choice of three different maps where a voting system is in place. The new Team Deathmatch mode will be featured on four new multiplayer maps: Checkout, Old Town, Thrashball, and Trenches.
You are able to choose between more guns when you spawn, as there is a new shotgun, the Sawed-off shotgun. It’s stronger than the Gnasher, but it has a shorter overall range. If you’re great at hip-fire kills, then I would recommend using the latest shotgun incarnation. You can also choose from a few new characters as well, and can do so when you respawn during a match.
As mentioned earlier, the slow-paced gameplay of 1 and 2 was an issue, but 3 is much quicker and smoother. Navigating your character around the map while running is much improved from 2, mainly on turning corners. The Lancer Assault Rifle seems to be much stronger, which is great when paring up with the shotgun. Given the changes, the action is now more intense, making for an experience that is just a lot more fun. The featured maps were also great, with my favorite being Trashball.
Overall, I was pleasantly surprised and am looking forward to the full Gears of War 3 release on September 20, 2011. Players can grab the game in one of three distinct editions: Standard ($59.99), Limited ($79.99) and Epic ($149.99). Those enrolled in the beta can see a full list of unlockables to grab before the full game kicks off.
The list of confirmed unlockables is as follows:
- Beta Tester Medal – Complete one match in the beta to unlock the Beta Tester medal, which will carry over to your gamer profile in the final game. The Beta Tester title will be featured in the Gears of War 3 multiplayer lobby, as well.
- Flaming Hammerburst – Complete one match by Sunday, April 24 and unlock this weapon variant.
- Flaming Lancer – Complete one match during the week of April 25 and unlock this weapon variant.
- Flaming Sawed-Off Shotgun – Complete one match during the week of May 2 to unlock this weapon variant.
- Flaming Gnasher Shotgun – Complete one match during the week of May 9 to unlock this weapon variant.
- Thrashball Cole – Complete 50 matches in any game type to unlock the Thrashball Cole character variant in the beta. Once unlocked, complete 10 matches as Thrashball Cole during the beta and the character will carry over to your gamer profile in the final game.
- Gold-Plated Retro Lancer – Complete 90 matches in any game type to unlock it for the beta, and score 100 kills with it once unlocked to carry the exclusive weapon skin over to your gamer profile in the final game.