Gears of War (GoW) was a game not know for its meaningful plot or deep characters. It was a hyper violent, testosterone fueled journey of a few hardass marines who were on a mission to save their planet against a hostile invasion by a savage race called the locusts. Its sequel just amped up the action by making it “bigger and more badass” than its prequel. And we’re totally fine with that by the way. While I would have loved to get my hands on the Gears of War 3’s single player campaign, I had to be content with the MP beta that’s now available for journalists and those who’ve purchased the Epic edition of Bulletstorm (for the Xbox360 of course).
Multiplayer in GoW 1 and 2 was simple but intense where players ran around maps taking cover, blasting, shooting and sawing enemies in half. Unlike the Battlefield series that concentrates on immersing players in large urban battlefields, Gears is a more of a streamlined affair that takes place in smaller maps where it’s kill or be brutally killed. The multiplayer mechanics in Gears 3 have remained the same with the addition of a few new weapons and some totally bitching finishing moves where hands are ripped from their sockets and used as batons to bludgeon someone to death. Good times.
A pain in the "back" side
In the beta, you have three maps and three modes to choose from – Team Deathmatch, King of the Hill and Capture the Leader. Team deathmatch, as most of you may have gathered by now is teaming up to kill the opposition. Every team spawns with a certain amount of lives so make sure you keep reviving downed teammates (by simply running up to them and pressing ‘x’). The team that runs out of respawns first loses. King of the Hill is where players strive to capture and control a certain area of the map for a stipulated time period. And of course, the opposition has to do the same. Capture the Leader is a lot like Capture the Flag but instead of an inanimate flag, you’re capturing umm, the opposition’s leader.
Like I mentioned earlier, gameplay in Gears 3 is still as chunky, bloody and intense as ever. The shotgun, once again in the right hands is a devastating weapon that can reduce someone on the receiving end of a well timed blast to chunky, bloody meat. The user obviously has to be real close so if you see someone running at you with a loaded shotgun you start blasting away ASAP. The lancer, the game’s equivalent of machine gun may not be as powerful as the shotgun but it’s very useful in keeping enemies at bay and even slowing them down. Once you cause enough damage, you will down an enemy which means they’ll be on their hands and knees crawling around till they either get revived or put out from their misery with a brutal execution.
Gearing up for war
I did face a few connection issues with the beta though. Even though it showed me over thousands of players currently playing the beta, I couldn’t connect to any of the matches and eventually got paired up with bots. This was actually a blessing in disguise as I could get by bearings with the game before I got my butt handed to me online. Still I hope they can fix this minor annoyance as there are many who would love to jump straight into the action.
So far, Gears of War 3 is looking solid from a technical as well as a gameplay stand point. The beta just represents a small morsel of things to come with unlocks, perks and massive customization awaiting players when the game releases exclusively for the Xbox360 this September.