Preview

Gears of War 3 Preview (Xbox360)

The Gears of War franchise has been one of the feathers in Microsoft's cap, and a series that's done well to carve a name for itself in the past six years amidst the more traditional shooter market. It's gory, it's frantic, and now it's back for round three. Whilst we did get some hands on time with the game, it was only with the multiplayer mode. Unsurprisingly, Epic are keeping most of the details regarding Gears 3's singleplayer mode under wraps.
 

Epic want to pay homage to their female playerbase in this game
Rest assured though, what little information there is shows that this will be a grander, more desperate, and more personal story than the games before. The human society has crumbled, the Locust is facing a civil war, and we're told a lot of questions will be answered this time around. It's important to note that this game does conclude the current story arc, although how/whether the franchise goes on from here remains to be seen.

You can tell Epic have tried to make the multiplayer as fresh as possible going into the third game. Whilst Gears 2 really made the 'Horde' archetypal game mode popular, Gears 3 will be introducing the inverse of that, called 'Beast' mode. Instead of playing as a squad of COG soldiers trying to hold out against waves of Locust, you play waves of Locust trying to kill a squad of COG soldiers. The better you perform, the more powerful Locust enemy types you can unlock and play as. This mode wasn't actually playable – we just know it exists – so details on how it will be balanced and whether or not it will be any good are unknown right now, but it sounds interesting. Horde mode does make a return though, naturally, and whilst it will be the same in terms of the basics, there's more gameplay upgrades and challenges for you to get to grips with.

What we got our hands on though was the standard competitive multiplayer. Carrying on the underlying ethos of keeping things fresh, Epic have taken some of their popular game modes and mashed them together to create new ones. There's Team Deathmatch, which is combination of Gears 2's Warzone and a standard Team Deathmatch setting – each team dukes it out, but they only have a finite pool of respawns, after which it turns into a Warzone match where it's last man standing. There's King of the Hill, which is pretty much how it sounds and involves you fighting over a moving control zone. Finally we were shown Capture the Leader, which is an inverse on the VIP-archetype. Each team has a leader, but instead of killing that leader (leaders are immune to death), you need to capture them as a meatshield and then hold on to them for 30 seconds for a win.

There may be more modes in store, but these three were the only ones we were able to play. We were also allowed to try them out on four brand new maps, a couple of which are homage's to old Gears 2 maps, and then some new ones as well. Again, Epic has gone all out to make these environments interesting, and fun to play on. They've even added a little bit of interactivity to them. For example, in 'Trenches', every so often a sandstorm will flare up, reducing visibility. In 'Thrashball' – a torn up Thrashball stadium – there is a scoreboard hanging in the centre that you can shoot so that it falls down on your opponents.

We have to devote a paragraph to the weapons at this point, as they're worth mentioning. New games modes and new maps means also means new ways to kill each other, and Epic have spared no effort in beefing up the weapon roster. From the Pendulum-era Lancer – with its trusty bayonet, to the One-shot uber sniper rifle, to incendiary grenades (and a sawn-off shotgun), it's certainly a lot of fun discovering the new ways to cut an enemy to ribbons. My personal favourite is the Pendulum-era lancer. It's inaccurate, but powerful, and it can be tricky to wield at close range if you're trying to mêlée – but it's best feature is the bayonet charge. Like with the normal Lancer's chain gun ,this devastating attack sees you charge at an opponent and skewer them on the your knife, Napoleonic-style. It's very satisfying.
 
One of the new enemy types - nicknamed "the ghost"

We're always aware how dangerous hype can be, and we here at strategy informer try our best to at least manage expectations and not get too carried away. Saying that, even at this early stage there's a fair bit to be excited about. If you're not a Gears fan already, then this is unlikely to draw you in, but it's shaping up to be a wonderful continuation, and conclusion, to this part of the franchise. At its core, online is the same as ever, but the new maps, modes and weapons should be enough to mix things up for a while. Gears of War 3 is due out on September 20th for Xbox 360.

Most Anticipated Feature: Charging down a locust with your bayonet. Who needs a chainsaw?

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Comments

By djole381 (SI Elite) on Mar 19, 2011
djole381
I wish they release Gears of War 2 for PC in the near future. I just hate it when they release such an excellent game for PC and then forget about releasing the sequels as well.
By Eversor (SI Elite) on Mar 20, 2011
Eversor
Boy that's right. Same thing with the Halo series.
By djole381 (SI Elite) on Mar 20, 2011
djole381
Oh yeah. M$ released Halo and Halo 2 but not Halo 3, ODST and Reach. That sucks big time.
By Geforcer (SI Veteran Member) on Mar 20, 2011
Geforcer
I loved GOW on PC. I thought they would release the second part, too. But they are so stubborn and ignorant.
I don't care about Halo, it was stupid anyway.
By Eversor (SI Elite) on Mar 20, 2011
Eversor
@ djole. They only put Halo 2 out because they were releasing Windows vista at the same time. It was just an experiment.
By djole381 (SI Elite) on Mar 20, 2011
djole381
@Eversor
I know, that was just a marketing stunt pulled of by M$.
Still, it's a shame the rest of the Halo series wasn't released for PC.
By JustCommunication (SI Core) on Mar 21, 2011
JustCommunication
I don't think Gears 2 or 3 will be coming to the PC. Not sure if it's in the interview transcript, but I asked about a PC SKU and they said they were 360 all the way.
By djole381 (SI Elite) on Mar 21, 2011
djole381
@JC
Perhaps it's "360 all the way" for now. Maybe they'll release it later when the 360 version sales drop.
By Geforcer (SI Veteran Member) on Mar 21, 2011
Geforcer
My guess is that they will release a "Trilogy" for PC for a year or two. When X360 hype goes down.
By Eversor (SI Elite) on Mar 21, 2011
Eversor
@djole. One of the reasons that GoW 2 & 3 aren't coming to PC is piracy. Read this 2008 Q&A session at TVG. http://www.totalvideogames.com/Gears-of-War-2/feature-13270.htlm
By djole381 (SI Elite) on Mar 21, 2011
djole381
@Eversor
A lot of things have changed since 2008. Just because they said that they won't release the rest of the "Gears of War" series for PC because of piracy(STUPID EXCUSE) doesn't mean they ain't gonna do it in the future.
By Eversor (SI Elite) on Mar 21, 2011
Eversor
True, things have changed. But Bungie hasen't released Halo 3 or any succeding games on PC yet. Halo 3 has been out since 2007.

Another thing is that Epic dosen't have to release it on PC. They are where they make enough money with one platform version of a game not to warrant the release on multiple vesions. If you don't have to do it, then don't do it. That's probably Epic's financial mentality.