Gears of War 3 Beta Impressions

I’ve spent a few hours playing the Gears 3 beta today and I’m so impressed with it that I had a difficult time ripping myself off the TV to write some impressions up for you guys. Excitement to talk about the experience got the better of me though, so here we are!

First thing’s first: the game is not immediately enraging to play because of connection, hosts or lag. The game runs rather smoothly–more so than whatever they’ve been implementing on Gears 2 (since they’ve been testing out their new infrastructure in the updates to Gears 2). There are still some ‘HOW THE FUCK DID THAT HAPPEN, I SHOT THE GUY?!?’ moments, but they’re not very frequent. For the most part I felt like any time I died, it was my fault–and not the result of not actually being where the game shows me, as was often the case in Gears 2.

Secondly, the new arsenal of weapons has effectively spiced the gameplay up. I’m not sure how I feel about the game revolving around power weapons though–especially since it seems as if the spawn timers for power weapons is much, much quicker than 2. Hopefully this is ironed out come launch time, since control of the power weapons means control of the map: and by spawning them so often, players who initially get control will be better able to retain that control.

While we’re on that note let’s talk about some of the new weapons specifically. I’ve got to start with the digger launcher first, since despite having only used it less than a dozen times, it’s already my favorite weapon in the franchise. Gears of War is a game that revolves around cover–we all know this. The digger, however, laughs at your silly little concept of cover. It burrows underneath the map and explodes once it hits either a wall, or a person, whichever comes first. The obvious question, then: what cover? Hitting someone with this slow-moving weapon fills me up with such glee, and it really changes the dynamics surrounding cover. Nothing is as safe or as certain as it used to be when you’re behind cover now.

The sawed off shotgun…there’s not much to say there aside from it being obvious fan service to the legions that cling to the final-destination fox only no items like mentality of shotgun-only play. It has 4 shots, though a single shot can kill multiple people if you’re close enough. It takes forever to reload. I would not be surprised if a good deal of the hardcore players embrace this addition fully, there’s a very decisive no-frills feeling that comes with it. You hit someone, they’re dead–that’s it. The gnasher doesn’t have that certainty, even at close range.

The retro lancer is extremely inaccurate, but god does it hurt if you land the bullets. It’s real draw, I would say, is the OHKO charge move that comes with it. You may surprise enemies who are unaware that you’re not just sprinting, but charging up a deadly assault.

I’ve yet to lay my hands on the one shot, so I don’t have anything to say about that just yet.

In terms of game-types, I only have Team Deathmatch unlocked right now. I’ve never been much for TDM in my shooters, but Epic’s choice to make the lives pooled may soon change that. This means that a single person cannot carry a team. More importantly, it encourages more team-based play because it is in your best interest that everyone performs optimally. On the other hand, it might prompt much abuse from highly skilled players who resent less-skilled players for bringing down the team. Speaking of team-oriented play, however, another welcome addition is the spotting mechanic. Zooming in on an enemy with your left trigger, then clicking in your left stick will ‘spot’ that enemy for the rest of the team. Though not many people do it online at current (there is no indication as to how to do it in-game, however), it is a very useful tool for those of you that want to play as a team.

There’s other things to talk about but the game, it beckons me~

P.S. For those of you wondering, yes, I’m playing as Anya right now. However, it’s not because I finally get to play as a female character in Gears, but because I can’t play as my favorite blue power ranger. Otherwise, I never play as female characters–despite their inclusion, the “right” way to play always feels like donning the male appearance. That probably says something, but I lack the articulation right now to pinpoint what, exactly.

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Posted on April 18, 2011, in Opinion, Previews and tagged , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink. 1 Comment.

  1. Pooled respawns is, IMO, the future of shooters. That was – among many things – one of my favorite parts of Battlefield: Bad Company 2.

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