Gears of War 3 Beta (Impressions)

The multiplayer beta for one of the highest anticipated games of the year has arrived, Gears of War 3. The hype for the Gears franchise is at an all-time high, but does the final installment live up? Fans are getting a taste of the multiplayer experience that Gears of War 3 has to offer. While there are some cons, the pros far out-weight them.

The beta consists of two gametypes: Team deathmatch, in which each respawn subtracts from a total pool. Once those respawns have been used up, the match becomes much like old-school Warzone where you have to eliminate the opposing team. The other is King of the Hill, in which the team has to take control over designated territories and hold them longer than the opposing team in order to win. The beta also consists of four maps, so the players get a nice taste of what the final experience has to offer.

Get 'em Coletrain!

The graphics are pretty much the same, but the lighting has been reworked and makes the game look much better overall than the previous two games, even through the game’s muted color palette. It’s little things like lighting which can add a whole lot more to the graphical presentation to a game. There are a ton of new animations, from things like new executions to the characters actually reaching to the front of the gun to start up the chainsaw on the Lancer. All of these new quirks just add to the depth and overall presentation of the game, which so far proves to be top-notch.

The sound has also bee reworked, and you will hear a lot of new sound effects, including a new sound effect for the chainsaw. Everything sounds much better. The guns sound powerful without over-powering the sound scape. If Cliff Bleszinski described Gears 2’s audio as being “crunchier,” than I would say that the sound in Gears 3 sounds “alive.” The small nuances in the ambiance only further pull you into the action taking place on screen. It’s sure to be a game that you’ll wanna turn the volume up on when you play it.

The only cons so far I can see are weapon balance issues. While the classic weapons like the Lancer and the Shotgun (now known as the Gnasher) are nearly perfect, some of the newer additions, such as the Retro Lancer and the Sawed-off Shotgun, need some work. But then again, that’s expected since this is a beta. Epic has been getting a plethora of feedback on their website with many of the same remarks about the balance of the newer weapons so I imagine many of them will play much different in the final game. But some people are actually asking for the Sawed-off Shotgun to be removed. I don’t think that’s entirely necessary, but I would like to see it become a pick-up weapon rather than a primary.

Victory!

Overall, this game is shaping into one of the best multiplayer experiences on the Xbox 360 so far. With this beta and all the extra time Epic is getting to spend on the game, which you can definitely tell they’re using to their advantage, it can only get better. If you’re hesitant about Gears of War 3 after many of the complaints Gears 2’s multiplayer initially received or have never played a Gears of War game before, do yourself a favor and get the beta!

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