Gears of War 3 Beta Impressions

I have been a Gears of War fan since the originals release back in 2006. It had an enjoyable single player, a great co-op experience, and decent multiplayer. I am, however, fairly terrible at Gears of War multiplayer. It was always as if I never understood some key concept in the multiplayer arena, and many times it seemed like pure chance whether or not my shotgun would decide to kill somebody. With my pre-order of Gears of War 3 I received a code to participate in the public beta for the upcoming game, a first for the series. After playing for a decent amount of time all I can say is this, Gears 3 is going to be a curb stomping good time.

Perhaps some of the biggest changes from Gears 2 to 3 is the overall pace of the game. The game has been slowed down, allowing for matches to involve more than just sprinting around with shotgun in hand. But don’t worry, there is plenty of shot-gunning to be had thanks to the inclusion of a new weapon for the series, the sawed off shotgun. Players have always had a choice as to which weapon they would start with, whether it was the Lancer assault rifle or the Hammerburst. Sadly players didn’t have a choice for their second weapon, it was always the shotgun. Gears 3 addresses this issue and introduces the sawed-off as a weapon choice, in addition to the returning Gnasher shotgun. The sawed-off is a simple weapon, only holding one shot before you have to reload. In order to be effective with this weapon you almost have to be physically touching your enemy. When you are within range, pull the trigger and whatever is in front of you will explode in a red gooey mess. Then it is time to run for dear life as the reload time is painfully slow, but it’s power more than makes up for it.

Some other new weapons make an appearance, most notably the One Shot and the Digger Launcher. The one shot is a sniper rifle of sorts but acts like a hammer of dawn, requiring the player to charge up power before releasing a massive sniper shot. As its name implies, if you are unfortunate enough to be hit, you are dead. Perhaps the most interesting new weapon is the Digger Launcher, and tunneling ground bomb. As you aim the weapon it gives you the bombs trajectory, similar to when throwing a grenade. However instead of being thrown through the air this grenade dives through the ground, sprouting up at the end of its trajectory. This weapon is perfect for players and teams that hole up in one spot and booby trap the area with grenades. The bombs shot from the Digger Launcher ignore cover, allowing you to blow up that pesky sniper who is hiding on the other side of the map behind cover.

Overall I am really pleased with the beta. The tweaks to the gameplay and the new weapons really seem to make this the definitive Gears multiplayer experience, and developer Epic Games clearly wants to get things perfect by allowing players to give feedback through participation in the beta. Let’s hope the full game can deliver as much as this brief preview has. Gears of War 3 is scheduled to be released on September 20, 2011.

Wanna check out some of the beta action? Check out this video.

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